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.

Your Weekly Mark Sanchez Defense

Another reality check on Mark Sanchez’s progress

We will keep this short and simple for those who believe Mark Sanchez has “regressed” in year three and think the New York Jets need to consider a different option at quarterback next year.

Completion Percentage

  • 2009 – 53.8%
  • 2010 – 54.8%
  • 2011 – 56.9 %

Touchdown Passes

  • 2009 – 12
  • 2010 – 17
  • 2011 – 23

Touchdown Runs

  • 2009 – 3
  • 2010 – 3
  • 2011 – 5

Fumbles

  • 2009 – 10
  • 2010 – 9
  • 2011 – 9

Passing Yards

  • 2009 – 2,444
  • 2010 – 3,291
  • 2011 – 3,009

Interceptions

  • 2009 – 20
  • 2010 – 13
  • 2011 – 13

Keep in mind Sanchez has had an offensive line that has got progressively worse since his rookie year, had his top three receivers shuffled every season, and is dealing with questionable play-calling at best…

Rex Ryan Stirring The Pot Early For Jets/Giants

Rex Ryan is doing what he does best when it comes to the media

Is anybody in their right mind actually surprised by these comments from Rex Ryan, pertaining to the Jets/Giants upcoming match-up?

Sure there’s a lot of talk back and forth, most of it driven by me. But you know what, I’ll stand by everything I’ve ever said. I didn’t come here to be anybody’s little brother. I came here to win…. And to take over not just this city, even though it’s the city to take over, but also this league. I haven’t accomplished that yet. Saturday, I think, will go a long way (toward) doing that. We have to win this game. We have to get into the playoffs.”

Certainly we were the best team the last two years. We made the playoffs… To say a team is better than you that never made the playoffs is ridiculous. Clearly we were the better team my first two years here. We get to prove it on Saturday who the best team is this year. Quite honestly, both of us are having disappointing years…. Whoever (wins) this game is clearly the best team in New York”

“I never came here to be little brother to anyone. So, it’s on….. There’s no way I’m going to be second fiddle. If we were playing the NY Yankees, I don’t want to be second fiddle to them.”

This is Rex Ryan and this is what he does. His consistent strategy with the media is to take the focus off his players and put it on himself and his comments. His team was embarrassed on the field yesterday, most notably Santonio Holmes, Wayne Hunter, and the entire defense. Ryan has quickly shifted the discourse to his comments about the Giants and his ongoing bluster despite his team’s loss.

Say what you want, but recent history doesn’t lie. The Jets play better when Rex Ryan is running his mouth and this team is embracing their true personality. I don’t expect the trash talk to slow at all, as the Giants have already responded and Rex has too much more time in front of the press not to say anything else inflammatory.

Why Should You Have Confidence In The New York Jets?

Why in the world should anybody have confidence in the New York Jets at this point?

It would be easy to find the prospect of the New York Jets winning another football game this year or a playoff game down the road laughable after watching them play yesterday. It would be laughable only if you haven’t watched the NFL this year or in recent years.

People will say the New York Jets haven’t beat a good football team all season and that their two three game winning streaks this year were a result of a low level of competition. Only that “awful” Washington team they beat by two touchdowns just manhandled the New York Giants for the second time this season. The “terrible” Kansas City Chiefs team just ended the Green Bay Packers quest for perfection. The “pathetic” San Diego Chargers just destroyed the Baltimore Ravens and have now won three games in a row. Any win the NFL, particularly this year, is a quality win and the Jets have eight of them.

The prospect of it “not being worth” the Jets even making playoffs because they won’t be able to beat anybody when they get there couldn’t make any less sense. Did anybody watch the Jets beat a 14-2 New England Patriots team last January, who beat them 45-3 a couple of months before that game? Did anybody see the Seattle Seahawks knock off the New Orleans Saints last January?

Who in the AFC is so unbeatable that the Jets can’t make noise in the tournament? Houston, who’d they play in the first round if the season ended today is starting a rookie fifth round quarterback and lost to Carolina yesterday. Baltimore is fresh off getting blown out by the Chargers. New England…anything goes in a rivalry game. Pittsburgh has looked far from unbeatable all season and is dealing with a banged up Ben Roethlisberger. The AFC is wide open.

The Jets aren’t a great a football team. They might not even be a good football team. They are a slight cut above average at 8-6. Yet, they were thoroughly average at 7-7 before they beat two teams who basically laid down for them to enter the 2009 playoffs where they pulled off two straight road wins. Last year, their 9-2 record turned into a 11-5 final record as the Jets were very average down the stretch.

If you think back, it made no sense to think the Jets could get within a half of the Super Bowl the past two years but they did. There is never ending cycle of things that make no sense which occur in the NFL and that was on perfect display yesterday.

All that matters right now is beating the New York Giants, another average football team in a league full of them, the Jets have done it eight times already this season and there is no reason they can’t do it again on Saturday.

Santonio Holmes: Captain In Name Only

Santonio Holmes has been a captain in name only this season for the New York Jets

This isn’t the first time this season I have taken the time to criticize Santonio Holmes captaincy of the New York Jets. Similar to his early season antics of publicly criticizing teammates, Holmes made Rex Ryan look foolish again yesterday for putting a “C” on his chest.

Fumbles happen. Dropped passes happen. Great players make mistakes. What can’t happen is unsportsmanlike penalties from excessive celebration when you are losing 28-3 and score a touchdown. This is common sense. It is clear Holmes had a pre-mediated routine that he had in his mind all week and wasn’t going to let the scoreboard stop him. Outside of the penalty, doesn’t Holmes have a sense of how ridiculous he looks?

The answer sadly, is probably not. This is a player who does extended celebrations for 7 yard catches that go for a first down, even if his team is losing by 2 or 3 touchdowns. There is nothing else to say, except he needs to grow up.

I have no problem with playing emotionally and or players having fun on the field. I love the Flight Boys celebration. Yet, do it when you scored a go-ahead or game winning touchdown. Common sense.

I don’t get the vibe that Holmes is a bad guy, who isn’t liked around the team. He is a gamer, clutch, works hard, and plays with passion which his teammates have to respect. Yet, he remains prone to these foolish bouts of immaturity that make it look insane that he has a “C” on his chest.

You can’t ignore the playmaker Holmes has been since he arrived. Considering his skill on the field, I would bank on a big day for him this Saturday against a subpar Giants secondary. Fans have every right to be frustrated with him today but those same fans will be gushing about “Tone Time” if he grabs a pair of touchdowns this week.

Holmes hasn’t grown into a being a team leader yet, maybe he will in time…maybe he won’t. Right now all that matters is that he learned some kind of humility lesson on Sunday and won’t get anymore penalties this season and will also be motivated by how stupid he looked on the field and respond with a big time performance.

On To The Next One: Everything On The Line In Jets/Giants Game

You couldn’t have written a better script for this week’s Jets/Giants game

We didn’t learn anything we didn’t already know from the New York Jets loss today. Their right tackle is terrible. Their safeties can’t cover. Their playcalling is inconsistent. Their star players are inconsistent. It was disappointing to see Rex Ryan fail so miserably in coaching around his team’s deficiencies today, especially when he has excelled at it in the past.

Don’t we think it is time to maybe line up Antonio Cromartie or Darrelle Revis at safety or over the tight ends on certain passing downs? Isn’t that better than the status quo? Shouldn’t Wayne Hunter never be left one on one with elite pass rushers? Where is the help from the running back or tight end? But, I digress…

In the end there is a game with the New York Giants only six days away. The team we share the stadium with, who is every bit as average and inconsistent as the New York Jets are. In a script that couldn’t have been written any better for every football fan in the tri-state area, this game sets up as an elimination game. A one game playoff, with both teams hopes for the post-season hanging in the balance. A scenario that will make a win as enjoyable as any regular season one in recent Jets history and a loss as painful as any.

Both the Jets and Giants are fairly average and inconsistent football teams. The Giants secondary and linebackers are having awful seasons. They can’t run the football anymore and their special teams are still questionable. The Jets safeties and linebackers are having awful seasons. They can’t throw the football with any consistency and turn the football over like crazy. Yet, the Giants passing game is one of the most dangerous in the NFL and they still have a lethal pass rush. The Jets still have an ability to run the football, a terrific trio of corners, and a consistent ability to win close games.

It will be an angry, emotional game. The trash talk will be flying and technically has already been started by Rex Ryan before the season. This game is filled with plenty of big talkers who haven’t backed it up so far this year: Ryan, Antrel Rolle, Bart Scott, Brandon Jacobs…the list goes on. It will be fun on Saturday, and it can’t get here fast enough…

Embarrassing: Jets Lay Egg In Philly

The New York Jets embarrassed themselves today in Philadelphia

It was about as ugly as you could imagine for the New York Jets today. A terrible game plan. Turnovers. Penalties. Just stupid football en route to a 45-19 loss.

Why the Jets coaching staff thought Wayne Hunter, one of the league’s worst starting offensive players, could block Jason Babin one on one is beyond me. Babin torched the Jets all day long, finishing with 3 sacks. Mark Sanchez never had a chance. On defense, we saw plenty of Eric Smith matched up one on one with Brent Celek who carved up the secondary for 150 yards and a touchdown. On the whole the defense was putrid, missing tackles all over the field. They looked slow and out of place.

What was especially disheartening was the showing from “captain” Santonio Holmes today. A first quarter fumble gave the Eagles their first seven points and then he dropped a pass in the red-zone that turned into an interception. Even more annoying to watch was him doing a pre-meditated touchdown celebration with his team down 19 points and drawing an unsportsmanlike penalty. Selfish and immature.

To lay an egg in such a big spot is inexcusable. It is poor coaching. It was poor coaching to put Hunter and Smith in the spots they were put in. It was poor coaching in the beginning of the year to make somebody like Holmes a captain.

How could you feel confident about this team making the playoffs after what you saw today? Yet, somehow thanks to the help they keep receiving, they actually still control their own destiny. Win their last two games and they are still in.

New York Jets Fans: Week 15 Rooting Guide

TOJ with a rooting guide for New York Jets fans in week 15. Is more help on the way?

Last week was one of those beautiful times where every single thing broke the New York Jets way. Can they get the same kind of help this weekend? It isn’t too likely considering the following match-ups, but hey you never know…

Tennessee Titans (7-6) at Indianapolis Colts (0-13) – The Colts have to eventually win right? Right? Maybe I am reaching here but I do think this game will end up being somewhat competitive. If Indy actually does pull off a win, you know God has a little love for our Jets. Oh wait, nevermind he can’t because the only thing God cares about is Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos…my bad.

Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) at St. Louis Rams (2-11) – Kellen freakin Clemens. It looks the Jets ex quarterback will be under center for the Rams as they attempt to pull off the upset over the Bengals. St. Louis did upset New Orleans earlier this year but relying on Clemens for anything isn’t a very good idea.

Detroit Lions (8-5) at Oakland Raiders (7-6) – The Raiders appear to be free falling and a loss to the Lions here could put a nail in their coffin. I am pretty sure we will look back one day and remember the Carson Palmer trade as one of the stupidest decisions made this decade by a NFL team.

New England Patriots (10-3) at Denver Broncos (8-5) – A scoreless tie? I think I will root for Denver so they have a shot of getting the number three seed, which brings my dream closer to a reality. A Jets rematch in Denver, round one of the playoffs. Could you imagine how hard everybody else in the free world will be rooting against Rex and the Jets? All I want is for that game to occur, the Jets to be up 14-10 with 3 seconds left with Denver at the Jets 3 yard line. Tebow runs up the middle, David Harris sticks him in the backfield, forces a fumble, Darrelle Revis picks it up and runs it back for a score and then proceeds to “Tebow” in the end-zone, while all us Jets fans do the same thing and then run around New York City with our flight boy celebrations…but I digress…

Carolina Panthers (4-9) at Houston Texans (10-3) – We want Houston to keep winning so they are still playing for a bye in week 17 against Tennessee.

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-3) at San Francisco 49ers (10-3) – We want Pittsburgh to keep winning so Baltimore still has something to play for week 17 against Cincinnati.

San Diego Chargers (6-7) at Baltimore Ravens (10-3) – We want Baltimore to keep winning so they either playing for a division title or a bye in week 17 against Cincinnati.

Jets vs. Eagles: 12 Pack Of Predictions

12 predictions for the Jets/Eagles week 15 showdown

Can the New York Jets take home their fourth victory in a row? Is another late season playoff run on deck? The 12 pack has a few ideas…

1. LeSean McCoy is going to rip one huge run off but beyond that will be bottled up. Ultimately, he will end up with a little under 100 yards and a touchdown.

2. Shonn Greene will have his second straight 100 yard game, wearing the Eagles defense down in the second half. He will also score another touchdown.

3. Mike Vick is going to turn the football over twice, one of which will come on a strip sack from Aaron Maybin.

4. Plaxico Burress will continue his Eagle killing ways, scoring two touchdowns in the red-zone.

5. Mark Sanchez will have an ugly first half turnover.

6. Jason Babin will have two sacks working against Wayne Hunter.

7. Darrelle Revis will keep DeSean Jackson under 50 yards receiving and without a touchdown.

8. Jeremy Maclin will burn Antonio Cromartie for a big play, but Cromartie will come up with an interception later in the game.

9. Brent Celek will have at least 4 receptions, so will Dustin Keller.

10. Jeremy Kerley won’t muff any punts.

11. Mike DeVito and Joe McKnight will both play on Sunday.

12. The Jets will be trailing throughout the entire game and head into the fourth quarter down by 7-10 points. However, they will stage a late rally and the Eagles will have yet another fourth quarter collapse. The Jets escape with a 27-24 win that will leave all of us with stomach pain.