Battle Of New York: Jets Rushing Offense vs. Giants Rushing Defense

A breakdown of the Jets rushing attack versus the Giants rushing defense, with commentary from TJ Rosenthal, Kristine Reese, and Rob Celletti

Part one of our series breaking down the Christmas Eve match-up between the New York Jets and New York Giants, looks at the Jets rushing attack versus the Giants rushing defense, with featured commentary from TJ Rosenthal, Kristine Reese, Rob Celletti, and yours truly —

New York Jets Rushing Yards Per Game – 104.1 (21st in NFL)

New York Giants Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game – 127.6 (22nd in NFL)

TJ Rosenthal: The Giants are 22nd in the NFL against the run at 127.6 per game. Big Blue’s current LB’s are not of the Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks mold. The Jets though, went away from this similar advantage in Philadelphia and wound up out of the game by halftime down 28-3. The matchup between these units gives the Jets room to maneuver, but how committed the Jets will be to the ground attack this time around, is the bigger question.

Kristine Reese: The traditionally stout Giants run defense has faltered a bit this season and opponents are averaging 127.6 yards per game against them on 4.5 yards per carry. They are currently ranked 22nd after ranking in the top 10 last season (hmm that sounds familiar).

When the Jets offense isn’t playing from behind and forced to throw, they have run the ball well. One thing we know for sure is that it they will continue to try to run and the ball, so long as Greene and Tomlinson are both healthy. Ground and Pound is paramount to the entire offensive plan as they look to balance the attack, control the clock, keep Eli off the field, take pressure off Sanchez and relieve the offensive line from constant pass protection. (And yes, I realize that is a long list).

The Giants rush defense has mostly suffered from inconsistency, so there is no telling what effort the running game might face come Saturday. The Giants weakness is so clearly their secondary -they likely know it – and they may do their best to force the ball into Sanchez hands. Regardless, the running effort has to stay consistent.

Rob Celletti: For all of the hemming and hawing about the play of Mark Sanchez, the Jets’ offense has struggled in an area that it hasn’t in Rex Ryan’s previous two seasons: running the football.  Shonn Greene has only recently shown signs that he can be the lead back in a NFL offense, and he does usually improve as the weather turns cold.  But there has been very little consistency for the Jets on the ground this season. Injuries and a lack of depth have also hurt Gang Green.The Giants are difficult to read when it comes to stopping the run. Despite major injuries to the front seven, they still have a seemingly countless number of playmakers. However, it is a defensive line that’s built to rush the passer with speed, and the Jets should be able to exploit that by running between the tackles.

With the exception of last Sunday’s debacle in Philadelphia, the Jets’ ground game has been steadily improving through the second half of the season, with impressive performances against formidable defensive units in Washington and Kansas City. As long as the Jets’ defense doesn’t let the game get out of hand early, I’d expect a heavy workload for Greene.  And don’t sleep on Mark Sanchez when the Jets are in the red zone: he has 5 rushing touchdowns of his own.

Joe Caporoso: I have been critical of the New York Jets linebackers all season, but if you want to see a linebacker group that is truly struggling look the at the New York Giants and their collection of castoffs at linebacker. We know their defensive line can get after the quarterback but stopping the run isn’t their area of expertise. Basically what I am saying is the opportunity is there for the Jets to run the football if they commit to it. Outside of the last week’s hiccup (okay it was a big hiccup) Shonn Greene and the running game have been surging. The Jets are at their best when their running backs combine for 25-35 carries and I expect that to be the case on Saturday.

Jets vs. Giants: The Survival Bowl

TJ takes a closer look at two teams battling for survival in December

When you’re fighting for a divisional title at 7-7, there is nothing to brag about. When you’re a 8-6 club hanging onto a wildcard berth by a thread after guaranteeing Super Bowl appearances, there is no need for boasting either. The Jets host the Giants Saturday in a stadium both call home, but the only real award awaiting the winner may be life beyond the final week of the regular season.

The Jets have been second class citizens throughout their fifty year history, albeit aside from Joe Namath’s miracle and a few Bill Parcells years sprinkled in. This until Rex Ryan came to town. Loud and brash and proclaiming a take over.

Over his first two seasons, the Jets HAVE arguably been better. Just ask Rex if you need proof. He’ll tell you that it is true, due to the club’s exciting and improbable late season road runs to the AFC Championship Game. This as the Giants slipped from their 2007 Super Bowl champion pedestal.

Gang Green’s newfound perch as one of the best in the AFC, a date with HBO Hard Knocks, and a plethora of nationally televised night games, came with even more public reminders from their coach that New York was now a Jets town. Ryan’s constant bravado and comments aimed at Big Blue, has inflamed the emotions of alot of Giants fans. Many of whom now consider the Jets an enemy on par with the hated Eagles and Cowboys.

The heat was turned up even more this past summer when volatile Giants RB Brandon Jacobs and Jets rookie Muhammad Wilkerson got tossed for fighting during a preseason game. A scrum that was symbolic of two teams who were truly battling for turf.

Both teams and fan bases have had the Christmas Eve day match-up circled on their calendar since the 2011 NFL schedule was made available.. Many feeling that proof as to who owned New York would finally be settled on the field. Not in the press, or some fictitious game played by backups during the second half.

Only days ago, this match-up had different implications. The Giants had come off of a huge comeback win over Dallas. The Jets were riding a three game win streak that propelled them from also rans to owners of the sixth wild-card spot.

After two putrid losses by both on Sunday though, the landscape has changed. No longer is this battle about which team can gain serious steam towards the playoffs. Now the “Jets vs Giants” is about who can fight to see another day.

A Giants loss coupled with a Cowboys win on Saturday against the Eagles, will send Big Blue home. A Jets loss won’t eliminate them, but it may damage them severely. A win is key but guarantees nothing either. Such is the fate for a team that relinquished total control after getting steamrolled in “The City of Brotherly Love” last Sunday.

This week, the fans, the media and the players on both teams will build this game into seismic proportions. Ryan wasted no time doing his share on Monday, with proclamations that the Jets are better. His chatter may be a ploy to kick some swagger back into a team that plays less fierce when it acts cordially during the week.

This match-up is in part, about being the king of New York, Ryan and the Jets winning the prize of “being better” without a ticket to the big dance though, will not be enough for a team whose not so secret goal was making a push for Indy in February. The sight of the upcoming Super Bowl.

Talk aside, “Jets vs Giants” is about survival. Of keeping the true goal of making the playoffs for a shot at the Vince Lombardi Trophy, alive. Right now, both New York football teams are in each other’s way in terms of reaching that goal.  THAT’s what makes this latest round in the gridiron “Battle for New York” so crucial. No matter how much Ryan has ranted about the Jets overtaking the Giants since he first got here.

The Battle Of New York: Breaking Down Jets vs. Giants

TOJ kicks off week long coverage breaking down the Jets vs. Giants match-up

It seems clear that right now we are the better team and we are going to remain the better team for the next 10 years. Whether you like it or not, those are the facts, and that’s what is going to happen…We are going to take over the town whether the Giants like it nor not, so those fans on the fence that like both teams are going to be Jets fans in the end. The truth is, if I am going to watch one game, I am going to see the Jets, without a doubt. We are better.

Rex Ryan began stirring the pot on the Christmas Eve Jets vs. Giants match-up way back in the summer when his book was released. He hasn’t slowed down recently either with his comments yesterday to the media about refusing to be the Giants little brother and reiterating his belief that the Jets are the better team. Outside of Ryan’s words, the crosstown rivalry and all the hype that comes with that, this is basically serving as a near elimination game for two team’s playoff hopes. You couldn’t have written a better script.

Throughout the week, we will be running the following series of articles with contributions from a number of New York Jets and New York Giants writers and fans —

  • Jets vs. Giants – Survival Bowl
  • Jets Passing Offense vs. Giants Passing Defense
  • Jets Rushing Offense vs. Giants Rushing Defense
  • Giants Passing Offense vs. Jets Passing Defense
  • Giants Running Offense vs. Jets Running Defense
  • Special Teams Breakdown
  • Coaching Breakdown
  • Trash Talk Forum (where we let Giants and Jets fans go off on each other)

…And plenty of other content throughout the week, including our regulars like the 12 pack, rooting guide, and NFL picks.