Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Giants Will Have a Merry Christmas

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 24: Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants breaks the tackle attempt of Antonio Cromartie #31 of the New York Jets during the first half on December 24, 2011 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
By Joe DeLessio - New York Magazine 12/24/11

Secondary shuts down Jets WR's

In a week when the defense as a whole was being questioned, the Giants came through in that department on Saturday. It all started with the week of practice from the starters to the practice squad.

By Dan Salomone - 12/24/11

Giants vs. Dallas Game Moved to 8:20 p.m.

The NFL announced Saturday evening that the Week 17 Giants-Dallas Cowboys game will kick off on New Year’s night at 8:20 p.m. in MetLife Stadium.

By Michael Eisen - 12/24/11

Giants Defeat Jets, 29-14

A 19-point second half gives the Giants a 29-14 win against their hometown rival, Jets.

By Michael Eisen - 12/24/11

Jets, Giants each eye win today to keep postseason hopes alive

Jets, Giants each eye win today to keep postseason hopes alive
By Brian Costello & Paul Schwartz - NY Post 12/24/11

Vote: Key Matchups Giants vs. Jets

Vote on which player you think has the advantage this weekend in the Giants vs. Jets Key Matchups.

By Dan Salomone - 12/24/11

InReeseWeTrust: New York Giants vs. New York Jets Week 16 Game Preview

New York Giants (7-7) at New York Jets (8-6), 1 pm Eastern on Saturday, December 24th at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
By Ben Kelly - 12/24/11

What happened last week
If you watched SportsCenter or caught any sports talk this week, you might not have known the Jets even played a game last week, let alone that they caught the wrong end of a 45-19 beat down by the surging Eagles. Despite entering last week on a three-game win streak, the Jets were mugged early by a healthy Eagles squad. Rex Ryan employed his usual trash-talking tactics and successfully diverted attention away from the blowout loss in Philly and onto the king-of-the-hill matchup against the Giants, which will determine bragging rights for the next four years over who is the NFL’s best team from New Jersey. The Eagles scored three rapid-fire touchdowns off turnovers from the first three Jet drives en route to an insurmountable 21-0 first quarter lead. A scoreless third quarter for the Jets nullified a within-reach 28-13 halftime deficit and the Eagles tapped on another seventeen by the start of the fourth quarter.

The home field effect
Which team has owned MetLife Stadium this year? That would be the Jets, the proud bearers of a 6-1 home record. Meanwhile, the Giants’ uneven 3-4 home record includes three consecutive losses in the Meadowlands. The Jets left Philadelphia with their tails between their legs but will have the benefit of an invigorated Christmas Eve crowd hoping to claim the New York “big brother” title from the Giants. Buried in the Jets’ home effect is that it provides an ideal game day setting for an upset minded team like the Giants. After an embarrassing performance in front of its own home crowd last Sunday, the Giants get to play in front of a road crowd at their own stadium. Instead of hearing boos roll in for a dropped pass or a missed tackle, the screaming Jet crowd will make the Giants play better, and will motivate the Giants to silence the crowd throughout the game. The comfort of a home stadium commute for Giants players and coaches coupled with the laughable hostility of Jets fans in the Giants’ home stadium could be the right formula for the Giants to jump the Jets early. Though their 2011 road record doesn’t inspire much at only 4-3, Tom Coughlin’s teams have a knack for playing tough on the road, going right back to the 2007 Super Bowl run. The assertive win at Philadelphia in week three, the last second comebacks in Arizona, New England and Dallas and nearly another comeback in San Francisco all speak of the Giants’ resiliency in facing a road crowd. A couple early scores for the Giants could deflate the home crowd for much of the game.

That would require some early turnovers, but if I remember correctly…
Two first quarter Rex Grossman interceptions resulted in zero points for the Giants. After the interceptions the Redskins went conservative on offense and won the field position battle by scoring points from 59, 52, 41 and 9 yard drives. Whether the Giants came out flat against a 4-9 Redskins team or were flattened by the frigid conditions, the offense could not spark a drive when it counted. Against the Jets last week, the Eagles took advantage of turnovers on all three Jets opening drives and scored 21 points, forcing the game onto Mark Sanchez’ weary shoulder. The difference between the Giants loss to the Redskins and Eagles dismantling of the Jets was converting turnovers into points. There is no question the Jets will cough up turnovers; they have squandered at least two turnovers in ten of their fourteen games and rank fourth worst in the NFL overall. The Giants will win if they can successfully translate a Sanchez interception into seven points.

Look ahead no more
The Giants looked like a very bad team last week. You could even feel the game slipping away on the Giants’ second offensive series when Hakeem Nicks clanked a beauty off his facemask with the end zone in sight. Nicks lost the pass because he saw the open field ahead of him. The Giants similarly lost the game by looking ahead to the Jets matchup. As strange a loss as it was, the Giants can still plot their own path to the playoffs, if they want to. Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme will test the Giants offensively in a way they have not seen very much this year by taking away the long ball. Eli Manning’s vertical passing game will be limited in coverage by Darelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie, who thrive in defending the long ball. Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are also strong vertical threats, so expect to see some early Manning bombs to test the secondary. As long as the deep threat is there, Revis and Cromartie will be forced to play off coverage, allowing Nicks and Cruz to navigate short and medium routes. Eventually, I think you’ll see both Nicks and Cruz finish the game nearing ten catches each but both for fewer than one hundred yards. The middle of the defense should have some holes in through linebackers Bart Scott and David Harris coverage weakness. Nicks and Cruz will make their money over the middle. Anticipate a much lower yardage total than usual from Manning and for Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw to power a Giants win the way games should be won in late December. Giants win, 17-14. 

Giants must make most of opportunity

KNOW YOUR ROLE: Though Hakeem Nick and the Giants’ offense know what they’re capable of doing, it will be Jason Pierre-Paul (left) and the defense who will have to come up big against the Jets today.
KNOW YOUR ROLE: Though Hakeem Nick and the Giants’ offense know what they’re capable of doing, it will be Jason Pierre-Paul (left) and the defense who will have to come up big against the Jets today.
By Paul Schwartz - NY Post 12/24/11

Steve Serby’s Special Q&A with ... Justin Tuck

Justin Tuck
By Steve Serby - NY Post 12/24/11

Pro Football Talk