The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a discouraging loss in which their quarterback threw for 463 yards. The New York Jets would like to have such problems.
Quarterback Sam Darnold is expected to return to action Sunday for the Jets (0-4) when they play host to the Cowboys (3-2).
The Jets, playing their third game without Darnold, lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 31-6 last Sunday, managing just 128 total yards.
The Cowboys fell behind by 28 points last week before a late comeback fell short in a 34-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
The struggles of Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' offense -- Dallas was blanked by the Packers for the first 39 minutes -- pale in comparison to those endured by the Jets since Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleosis shortly after New York's season-opening, 17-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Luke Falk combined to throw for 419 yards in lopsided losses to the Eagles, Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots. The Jets scored just one offensive touchdown -- on a 19-yard end-around by Vyncint Smith set up by Philadelphia muffing a punt in the red zone -- while being outscored 84-23 in the trio of defeats.
The Jets know Darnold, who is 22 years old and making just his 15th career start Sunday, isn't a miracle worker, especially coming off a serious illness that required him to rest completely for three weeks. But he will provide a level of skill that New York missed with him on the sideline.
"We've got a lot of other things to clean up, but Sam is able to hide things sometimes for us," Jets coach Adam Gase said this week. "If we make a mistake, he covers it up."
Darnold was cleared for physical contact Monday. One of the symptoms of mononucleosis is an enlarged spleen, which would put Darnold at risk of a rupture if he was hit in his midsection.
Even with Darnold, the Jets provide a potential get-right spot for the Cowboys, who were touted as a Super Bowl contender while racing out to a 3-0 start. But Dallas fell to the New Orleans Saints 12-10 on Sept. 29 before absorbing the loss to the Packers.
Coach Jason Garrett said he hopes the Cowboys can simplify their approach against the Jets.
"I do think guys are maybe trying a little bit too hard in some instances to make plays, and I think that's hurt us in all three phases of our team," Garrett said this week. "I think we just need to settle back in and play fundamentally sound football and be disciplined and making sure that we let the game come to us a little bit."
Another key member of the Jets, linebacker C.J. Mosley, is expected to miss his fourth straight game with a groin injury. Defensive end Henry Anderson (shoulder) did not practice Wednesday but was not ruled out for Sunday.
Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) sat out practice Wednesday but still could return Sunday after missing the Packers game. Dallas right tackle La'el Collins (knee) also didn't practice Wednesday, and he was considered day-to-day.
--Field Level Media