The suddenly resurgent New York Giants, thanks to a superior defensive effort against the Philadelphia Eagles, look to retain momentum against the New York Jets, who are coming off an ugly loss against the Buffalo Bills, 17-14, last week.
The Jets, as previously mantioned, are coming off a sloppy loss to the Buffalo Bills 17-14 last week. A combination of nine penalties for 65 yards and 2 interceptions by quarterback Chad Pennington, not to mention kicker Mike Nugent missing a clutch 37-yard field goal just before halftime. The Jets rank low in most defensive categories, allowing 371 yards per game (253 yards passing/game); in addition, they have recorded only 3 sacks, only ahead of Carolina (2) and New Orleans (zero). Pennington is one of the few bright spots for the Jets; he’s unspectacular but effective (63-of-82, 582 yards, 5 TD’s, 2 INT’s). He will need to step it up against an improved Giants defense.
Running back Thomas Jones is off to a slow start (75-254), although he is battling a calf injury and he typically has slow starts; with the Chicago Bears last season at the 4-game mark, he had 279 yards. He finished with 1,210 yards and 6 TD’s. So there’s hope yet for Jones. A bright spot for the Jets is wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (26 catches, 383 yards). He will be key to any success that the Jets hope to have this weekend.
The Giants defense only had 4 sacks in their first 3 games, but last weekend recorded 12 against the Philadelphia Eagles; they now are tied with Chicago for the team sack lead. The Giants offense, especially after WEEK 1, has been inconsistent. QB Eli Manning last week went 14-for-26 for 135 yards, 1 TD and an INT; he has thrown 3 TD’s and 4 INT’s since WEEK 1 (vs. Dallas). He is looking to reverse that trend against the Jets’ secondary. RB Derrick Ward (73-353) leads the Giants rushers, but Brandon Jacobs has returned, so a timeshare at RB is very possible until one of them stands out. And of course, WR Plaxico Burress, despite a sprained ankle, is enjoying an All-Pro season thus far (19-286-6 TD’s).
For the Jets to win, they will need a strong effort from Jones and the offensive line, especially in light of the Giants’ improvement on the defensive line. Pennington, assuming he gets good pass protection, should have success with the short-passing game. The Giants will need a strong effort from Manning this weekend as the Jets’ secondary is suspect and a decent running effort by Jacobs would help to that end, as well. The defense just needs to continue doing what they’ve been doing as of late to be successful. I look for the Giants to continue exerting tremendous pressure on the Jets’s offensive line, which will in turn make Pennington’s job difficult. I also envision Manning throwing for around 310-320 yards and 3 TD’s Sunday as the Giants spank the Jets.