- Rich Wilheim
Are the 2-2 Jets Really Better than the 0-4 Giants?
When examining two teams it is only right to go over each position to decipher the bigger picture. The analyze also needs to go over the team performance as a whole. These stats include points allowed, points forced and of course overall record.
Let's start with the quarterback position. This decision is one of the easiest on the position list. Eli Manning could go 0-16 and there would be no doubt that he is better than Josh McCown. Eli Manning may be 0-4 but it is not completely his fault. With the putrid run game, the subpar offensive line, injuries and wide receivers dropping balls it is an uphill battle to say the least. Josh McCown won two games in a row this year which is a big accomplishment in his career...I’ll simply leave it at that.
The running back position is something the Giants cannot figure out. Paul Perkins i s not the guy and probably never will be. Shane Vereen is a PPR back and not much of one. Darkwa and Gallman are wildcards but not starter material for most teams. The Jets on the other hand have no issues running the ball currently with Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire. When the future Hall of Famer Matt Forte is expendable you know something is going right. Just ask the Jaguars.
The wide receiver position is not as clear cut as one would think. Clearly the best wide receiver on both squads is Odell Beckham Jr. with the second best most likely being Brandon Marshall. Both of these players are on the New York Giants and the advantage should clearly be on their side but not so fast. Two words come to mind when thinking about what Giants wide receivers are lacking, chemistry and maturity. Brandon Marshall is just not clicking with Eli. He also seems to be dropping balls in every game without fail. Beckham is not at the maturity level that the Giants would want and may never be. Be it a boat trip or acting like a pee dog, Beckham needs to focus on football. Having two possible prima donnas in a locker room could be a recipe for disaster much like how it was with Marshall and Sheldon Richardson. Sterling Shepard is benefiting from all the confusion and putting together a solid year.
Let’s examine the Jets wideouts to determine why this category is closer than originally thought. The trade of Sheldon Richardson for Jermaine Kearse and a 2nd round pick made many Jets fans angry. Hopefully after this year fans understand that certain players can ruin a team’s morale. The Jets are finally playing as a team and a lot of it has to do with the subtraction of Richardson and Marshall. The mantra is usually quality over quantity but in this case the Jets are using quantity to their advantage. Kearse, Anderson, Kerley and Stewart are all pulling their weight. They do not have to put up big flashy plays because let's face it McCown is playing the checkdown role. Rookie Chad Hansen will contribute when fully healthy and should fight for more snaps as the games progress. Jalin Marshall is coming back from suspension and immediately should contribute as WR3/WR4. Experts thought the Jets wide receiver core would be awful but when you play as a team great things can happen.
Advantage: Giants….for now.
The tight end position has been up and down for the Giants and completely nonexistent for the Jets. This has seemed to change in 2017. The Giants used their first pick in 2017 on Evan Engram and the Jets have the new and improved Austin Sefarian Jenkins. As a person who is always weary of 1st year tight ends I am impressed with Evan Engram. I am equally impressed with ASJ not only for his play on the field but also his life transformation off the field. ASJ is now built like a wide receiver and is completely dedicated to football. Both players should put up similar numbers this year even with ASJ missing games due to suspension.
The phrase offensive line is a phrase that is offensive to all Giants fans. Flowers, Pugh, Richburg, Jerry and Hart oh my! It has been rough for the Giants O-line….I am looking at you Flowers. This decision is very easy in the Jets favor for one simple reason. The Giants O-line is underperforming while the Jets O-line is overperforming. Similar to the wide receiver core,the O-line for the Jets was supposed to be putrid according to the experts. According to statistics the Jets O-line has performed admirably even without the luxury of Nick Mangold or D’Brickashaw Ferguson. Carpenter, Beachum, Johnson, Winters, Shell, Dozier, Ijalana and Qvale have held their own when called upon. There may not be much depth but it is enough to maintain. This line allows big holes for Powell and McGuire as well as gives time to McCown to complete his once a gamelong ball to Anderson.
The D-line for the Jets was set to take a nosedive after losing Damon Harrison and Sheldon Richardson in consecutive years. As mentioned before a player can ruin the morale of a team. Call me crazy but the Jets defensive line has performed better since Richardson exited. Leonard Williams is one of the best in the NFL but has zero sacks on the year. Muhammad Wilkerson is struggling and also has no sacks on the year. Kony Ealy has been the greatest waiver claim this year for the Jets and may not have a sack but does have an interception. Steve McLendon does not come close to Damon Harrison but does the job for the team even though he has no sacks which is consistent with the entire line.
The Giants D-line has a lot of big names and is not the reason the team is losing. Playing out of the 4-3 it is not too shabby to have JPP, Harrison Bromley and Vernon. Unlike the Jets, the Giants put up sacks. JPP has 1.5, Harrison has none but is the best run stopping NT in the league, Bromley has 1 and Vernon has 2. The Giants try every year to upgrade their defense and they are trying to keep pace to support the subpar offense. Both defensive lines are effective in their own way but this one is clear.
The linebacker position is not the greatest on either of these teams. Kennard, Goodson and Casillas are not a core that scare many people. This core has also not had a single fumble recovery or interception all year. The Jets have a wide range of linebackers and use multiple formations. Demario Davis is overperforming this year and dare I say it, he is becoming a leader at the linebacker position. Backup linebacker David Bass was added recently and already has two sacks. Josh Martin and Jordan Jenkins have a lot of upside and seem to have found a niche on the Jets defense. Darron Lee on the other hand is one of the most overrated, overdrafted linebacker in the NFL but as they say, beggars can't be choosers. The Jets do linebackers also do not scare many people but this year is the first year in a long time that they can actually cover a tight end.
People are excited about the safeties on both the Giants and the Jets. On the Jets you have 6th overall pick Jamal Adams who is mastering his rookie year playing not only playing at safety but also cornerback and linebacker. On the other side of the ball the Giants have a player you may have heard of by the name of Landon Collins. Collins is one of the best safeties in the league and Adams will be as time goes on. With this category you have to go into the depth. It becomes a battle of Maye and Brooks against Thompson and Behre. Stats don’t lie making Maye and Brooks the better two/three combo. It isn't bad when your backup safety is the AFC Defensive Player of the Week and has two interceptions in four weeks.
The days of Revis are over for the J-ET-S. Morris Claiborne has been a bright spot and will most likely be signed long term by the team. Per PFF “[Claiborne] completely shut down his assignments this week. Across 38 coverage snaps, he was targeted only one time and didn’t allow that ball to be caught,” PFF wrote. “In his coverage, he allowed a 39.6 passer rating. Only two CBs allowed a lower passer rating in their coverage.” Despite this the Giants have a better core of cornerbacks with Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple. This one is not as close as other categories.
Now that the positional battles have been decided it is time to decipher the team as whole using the subcategories points allowed, points forced and overall record. In regard to points allowed the Jets have allowed 86 while the Giants have allowed 95. In regard to points forced the Jets have gained 75 points to the Giants 60. The overall record also goes to the Jets 2-2 over the Giants 0-4.
For everyone keeping score out there the Giants have the better quarterback, wide receivers, defensive line and cornerbacks. The Jets have the better running backs, offensive line, linebackers and safeties. The deciding factor came down to the team performance overall this year. The Jets swept this category with points allowed, points forced and record. To answer the question are the 2-2 Jets better than the New York Giants….I have to say yes.