The New York Jets will look to get back to winning ways on Christmas Eve as they welcome the Washington Commanders into MetLife Stadium. With both teams out of the playoff race for this season, the intent will be to produce a strong finish that can be carried into the preparations for 2024.

With that in mind, the Jets have activated future-Hall-of-Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But the superstar passer who tore his Achilles four snaps into the 2023 season, won’t be playing in any games the rest of the way. This move is about getting him on the practice field and preparing for what should be a considerably brighter 2024 campaign.

The mere presence of Rodgers on the practice field is providing a much-needed morale boost at Florham Park. And the Jets will need those positive thoughts coming off a 30-0 loss at the Miami Dolphins last weekend.

But this is a winnable game for the Jets, who specialise in making life difficult for opposing quarterbacks. Washington’s Sam Howell has been sacked 59 times in 2023 and has thrown 15 interceptions – both are NFL highs.

With Zach Wilson suffering a concussion in last week’s defeat, the Jets may have to turn back to Trevor Siemian at quarterback. Jets fans will be hoping he is inspired by the presence of Rodgers on the sidelines over the festive period.

New York Jets Player to Watch

Bryce Huff – Edge Rusher

The fourth-year defender recorded another sack against the Miami Dolphins last week, giving him a career-high eight on the season. In his first three seasons in the NFL combined, Huff had just seven and a half sacks, so he has really come alive in 2023. He has recorded at least half a sack in seven of his last 10 outings for the Jets.

Washington Commanders Player to Watch

Terry McLaurin – Wide Receiver

Despite some of their offensive issues – primarily in terms of protections and turnovers in the passing game – Terry McLaurin is closing in on what would be a fourth straight 1,000-yard season. McLaurin is capable of stretching the field and making the circus catches that become the talk of an NFL weekend. He will be a real danger to New York’s strong defense.

Stat Attack!

Washington quarterback Sam Howell has thrown for 3,568 yards in 2023 – seventh-most in the NFL. But he threw for a career-low 105 yards in Week 15 and was benched for Jacoby Brissett.

Keys to the game

Win up front… The Jets need to win the physical battle along the line of scrimmage in order for whoever plays quarterback to find Garrett Wilson in the passing game. That line must also pave the way for Breece Hall to be a factor against a normally-stout Commanders defense that is stumbling to the finish line. Neither the running or passing games were able to get going in Miami last weekend and that has to change in Week 16.

Make a fast start… Both teams are low on confidence and whoever gets out of the gate the fastest might be able to use that momentum as a catapult to victory. Slow starts have plagued the Jets for much of this difficult campaign but they are facing a Washington team low on confidence and this could become a psychological battle as much as a physical contest.