There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer regarding the question of the best NFL team in New York, but that should change in Week 13 when the Giants and Jets face off at MetLife Stadium. The Giants are technically the home team, but the crowd will likely be split for a game that could go either way.
Playing on what essentially amounts to a neutral field, the Jets are two-point favorites, according to vegasinsider.com. The Jets have one more win than the Giants, though Tom Coughlin’s team might have a better chance to make the playoffs. The over/under on Sunday is 45 points.
It’s the first time in four years that the hometown rivals will meet in the regular season. The Giants beat the Jets 29-14 on Christmas Eve 2011, starting a six-game winning streak that ended with a Super Bowl title.
The Giants lost to the Redskins in Week 12, costing them sole possession of first place in the division. The Jets defeated the Dolphins last week, ending a two-game losing streak.
Both New York teams have a chance to make the playoffs, and winning on Sunday would go a long way in making that happen for either the Giants or the Jets.
The Giants are fortunate to be playing in the NFC East, where a 5-6 record gives them a share of first place. The Redskins own the tiebreaker because they have a better division record, and the Giants have a few tough games ahead. After visiting the Dolphins next week, they’ll face the Vikings and Panthers, who have a combined 19-3 record.
The Jets are on the outside of the playoff picture, as well. They share the same record as the No.5 seeded Chiefs and the No.6 seeded Texans, but the current tiebreaker scenario has them at seventh in the AFC. Gang Green has an uphill battle, considering head-to-head losses to the Texans and Raiders could come back to haunt them. But the Jets do have a favorable schedule, with the Patriots being their only remaining opponent that has a winning record.
Offensive Line Woes
The most banged up unit in Sunday’s game will be the Giants' offensive line. The team has suffered injuries to four of their five starters, and that could turn out to be a major issue if they don’t get any healthier by Sunday.
Starting guard Geoff Schwartz is done for the season after fracturing his lower leg against the Redskins, and the Giants have a few more question marks on the offensive line. Guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg are both on track to start Sunday, though it’s unclear whether both will play. In addition, right tackle Marshall Newhouse is dealing with a back issue. Without Pugh or Richburg in Week 12, Eli Manning had little time to throw the ball, and New York averaged just 2.5 yards per carry.
The Jets are in the middle of the pack with 16 sacks, but they might not have much trouble getting to Manning if the Giants are missing three starters. Considering the Jets are first against the run and the Giants are one of five teams that hasn’t rushed for 1,000 yards yet, injuries to the offensive line could make the Giants’ rushing attack obsolete.
Since the Giants could have trouble running the ball effectively, Manning might need to have a big game in order for the Jets to lose. While Gang Green’s secondary is highlighted by some big names, the Giants have a chance to make some big plays in the passing game.
In their last five games, the Jets have allowed four quarterbacks to throw for at least 333 yards. Darrelle Revis has played well for most of the season, but he’s struggled recently and a concussion will likely keep him off the field. Antonio Cromartie has been one of the NFL’s worst cornerbacks, and he allowed a game-changing, 99-yard touchdown pass the last time these two teams met.
Cromartie called Odell Beckham Jr. a “one-year wonder” earlier this season, but the wide receiver has proven the veteran wrong. Beckham is fourth in the NFL with 1,005 receiving yards, and no wide out has caught more touchdown passes. He’s totaled at least 104 receiving yards in each of his last four games, and that streak should continue on Sunday.
It’s looking like the Giants could have a few starters back on the offensive line, which should give Manning just enough protection to have a big game. Ryan Fitzpatrick might not be able to match the Giants, who have a chance to make some big plays in the passing game.
Predicted Score: Giants over Jets, 24-20