Any way you look at it, the New York Giants have been the dominant team in the Empire State. The Jets are no comparison to the Giants. First off, the Giants and Jets have both been to the playoffs in the last decade, the Giants four times and the Jets three times. However, the Giants have won two Super Bowls and the Jets have lost in their first or second game of the postseason. The Giants have had six winning seasons in the last ten years while the Jets have only had four.
Looking at the star quality of both New York squads, it’s easy to see which team has the bigger name players. The Giants have Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr, two big-name players. The Jets have Matt Forte, who’s had some success in his years but is pushing his time as a player. Let’s break down each team’s top three offensive positions; quarterback, wide receiver and running back.
Eli Manning led the Giants to both of their two Super Bowl wins and won MVP both times. He comes from a house of great quarterbacks and has proven he is one. This season the Giants haven't seen that greatness at all. Manning has thrown six touchdowns so far this season, which is good, but he has also thrown four interceptions. If he keeps this pace, he will end the season averaging one interception a game.
Josh McCown is listed as the Jets QB1 and has started in the first four games of the season. So far McCown has thrown three touchdowns and three interceptions, a worse percentage compared to Manning. McCown has played for seven different teams in the league since starting in 2002. He has never been a starting quarterback in the league and when he gets the chance to start; it doesn't last long.
Odell Beckham Jr always seems to be in the spotlight, whether that's an amazing one-handed catch, or for throwing a fit on the sidelines. Going into the season he was ranked high among wide receivers alongside Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown and Atlanta's Julio Jones. Beckham Jr has caught double-digit touchdowns in his first three seasons in the league but so far he is on pace to fall short. He had a few health issues early in the season but should be able to bounce back. It all depends on the chemistry between him and Manning.
The Jets most productive receiver so far this season is Jermaine Kearse. This is Kearse's first season with the Jets after playing five years for the Seattle Seahawks. He is tied with Beckham Jr with two touchdown catches so far this season. It looks like McCown plans to target Kearse more than he is used to in Seattle. Kearse has caught 18 of 25 targets and averages 10 yards per catch.
The Giants have struggled on the ground for a while now. Their offense is more pass-oriented having Manning as a quarterback. This year they have Paul Perkins listed as their RB1. It's Perkins second year in the league, and he has done some okay things in his first four games but he has shown little star quality. Last year he played in 14 games and only rushed for 456 yards and never found the end zone. The Giants also have Shane Vereen and Shane Smith they occasionally use in their run game. It looks as if Perkins will get more touches this year which might mean better numbers but we'll have to wait and see.
Matt Forte produced big plays in Chicago. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in five of his eight seasons with the Bears. Last year Forte put on a Jets uniform and rushed for over 800 yards and he scored seven touchdowns. So far this season the Jets have called Bilal Powell's number more often than Forte. The Jets have been developing Powell since 2011 and they trust him. Powell has scored two touchdowns so far this season.
Last year the Giants had one of the top defenses in the league. Lead by Eli Apple and Landon Collins, the Giants allowed the fewest touchdowns in 2016. Their defensive squad didn't change much over the offseason. They added second-round rookie Dalvin Tomlinson, a young pass rusher out of Alabama. Overall, the Giants have an outstanding defense.
The biggest issue going into the season for the Jets defense was the thought they might never get a break. If the offense can't convert first downs, the defense gets tired and can get run over. One thing the Jets have always been good at is recruiting great cornerbacks. Buster Skrine and Morris Claiborne have been in the league for six or seven years now. They are quick and can cover any wide receiver in their path. They break up passes, get interceptions and force fumbles.
Both defensive units are not the issue. They have proven they can make stops. On average, both the Giants and Jets hold their opponent to around 20 points per game.
After looking at the different players on each New York team, there are many similarities and differences. On paper, the Giants may look like they have an edge over the Jets but let's address the elephant in the room.
The New York Giants are 0-4 and the New York Jets are 2-2.
It is still early in the season but the Giants have found a spot in fourth place in the NFC East and are tied with the Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, and San Francisco 49ers as the only teams without a win. It will be a tough road ahead for the Giants being in a tough division.
The Jets have found themselves in second place in the AFC East, above the reigning Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots (until last night). The Jets are on a two-game win streak and could be the real deal. They are also outplaying the Miami Dolphins who were a wildcard in the playoffs last year.
There is plenty of football to be played and both teams in New York hope to pick it up. The Giants have all the pieces they need to be a great team, but they need to figure out how the pieces fit together. The Jets are still working with a lot of pieces and their record suggests something is working out. It will be awhile for either team to show star potential but as players step up and team chemistry is built, anything could happen.
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