Many say that Week 3 of the preseason is the most important, which means tonight is somewhat of an important game. We should actually get to see the starters play for more than a couple series. The 1-1 Giants take on rookie QB Mark Sanchez and the 0-2 Jets at the Meadowlands. The Giants are the home team. Again, as with all preseason games, we’re looking at the backups, the battles, and the young players. This is the time to see what they have.
WR David Tyree (hamstring) LB Antonio Pierce (foot), CB Aaron Ross (hamstring), CB Stoney Woodson (ankle), DT Chris Canty (hamstring), OL Orrin Thompson (thigh), RB Andre Brown (achilles), DT Jay Alford (knee) and LB Michael Boley (hip/PUP)
Let’s face it: With the exception of the running game, the Giants offense last week in Chicago was putrid. Granted, two offensive linemen were out, and both Chris Snee and Rich Seubert should be coming back. But, the receivers have to be sharper, and Eli needs more time to throw. That should happen with the offensive line intact. I want to see if Hakeem Nicks can build upon a strong week of practice, and the 55 yard catch from last week. I want to see the offense go, starting with protection up front, to strong, accurate passes from Manning, to big performances from the wideouts. The 3rd game is traditionally the game the starters play the longest, and that shouldn’t change here. Even though there are injuries, this is the closest we’ll come to seeing the real Giants offense, and what we can expect during the 2009 season.
More injuries on the defensive front, which will rob us of a chance to see the real defense. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to watch. The defense was getting barely any pressure on Cutler last week. Granted, Canty was out, and now Alford is out, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t see pressure. This is a big game for Rocky Bernard. Johnathan Goff played really well last week, and should get a good amount of playing time with Pierce out. He was flying. I’m disappointed to see Stoney Woodson hurt–he was quickly becoming an important member of the secondary. Again, this week is all about pressure for me. I want them to go back to the game against Carolina, where they were flying.
I think Danny Ware is the kick returner, and Mario Manningham is the punt returner. That could change, and we’ll probably see Ware fielding punts. I think it’s a nice duo, but they are not necessarily game breakers.
With this being the closest to a real game, I can really make a thoughtful prediction. I watched the Jets on Monday Night. Sanchez did not look good. I do think he’ll be a good QB, but he looked tentative out there. The Ravens and Giants have something in common: They attack the QB. And after last week’s performance, I think the Giants will be hungry. Sanchez should bring some extra padding. Final Score: Giants 28, Jets 10