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.

Battle Of New York: Giants Step Into The Trash Talk Business

The New York Giants stepped down from their mighty pedestal to hop into the trash talk ring with the New York Jets today

So is the myth of the New York Giants being choir boys who would never dare utter a word of trash talk ready to be buried? Since their wide receivers have decided to come after Darrelle Revis, who hasn’t said a peep about them…

“I’m not about to give all their corners credit because I feel like their defensive scheme is what makes them good in man coverage because they have to play it because of how their scheme is. Have to play a lot of man because of how they run their defense.” – Mario Manningham

“Yeah, teams aren’t really scared anymore. He’s had to earn his money this year and teams aren’t really backing down. I feel like we’re going to do the same thing. We’re going to go out until he physically stops us and we’re going to spread the ball around.” – Victor Cruz on Darrelle Revis

“He’s a decent corner” – Hakeem Nicks on Darrelle Revis

Did Nicks get hit in the head harder with that dropped touchdown last week than we thought? I am pretty sure Darrelle Revis has two career playoff catches and Nicks, Manningham and Cruz have a combined zero.

The rest of the Giants also threw some words around despite Tom Coughlin saying that “talk is cheap.” Brandon Jacobs saying Rex Ryan is saying things to put in people’s heads that really aren’t there and Kareem McKenzie saying the Jets haven’t been more successful in recent years.

Hey, I have no problem with the New York Giants stepping into the trash talk ring. It makes this week that much more fun. What is funny is how the Giants and their fans like turn their nose up to the Jets and their lowly trash talking when they do the exact same thing. Has anybody listened to Antrel Rolle the past two years?

“I can’t believe Rex Ryan runs his mouth. He hasn’t won anything” … Listen you bougie Giants fans, he has won more than Nicks, Cruz, Manningham, and Rolle combined. And while we are on the topic of “sophsictatsd” Giants fans, who talk to down to Jets fans because they claim they don’t know their football but then all they can come up with to say is that “Rex Ryan is a fat moron!”…Fat jokes, wow. Clever. Original. Actually, Rex Ryan is one of the ten most successful head coaches in the NFL, a job only 32 people in the world hold. I think he is a fairly smart guy.

How much fun is Saturday going to be? Jets fans, if you sell your tickets to Giants fans, I am finding a way to block you from ever visiting this site again. I don’t know if that is physically possible but I will figure it out.

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.

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…