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

A breakdown of the Jets passing game against the Giants passing defense with commentary from TJ Rosenthal, Kristine Reese, and Rob Celletti

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

New York Jets Passing Yards Per Game – 201.9 (21st in the NFL)

New York Giants Passing Yards Allowed Per Game – 257.5 (29th in the NFL)

TJ Rosenthal: Can the Jets avoid the never ending sack? That’s the key part to this equation. They couldn’t against the Eagles, and the Giants can be just as fierce if not more, depending on who is healthy for them up front that week. The Jets WR’s line up against better CB’s in practice. The problem is, the Jets offensive line gets to block the Jets meandering defensive line in practice too. Jason Pierre Paul frightens us. Paul combined with the notion of him lining up in the same zip code as Wayne Hunter terrifies us. If the Jets can block , they’ll be efficient through the air at best. That can  be enough, if Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson can help lead the way, and Sanchez avoids major gaffes deep in Jets territory.

Kristine Reese: The Giants secondary has been riddled with injuries all season but that isn’t the only reason they find themselves ranked 29th in the league. Opponents are averaging 257.5 passing yards per game against the GMen and the unit has given up a total of 25 passing touchdowns (near the bottom of the league).

Holmes, Plax and Keller could be in for a nice day against these corners, especially Prince Amukamara, who has struggled recently with missed assignments, blown coverage and even has some of his teammates claiming he isn’t ready for “prime time.” If the Jets can pick on Prince and catch him making a mistake, they could break off for a big play.

To be fair, Prince’s problems aren’t only his; he has simply become the poster boy for the problems of the entire unit.

Truthfully, I’m less concerned about how the Giants secondary will effect the passing game and much more concerned about the effect the Giants pass rush will have (specifically, Jason Pierre Paul and Justin Tuck; it appears Osi Umenyiora may miss the game) on Sanchez. We have seen the offensive line struggle in pass protection against a heavy rush and last week was a reminder.

This battle between the O Line and the D Line is the most significant match-up of the football game. I firmly believe that if the offensive line can win the battle and allow Sanchez the time to make the throws, he can deliver the ball to the play-makers and capitalize.

Rob Celletti: Jets fans, we’ve read this book before, haven’t we? It seems like every other week, the Jets face an opponent where media and fans alike look at the matchup and think: “Wow, the Jets should really be able to throw the ball this week.” The harsh reality, of course, is that they haven’t.  My Twitter feed must be famous at this point for the in-game pleas for Brian Schottenheimer to open up the offense and allow Mark Sanchez to throw the ball down the field.  It hasn’t happened. Instead, the Jets, with their wealth of playmakers, limit themselves mostly to passes that travel no more than 9 yards in the air.  It’s maddening to watch

What will make this trend more even more insane will be if/when it inevitably continues this week against a Giants secondary that is utterly pathetic when it comes to stopping the aerial attack.  Big Blue’s coverage unit is rife with players who are just not very good: Aaron Ross, the biggest mouth in New York not named Rex Ryan Antrel Rolle, and not-quite-ready-for-prime-time Prince Amukamara. Couple that with regular miscommunications and breakdowns, and you have a secondary that gives up an awful lot of big plays – even to guys named Rex Grossman.

But really, the more important issue won’t be what’s happening down the field, but in the trenches. The Giants’ pass rush is, as usual, no joke.  It has 37 sacks, led by breakout star Jason Pierre-Paul, who has been nothing short of phenomenal this year (and Giant fans haven’t let us forget, with the excessive and obnoxious “You down with JPP?!” Tweets…we get it). The Jets absolutely must help Wayne Hunter, who was embarrassed last week by Jason Babin in Philadelphia.  The rest of the line needs to step up and play the way it’s capable of.  If Mark Sanchez is given time, Brian Schottenheimer has to let him throw the ball down the field, particularly to Dustin Keller and Plaxico Burress, who’s going to be itching to get after his former team.  If Sanchez is upright and given clear throwing lanes, there will be open receivers there for him.

Joe Caporoso: This entire match-up is about slowing down the Giants pass rush because if Mark Sanchez has time, the Giants secondary is awful. They simply can’t match-up with Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, and Dustin Keller. If Jason Pierre-Paul is anywhere near Wayne Hunter, there better an extra tight or running back there to help him out. Beyond that, the Jets must protect Sanchez through an effective rushing attack, well-time play action passing, and by moving him out of the pocket.

10 New York Football Predictions

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2. Exactly 2 months until Jets and Ravens kick off on Monday Night Football.

10 New York Football Predictions

Ten assorted predictions related to the two teams who will be sharing the New Meadowlands Stadium this fall.

Photobucket Shonn Greene will run for more yards than Brandon Jacobs Yes, the Jets second year back and first year starter will finish the season with more total rushing yards than Jacobs who is entering his sixth year. Every durability question you can ask about Greene, you can ask about Jacobs. The difference is Greene is younger, has fresher legs, will be running behind a better offensive line, and is in an offense more committed to running the football. Don’t buy any talk about LaDainian Tomlinson challenging for the starting job, Shonn Greene is the team’s starting back. Instead of having an aging back on the down side of his career backing him up, Jacobs has a younger, more explosive back behind him, chomping at the bit to take away his carries, in Ahmad Bradshaw. In the end, Jacobs, his tip-toeing behind the line and his 3.7 yards per carry won’t match Greene’s production in 2010.

– Steve Smith will lead all New York receivers in receptions and yards – Despite Hakeem Nicks late season surge, Steve Smith is the unquestioned number one receiver on a Giants offense that is much more pass happy than the Jets. Eli Manning has excellent chemistry with Smith and he should duplicate, if not exceed his numbers from last season. Considering the Jets “ground and pound” mentality, the likely continued growing pains of Mark Sanchez, and the division of receptions between Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes, and Dustin Keller, it is hard to picture any single Jets receiver having 107 receptions or 1220 yards.

Brodney Pool will have more interceptions than Antrel Rolle – Despite Rolle being the Giants biggest off-season addition and Pool being the Jets lowest profile one, the Jets safety will finish with more interceptions and more total big plays. Look at their numbers from last season:

  • Pool – 4 INTs, 10 PDs, 1 sack
  • Rolle – 4 INTs, 8 PDs, 1.5 sacks

Then remember that Rolle played four more games than Pool last season. If he can stay healthy, which is a fair question, Pool will excel in Rex Ryan’s defense the way everybody thought Kerry Rhodes was going to. He will benefit from having arguably the best trio of corners in the NFL and be able to roam/ball hawk more than Rolle will be able to.

– Eli Manning will have more touchdowns, yards, a higher completion percentage, and a higher QB rating that Mark Sanchez – I’m not really going out on a limb with this one. You have to give Manning his props, he has improved every year of his NFL career and is on the cusp of being a legit Pro-Bowl quarterback. I hope Mark Sanchez’s can develop into a guy throwing for 4,021 yards with a 93.1 quarterback rating.

– Kyle Wilson will have a better overall season than Jason Pierre-Paul – Both players will be entering the season as backups, yet Wilson will have a bigger role as the Jets nickel back and primary punt returner. Honestly, Pierre-Paul can do all the back flips he wants but I think he has Vernon Gholston type bust written all over him. I’m sorry if I’m not confident in a guy who played 1 year of major college football and only recorded 6.5 sacks at South Florida. Considering how much Rex Ryan loves to blitz his defensive backs, I wouldn’t even be shocked if Wilson had more sacks than Pierre-Paul this season.

Both teams will have winning records but the Jets will finish with a better record – It is going to be a good year for New York football. The Jets are a 11-5 or 12-4 team in my mind, who are the favorite to win their division based on how they finished last season and their off-season. Even though the Giants own them, Dallas is the favorite in the NFC East. The Giants owned them in 2009 and Dallas still won the division. I think the G-Men will be 9-7 or 10-6 and battling for that last wild-card spot in the NFC, even with their scrap heap collection of linebackers.

Photobucket– Ahmad Bradshaw will have more yards than LaDainian Tomlinson by a substantial margin but Tomlinson will have more touchdowns – Tomlinson’s greatest value to the Jets will be as a pass catcher out of the backfield and a goal-line back. He won’t rack up big yardage totals, that will be up to Shonn Greene. I expect Bradshaw to push Jacobs for the bulk of the carries by the end of the season and to match or exceed his 778 yards last season.

Dustin Keller will have more touchdown receptions than Kevin Boss – I know the Boss Man has 6 more touchdowns than Keller over the past two seasons but Keller is going to build on his playoff production (3 touchdowns in 3 games) to become the Jets primary red-zone target and leader in touchdown receptions. Boss won’t exceed his 5 touchdowns from last season as Travis Beckum and Hakeem Nicks both get more looks than they did in 2009.

Tony Richardson will have more receptions than Madison Hedgecock – Yes, I know Hedgecock beat Richardson by 1 last year in the battle of blocking fullbacks. However, Richardson still looks much smoother catching the ball than Hedgecock, who makes catching a football look more difficult than still liking LeBron James.

Kris Jenkins will be the heaviest player in New York – Don’t worry about that weight loss contest G-Men, Jenkins will stay safely above any of you in the weight category.

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