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How can the New York Jets knock off the 5-6 New York Giants and set themselves up for a playoff run in the final quarter of the season?
Joe Caporoso – The Jets have a few match-up advantages that they need to exploit against a similar caliber Giants team. First, their defensive line should be able to get a great push against an inconsistent offensive line and take away a non-existent running game. Second, the Giants have the NFL’s worst pass defense. This is a game for Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and to a lesser extent Devin Smith and Quincy Enunwa to show up in a big way. If Ryan Fitzpatrick can protect the football against a very opportunistic Giants defense, the Jets should be in good shape. Finally, the Giants have one of the NFL’s top special teams units. The Jets can’t get dominated in this third of the game if they expect to move to 7-5.
John Hargaden – Going into this game as I am looking at the match-ups on both sides of the ball, the Jets are a better team in many areas. The Jets should be able to create pressure off of their front four especially with all the injuries the Giants have on the offensive line. This Giants team does not run the ball well but Shane Vereen scares me catching passes out of the backfield, I do hope Todd Bowles has some nice coverage schemes to help the linebackers out. Odell Beckham should be against Darrelle Revis (if he plays). Beckham vs Revis is going to be some show to watch. The pressure caused by the defensive line will also limit the time Eli has in the pocket to get the ball out to Beckham.
If you look on the offensive side of the ball, the Giants pass defense is just pitiful. I would expect a similar game plan that the Jets executed against Miami, look to get Brandon Marshall in single coverage and just let him eat all game long. If Ryan Fitzpatrick can minimize his mistakes, protect the football and if the running game can get going, the Jets have a excellent chance to be 7-5
Anthony Cappuccino – A must win for both New York teams. In order for the Jets to come away victorious on Sunday, they need to contain Shane Vereen. An old familiar face for this Jets defense, Vereen previously served as the Patriot’s pass catching back the past four seasons. Gang Green’s defensive unit has struggled mightily against versatile running backs. It’s been the Achilles heel for the last few seasons, and the combination of Demario Davis and David Harris have continually failed to change that. One can hope that the increase in playing time this past week for Erin Henderson can lend a hand at containing Vereen.
It’s also time for the Jets to make Darrelle Revis’ job a bit easier. This week he’ll have his hands full with an elite, speedy receiver in Odell Beckham Jr. Give Revis safety help over the top. Revis is still a premier player in this league, but the struggles against speedy receivers aren’t going away. Take Beckham out of the equation and make the likes of Randle, Donnell, and Dwayne Harris beat you.
As for the offensive side of the ball, the Giants can be thrown on. Last week the Jets aerial attack came alive for the first time in weeks, and they should continue to build on that. Fitzpatrick needs Marshall to replicate his performance from last week, and continue to exploit the match ups with Decker in the slot. It’s going to be a playoff-like atmosphere Sunday at Metlife, and having the offense rolling early wouldn’t hurt.
David Aitken – The Giants are roommates and not much more to me. Annual preseason games do nothing to build any hatred and playing once every eight years builds no longstanding animosity. Maybe it’s because I have grown up in an era where the Jets really have had it better than most franchises even without winning a Super Bowl, but I don’t really have any jealousy. There has to be at least some level of respect for the team that is the reason Tom Brady and Bill Belichick aren’t 6-for-6 in Super Bowls. The “rivalry” runs basically as deep as how much you hate your Giants fan friends. That said, this is still a huge game for the obvious playoff implications for both teams.
As for how the actual matchup goes, this has to be a feast for the Jets up front on defense. The only healthy starter on the offensive line for the Giants is their first round pick Ereck Flowers. Geoff Schwartz just went on IR, center Weston Richburg has been ailing, and guard Justin Pugh just missed a game while in concussion protocol. The Jets have had offensive line troubles of their own but this pales in comparison, it’s something simply the Jets have to take advantage of. It also goes without saying that there has to be a special plan for Beckham, even if Revis is ready to play. Nobody wants a repeat of Houston. I would worry a little about Shane Vereen as well, he’s actually tied for second behind Beckham in receptions for the Giants and they’ll probably look to him a bunch as their blitz beater.
Offensively the Jets got an excellent overall performance against Miami, getting contributions from everybody (even Devin Smith!) and not turning the ball over. Overall though I still think the running game hinges too much on Chris Ivory’s health and ability to create positive runs out of nothing, and that Ryan Fitzpatrick needs that comfortable running game to limit passing attempts. The Giants aren’t known for their ability to defend the run, and they recently lost stud run plugger Johnathan Hankins for the season, so I think there is reason to be hopeful that there can be some success here. This is an offense that generally needs its few stud players (Ivory, Marshall, Decker) to be at their top of their games, and I don’t see the case being any different here. The major worry playing this Giants defense is that they’re actually amongst the best in the league in getting turnovers and obviously this is something that Fitzpatrick can be a liability with any given week.
It feels cliche to hinge this all on the turnover battle but this is probably what it will come down to. The Giants create turnovers defensively if they do one thing well, Fitzpatrick traditionally averages at least one turnover a game, and you expect the Jets defense will be able to force Eli Manning into some questionable throws. Something else that should prove huge is red zone efficiency – the Jets are amongst the best on both offense and defense while the Giants have had trouble converting red zone opportunities to touchdowns.
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