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A Zach Wilson-Jordan Love preseason showdown? Why it’s now ‘probably unlikely’

Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love and New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson during a joint NFL football training camp practice.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) and New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) during a joint NFL football training camp practice Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Green Bay, Wis. Love and Wilson, who used to play at Utah State and BYU, respectively, likely won’t face each other in the Packers’ preseason game against the Jets this weekend as Love continues to recover from a shoulder injury.
Matt Ludtke, Associated Press

Zach Wilson’s and Jordan Love’s paths crossed during their time at BYU and Utah State, respectively, but the two never really faced each other in college.

In the Aggies’ 45-20 win over the Cougars in 2018, Love started and threw for four touchdowns in Logan, while Wilson entered the game late and threw a touchdown. He took over as BYU’s starter the next week.

In the 2019 matchup between the two schools, Wilson was injured while Love threw for 394 yards but three interceptions in a 42-14 BYU victory.

There was hope in Week 2 of the NFL preseason the two first-round draft picks — Love one year ahead of the rookie Wilson — would finally start against each other when Wilson’s New York Jets go on the road Saturday to face Love’s Green Bay Packers, but now it appears that won’t be the case.

On Thursday, Packers coach Matt LaFleur told reporters it’s “probably unlikely” that Love will play in Saturday’s game after he’s missed practice this week with an injury sustained during Green Bay’s preseason opener.

“I don’t want to rule him out yet, but it’s probably unlikely,” LaFleur said. He later talked about not rushing to get Love, the team’s backup to Aaron Rodgers, back on the field and risk further injury. “We’re going to be smart with it and do right by him. Like any competitor, naturally you want to be out there and get that experience.”

Wilson, meanwhile, is expected to start again for New York and play a bit more than his two possessions last week in the Jets’ preseason opener.

“Hoping to get him a couple of series just like we did against the Giants, maybe a couple more after that, maybe one or two more,” Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters Tuesday. The Jets and Packers are working together during a pair of joint practices ahead of the game this week. “We’ll see, we’ve got to talk towards the end of the week, see how these practices go.”

Love started for Green Bay in its first preseason game last week and completed 12 of 17 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in a half of work in the Packers’ 26-7 loss to Houston. Wilson completed 6 of 9 passes for 63 yards while playing into the early minutes of the second quarter in the Jets’ 12-7 win over the Giants last week.

Saturday’s game between the Packers and Jets is set to kick at 2:25 p.m. MDT and will be televised on the NFL Network.