Ryan Fitzpatrick and Case Keenum go head-to-head Sunday in Battle of Struggling Quarterbacks

Jets and Rams have one thing in common - their starting quarterbacks haven't had the greatest of seasons.

Florham Park, N.J. - Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium won't be pretty. No need to sugarcoat it. The New York Jets and Los Angeles Rams will battle it out in a game between two struggling teams with a multitude of issues trending downward. The Jets - winless at home - host the Rams who are winless in four straight.

The quarterback matchup will be somewhat intriguing. Two flawed signal callers will be under center - yet - both could find themselves on the sideline by game's end. If that doesn't rile you up, well, it is understandable. Both teams are sticking with underperforming veterans rather than looking towards the future with a youth movement.

Make no mistake - this isn't Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning. New York has Ryan Fitzpatrick. Los Angeles has Case Keenum

The former has battled this season. While he has thrown 1,983 yards, Fitzpatrick has only eight touchdowns to 13 interceptions. The numbers get worse when you notice Fitzpatrick has only two of those touchdowns yet 12 of those interceptions in game-changing second halves this year. His status for Sunday's tilt against the Rams was in question due to a strained MCL he sustained against the Miami Dolphins last week. But, with Fitzpatrick 'definitely optimistic,' all signs are pointing towards him starting once again. In the end, it is up to Todd Bowles to determine whether or not Fitzpatrick is healthy enough to play. He was limited in practice on Friday and is a gametime decision. 

"He is getting better than he was," Bowles said Friday when asked if Fitzpatrick has made any improvements. "We still have to see him work out and then we'll make that decision."

The latter hasn't been much better for the Rams. Keenum has nine touchdowns and 11 interceptions while compiling 2,004 yards. Essentially, this is an identical situation. Like Fitzpatrick, Keenum is having a difficult time generating and sustaining offensive pressure. The Rams have scored 10 points in each of the previous two weeks. During Los Angeles' recent four-game skid, Keenum has had a total QB rating over 36 once and chucked just five touchdowns to eight interceptions. Cover your eyes. 

The similarities between the teams are scary. Both quarterbacks have seen better days and both head coaches refuse to look to the future with playoff chances as thin as paper. If those comparisons weren't enough, both teams have young quarterbacks who are unproven, untested and are pushing the incumbents out of a job. 

In all likelihood, Bryce Petty and Jared Goff - two young draft picks with potential - will not be playing in the near future. Unless these teams continue to find ways out of the playoff race, the backup quarterbacks will continue to see game action from the bench.

Goff was drafted by the Rams first overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. He has sat game after game in favor of Keenum who has had an underwhelming season. Against a Jets defense that is 26th in points allowed with over 26 points per game, perhaps that could have been the perfect opportunity to see what Goff has in his arsenal. 

While Bowles continues to insist Fitzpatrick - when healthy - gives the Jets the best chance to win, his counterpart Jeff Fisher does the same with Keenum. Fisher also complimented Bowles' defense saying they're complicated, can pressure the quarterback and can do anything they want to do.

"Case, right now, especially against this [Jets'] defense, gives us our best chance [to win]," said Fisher.

It's the same situation. Two teams with similar records and similar issues are going head-to-head Sunday. The Jets sit in last place in the AFC East with a 3-6 record. The Rams are in third in the NFC West at 3-5. Something has to give. 

Joe Barone is a staff writer for He can be reached on Twitter (@28JoeBarone) or via email (


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