Offense: Statistically, Eli is a better QB than Mark Sanchez, especially in the fourth quarter. In fact, the only time Sanchez and Manning are statistically even is when the game is tied. Quite simply, Manning needs to play well, and be able to account for the blitzes and disguised defenses that Rex Ryan will throw at him. The Eagles didn’t seem to have any problems last week, but this game is different. The Jets may have been looking ahead. With Jim Leonhard out, the Jets defense in the middle of the field has been suspect. If the G-Men had a healthy tight end, this would be an advantage that they could exploit. If Travis Beckum is healthy, this may help. The Giants wide receivers are good. Both Cruz and Nicks have the chance to beat Amani Toomer’s yardage record. They might have done it already if they could have remembered how to catch the ball. They will be matched against the Jets’ strength. Revis and Cromartie present different challenges, but they both have the ability to shut down the wideouts. Teams have been more successful challenging Cromartie, but the Giants must attack Revis to at least keep him honest.
The Giants get Baas back at center. This is a plus and a minus. Boothe was a better run blocker (the Giants rushing game improved with Boothe and Petrus in the lineup), but Baas is a better pass blocker. The Giants should attempt to run the ball, as the Jets D-Line appears to be their weak link.
Defense: The Giants must get to Sanchez early. He has a tendency to get rattled if pressure can be applied at the start of the game. The Giants best lineman, JPP, will be matched against D’Brickashaw Ferguson, maybe the Jets’ best lineman (Mangold is the other one, in case you needed to be told). The Giants may look to move JPP against the right tackle, Wayne Hunter, who doesn’t appear as capable as Ferguson. If JPP looks like he’s about to have a career game, the Jets will give help where needed. The Giants should blitz more, but with Perry Fewell’s style of defense that may not happen. The Giants’ defensive style doesn’t look like it has an ability to shift styles to take advantage of their strengths. The Jets aren’t a downfield passing team. While they have talented wideouts, the Jets’ best receiver is their tight end, Dustin Keller. Plaxico is probably salivating at the thought of ripping into his old team and getting even, while Santonio Holmes is known to have issues. Corey Webster will likely be matched against Burress, and he seems to do well against the more physical wideouts. If the Jets stick to their style, The G-Men might play some man to man, and the Giants could benefit. Just the same, if it comes down to the Giants’ secondary having to be the difference, it will get ugly.
Bottom Line: QB edge to the Giants. Wideouts to the Giants. TE to the Jets, and the running game’s about even. So’s the OL, The Giants’ DL is better, but the Jets have the edge in LB’s and the secondary. Special teams are about even. Coaching…Coach Coughlin has been rather reticent, as is his nature, while Rex Ryan has lived up to his rather…extroverted personality. This game has the chance to be a blowout for either side. Just the same, The Jets look like they’re playing with fire, and the Giants look tired and scared. I give the emotional advanatge to the Jets. As much as I’d like to see the Giants win (oh, baby, would that be sweet) I think the Jets get braggin’ rights, 31-27. I hope to be wrong. Merry Christmas, everyone!