The New England Patriots are likely to get the New York Jets' (relative) best on Monday night.
Sam Darnold didn't practice Thursday due to an injured right shoulder, but head coach Adam Gase expects the Jets quarterback to start against the Patriots in Week 9.
"I think it's going to take a lot for him to stay out of this game," Gase told reporters Thursday, via ESPN.com's Rich Cimini.
Darnold sprained his right AC joint against the Denver Broncos in Week 4 and missed the Jets' next two games. He hasn't thrown a touchdown pass since his injury, totaling just 253 passing yards with two interceptions between Weeks 7 and 8.
The Patriots' defense won't make things any easier for the 23-year-old QB, either. New England famously had Darnold "seeing ghosts" during a four-interception implosion last season and has limited him to a 29.4 passer rating in two games, his worst against any NFL opponent.
So, while Darnold is a superior option to backup Joe Flacco, New England may not mind facing the young QB instead of the wily veteran who's beaten the Patriots twice in the postseason.
Patriots fans also may not not mind getting a look at Darnold, who is coming up on the final year of his Jets contract and perhaps may not be long for an 0-8 New York team.
Kickoff for this matchup of AFC East cellar dwellers is set for 8:15 p.m. ET on Monday.