It shouldn't be all that difficult to predict a New York Giant victory in their sibling rivalry with the New York Jets on Christmas Eve. They are simply a better team overall.
The 2011 NFL season launched so quickly after the lockout and chaotic free agent signing period, there was barely enough time to categorize strengths, weaknesses and potential outcomes for the schedule. It became quickly apparent, however, that the New York Giants were going to be challenged by key injuries all year, most notably to the defense. Early on, they deftly overcame their injury-related deficiencies and were actually a quite impressive pass rushing team. The long season seems to have weakened their resolve some, but the passion and energy will return in bright lights for this game…a chance to sew shut the mouth that won't stop roaring.
Yes, the Jets are loud, led by their ubiquitous coach, Rex Ryan. But none of their play all year has matched the locker room cacophony. As it turns out, the Jets really only played three games against bona-fide elite teams this year, the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots twice, and lost them badly. Some might describe two of them as embarrassing. At one point, the first Buffalo victory might have been a quality win, but then the Bills reverted to form. The Dallas Cowboys? They have the same record as the Jets, and are just as mercurial.
The Giants have faced four elite teams in New England, San Francisco, New Orleans, and Green Bay and lost three. But they played spirited football against the 49ers and probably should have won on the road, and did the same against the great Packers. The defeated the Patriots on the road, a team that ran amok against the Jets twice.
Eli Manning might very well be the decisive edge in this battle, given that the other team's QB is named Mark Sanchez. Though the Jets have the overall defensive reputation, it's only marginally better than the Giants group, because the latter can crank up a fierce pass rush when the stars are aligned. The Jets have demonstrated many weaknesses this year, and clearly the apparition sometimes known as Wayne Hunter is one of them. See Mark Sanchez panic. And this week, the Giants' secondary catches an enormous break, having only to practice stopping one pattern, the overused slant. The Jets pressure emanates only from blitzes, and we know Eli loves when the opposition sends extra people.
So, it appears to me a fairly routine Giant victory if they show up caring…and something tells me they will.
Glenn Vallach has been a football fan for most of his lifetime, but never played organized pigskin unless you consider the thousands of youth hours running slant routes on city streets with a friend serving as Joe Willie. Don Maynard was his idol, an adulation he took seriously, complete with a number 13 stitched to his sweatshirt. In later years, he modernized his admiration and included Wayne Chrebet. Receivers -- always receivers. He remains a New York Jet fan through so much disappointment and embarrassment over the years. Coach Rex Ryan has rekindled a dormant fire, but sometimes he feels as if he doesn't understand the likely end result of all his efforts. It has been 42 years, after all.
- · Barry Wilner, AP Pro Football Writer, Big Blue over Gang Green
- · By Yahoo! Sports New York Jets page
- · Yahoo! Sports New York Giants page
- · Yahoo! Sports Eli Manning page
- · Dennis Waszak Jr., AP Sports Writer, Jets' Holmes sees big chances vs. Giants secondary