On Friday August 23, the New York Giants released a list of players not available for the MetLife Bowl, Saturday night. Unfortunately for Eli Manning, three receivers will be sitting out the third preseason game, including Victor Cruz.
We know all eyes will be on the Jets rookie quarterback, Geno Smith. This could be the biggest moment of the New York Jets season. If Smith plays well, he’ll likely get the starting nod to open the season.
When the New York Jets take the field against the New York Giants on Saturday night, there are quite a few things I want to see. Right now, the Jets and Giants are on two different levels. Not necessarily in playing ability, but in the stature of the two organizations.
1. Offensive Execution- On one hand, the Giants are trying to get back to the upper echelon of the NFC. First, they must get back to basics, and take care of the ball throughout the whole season. It will be interesting to see how Eli Manning fares against the Jets defense. Last week, Jacksonville had some great moments with the first team moving the ball. There won’t be any excuses for the Giants this time around. Even with some of the regulars unavailable, the Giants should have enough to challenge the Jets.
Geno Smith must look poised in the pocket. Against the Giants, he’ll have to attack the defensive secondary aggressively. If he is passive out there, then there won’t be any room for improvement throughout the game. Smith shouldn’t worry about throwing interceptions, but most importantly, he shouldn’t throw any. Any indecisiveness should be a cause for concern.
2. Penalties and mistakes- Most teams can’t win with too many penalties and mistakes. Jumping offside is not okay, and the players on Saturday night will be counted on to play mistake free football during the season.
There shouldn’t be any wasted timeouts with confusion in the huddle and play calling. The defense shouldn’t have too many men on the field like we saw with Green Bay last night.
3. Defensive Ability- When the quarterback makes a mistake, will the defensive teams be able to capitalize in major ways. It’s not enough to knock an errant pass down when it should be intercepted. Earlier in the week, Carolina scored 3 defensive touchdowns and one punt return touchdown.
Both teams need to tackle well. Not the forearm shiver kind either. The Giants gave up huge plays on first down last season. That caused the pass rush to be ineffective late in the season. Watch for the Jets defense to step up big. In recent years, they've given up huge drives at the most inopportune times.
4. Running game- It’s going to be exciting to see the two New York running games go to battle. The Jets offensive line has looked much better this preseason. They hit the point of attack hard and created nice running lanes for Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory. If they are able to continue with a strong running game, then Geno Smith should have plenty of time to use play action passes.
For the Giants, it looks like David Wilson will be the go to guy. His speed an elusiveness is electrifying. Wilson may be the player that takes the “G-men” over the top this season. We all know how great Eli Manning can be working off of the play action game as well.
5. Injuries- Hopefully for both teams, nobody gets too hurt out there. Regardless of what the game means to the locals, both teams would rather play bad than lose a key piece to the season.
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