Friday, December 23, 2011

Week 16-For More Than Pride

Both the Giants and Jets had a chance to make this week's crosstown battle relatively meaningless as long as they could come through with victories in Week 15. Instead, both teams were hammered into submission, which makes tomorrow's Week 16 tilt a virtual elimination game. The Giants were in a position to win one of their last two to get into the playoffs, with the seemingly easier game against Washington, but they played poorly last Sunday in a 23-10 loss. The Jets had a chance to put a stranglehold on the #6 seed, but instead were blown out by Philadelphia, who almost dropped a 50-burger on the vaunted Jets defense.

Truth be told, I had written a rather long blog post on the Jets playoff prospects that was magically erased by the wonderful Blogger system, and I don't have the time or inclination to recant every brilliant word of it (sarcasm). Suffice it to say that the Jets must win tomorrow against the Giants and next week in Miami and they will find themselves in the postseason for the third straight year for the first time in franchise history. I have no illusions about the Jets being more than a one-and-done team, but it would be nice to find them in the postseason once again.

I truly believe that the Giants are a good matchup for the Jets. The strength of their team offensively is their skill at the receiver position, while the Jets strength defensively is being able to take away receivers with outstanding coverage. The Giants are missing their starting tight end, and the Jets have struggled with tight ends all season. The Jets run defense has been spotty, but the Giants have struggled to run the ball well all season. I think the game will come down to the Jets offensive line and their ability to keep the pressure away from Mark Sanchez. If they can keep the pocket clean, the Jets have an excellent chance to win.

Both teams have engaged in an inordinate amount of trash talk over the last few days, including the Giants receiving corps choosing to take on Darrelle Revis (of all people). Normally, this plays right into the Jets' hands, as the Jets seem to use trash talk to hype themselves to a level of intensity that their opponents struggle to match. Both the Jets and the Giants have been truly mediocre all season, so anyone who pretends to know exactly what we're going to get from either team is fooling themselves.

The Jets still control their destiny for the postseason; win this week against the Giants and next Sunday in Miami and the #6 seed is theirs. Virtually every other scenario that involves a loss to either team would leave the Jets needing so much help to get in that it would be highly unlikely to happen. The Giants are in the same position, needing a win against the Jets and a victory at home against Dallas in Week 17 to win the NFC East. The stakes are higher for this game than perhaps any game between the teams ever.

Kickoff tomorrow from MetLife Stadium is at 1 pm.

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