The New York Jets and New York Giants regularly meet in the NFL preseason. Their latest meeting brings the re-emergence of a lot of concerns for both teams, especially on offense. Can one of these starting units make progress and reduce their fans’ fears on the eve of the new regular season?
What We Know About The Coaches
Todd Bowles is 1-1 in the preseason after his team beat Atlanta with backups, having fallen behind 14-0 out of the gate. He did get his backups to play well and is creating a culture of competition in which everyone is scrapping the way he should for an NFL job this season.
Tom Coughlin of the Giants is 25-22 in the preseason and 1-1 in this preseason after beating Jacksonville with backups. There is an obvious difference between the two men in that Couglin is a seasoned NFL head coach. Bowles is just starting as a head coach after being a defensive coordinator for two different teams and climbing his way up the ladder. You have to give Coughlin an advantage in this coaching matchup.
The two teams’ quarterback situations are mostly different, but there is one basic similarity at work: both starters are struggling at the moment. For the New York Jets, Ryan Fitzpatrick is the guy since Geno Smith is out of commission for the first several weeks of the season, if not more. Fitzpatrick could not get anything going on his first two series against the Atlanta Falcons last week. He didn’t begin to complete passes until he stayed in the game long enough that the Falcons subbed in their second-string defensive players. Only then did the Jets take off against the Falcons. Bryce Petty was solid in a relief role, even though he was going against the back end of Atlanta’s depth chart on defense. He did make clean reads and efficient plays, and that’s something the Jets’ coaching staff should appreciate at this point in Petty’s development.
The New York Giants know that Eli Manning is a top-flight quarterback, but they also want him to be able to establish a rhythm heading into the regular season, and that just hasn’t happened. Manning struggled last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and couldn’t get the offense into high gear. The Giants count on being able to make big plays in the passing game, and that just hasn’t happened so far in the preseason. The good part for the Giants is that Ryan Nassib has made real strides as the backup – he threw for 217 yards against the Jags and is solidly the number two quarterback on the team.
Because Manning is a better player than Fitzpatrick, give the edge to the Giants against the NFL odds. The backups are a wash at this point.
Team Depth & Rotations
The Jets watched five players get injured against the Falcons: receiver Jeremy Kerley, safety Durell Eskridge, running back Daryl Richardson, cornerback Dashaun Phillips, and tackle Ben Ijalana.
The Giants watched middle linebacker Jon Beason go down against Jacksonville. Safeties Justin Currie and Bennett Jackson were hurt. Backup linebackers Mark Herzlich and Tony Johnson were injured as well. The team might again rest Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle – those two did not play last week, and neither did cornerback Prince Amukamara.
Outlook & Pick
The edges at coach and quarterback should enable the Giants to win this game, with a better passing attack and more of a need to get production from first-string players.
NFL Pick: Giants -1.5 at SportsInteraction