The New York Jets and New York Giants will meet again in 2019 and ESNY’s Michael Nania has everything you need to know about the matchup.
For the first time in a long while, both the Jets and Giants have young quarterbacks at the centerpiece of their roster. Sam Darnold will be hoping to take a mega-leap in his second season, while Daniel Jones will patiently wait for his opportunity to take the keys from Eli Manning. It’s going to be exciting to watch both of these guys grow side-by-side in the same stadium.
With the first of two 2019 Jets-Giants meetings under a half-week away, our 2019 Jets opponent preview series forges onward. Let’s dig into the offseason of the Giants.
Dec. 24, 2011 (Week 16): Jets 14 @ Giants 29
Christmas Eve 2011 would go down as a major turning point for both New York franchises.
Coming off of a blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Jets were 8-6 and in need of a victory to stay in the playoff race. Their hopes of reaching the AFC Championship Game for the third straight year (and potentially advancing further) were in the balance.
The Giants were coming off of a brutal home loss to the previously 4-9 Washington Redskins, dropping them to 7-7 and a full game behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East race.
The Jets played “host” to the game. Things started off on the right foot, as the Jets took a 7-0 lead early on the strength of a touchdown pass from Mark Sanchez to Josh Baker.
Then, on one fateful third-down pass, everything flipped upside down for MetLife Stadium’s two tenants — in very much opposite directions.
It was third and 10. The Giants were on their own 1-yard line, trailing 7-0 with two minutes left in the first half and staring elimination in the face.
Then, it happened. Victor Cruz. Ninety-nine yards. Touchdown Giants. Tie game.
From that play onward, the Giants outscored the Jets 29-7 after allowing the game’s first score. The win was their first of six straight. The last of those six was Super Bowl XLVI.
The Jets would lose their next game to the Miami Dolphins and finish 8-8, snapping their two-year streak of playoff appearances and three-year streak of winning records. The Jets have still not returned to the playoffs since.
Dec. 6, 2015 (Week 13): Giants 20 @ Jets 23 (OT)
The Jets enjoyed their most recent meeting with the Giants a lot more than their Christmas Eve clash in 2011. They entered the game coming off of a season-saving win against the Dolphins, owning a 6-5 record and hanging on to Wild Card hopes.
The Giants were 5-6, but with the division sputtering, they were still squarely in the mix for the NFC East crown.
In a lot of ways, this game was a mirror image of the previous Jets-Giants meeting. It was the Giants taking over first, as they took a 20-10 lead inside of five minutes in the fourth quarter.
The turning point came before that, with just under nine minutes left in the game. Owning a 10-point lead, the Giants faced fourth and two at the Jets’ 4-yard line. Tom Coughlin faced a decision. Does he take the field goal and a two-touchdown lead, or go for the kill-shot touchdown that would put them up three scores?
Coughlin went for it all, and failed. Manning was picked off by Rontez Miles, and the Jets were back in business. They executed an 80-yard drive off of that interception, culminating in a field goal that cut the lead to seven.
The Jets would then force a three and out, and came right back to tie the game with a Ryan Fitzpatrick-to-Brandon Marshall touchdown pass with 32 seconds left.
In overtime, the Jets got it first. They executed a long drive, but had to settle for a Randy Bullock field goal.
The Giants answered back, and drove to within field goal range. Josh Brown lined up with a chance to tie and extend the game, and…came up empty.
The Jets won, winning their second of what would become a five-game winning streak. For the Giants, this loss was just another in a long line of devastatingly close defeats. They would lose three of four following the Jets loss, finishing 6-10.
Golden Tate, Wide Receiver (FA: Detroit) — The Giants parted ways with a certain stud receiver, so they needed to find creative ways to fill his shoes. Their most lucrative avenue was through veteran slot man Golden Tate. The former Lion was one of the league’s most elusive receivers during his time in Detroit, but he’ll be facing a four-game suspension to start 2019 (pending appeal).
Kevin Zeitler, Guard (Trade: Cleveland) — The Giants did get a pretty good player back in their trade with the Browns in Zeitler. He was Pro Football Focus’ sixth-ranked guard in 2018.
Jabrill Peppers, Safety (Trade: Cleveland) — The Giants were able to net New Jersey native and former first-rounder Jabrill Peppers from the Browns. Peppers’ production improved in his second season, but his playing time decreased. After playing about 94% of defensive snaps in 2017, his rookie season, Peppers only played about 65% of defensive snaps in his second season. The Michigan product seems poised to be one of the leaders in the Giants secondary this season.
Daniel Jones, Quarterback (Round 1, Pick 6) — Big Blue invested in its franchise quarterback. The selection of Jones was met with much backlash, as many insisted the Duke product wasn’t worthy of being selected as high as he was. Nevertheless, Jones is the man that general manager Dave Gettleman decided to entrust with the future of the team. Time will tell when his first regular-season opportunity will arrive.
Odell Beckham Jr., Wide Receiver (Trade: Cleveland) — Yeah, this one is kind of big. Beckham averaged 92.8 receiving yards per game throughout his career with the Giants, which currently places him behind only Julio Jones on the all-time career receiving yards per game leaderboard. In the wake of his exit, injuries have piled up at wide receiver for the Giants, and their depth chart at that position is beginning to look scary thin.
Olivier Vernon, Edge (Trade: Cleveland) — The Giants also sent their best pass rusher over to the Browns. He racked up 92 quarterback hits from 2015-18, which ranked as the seventh-most in the league over that span.
Landon Collins, Safety (FA: Washington) — Big Blue elected not to retain its stud safety, watching him walk to the division rival Redskins. Collins ranked top-ten among safeties in both passes defended and tackles for loss over his four-year career in New York.
IMPORTANT NUMBERS FOR THE GIANTS
Need to maintain: #1 in open field yards per carry
Saquon Barkley overcame a struggling offensive line to post some ridiculous numbers in his rookie season. This is best demonstrated by the fact that the Giants led the league in Football Outsiders’ “Open Field Yards Per Carry” — average yards per carry coming 10-plus yards beyond the line scrimmage — with a mark of 1.6. The gap of 0.3 between the top-ranked Giants and the second-ranked Falcons (1.3) was the larger than the gap between any two adjacent teams in the league.
Barkley was a big-play machine last season, and he will need to continue to be if the Giants are going to compete for the NFC East crown this season.
Need to improve: #30 in sack rate
The Giants collected only 30 sacks last year, registering a sack rate of 5.1% that was the worst in the NFC and better than only the Patriots and Raiders leaguewide.
Losing Olivier Vernon won’t help, but the Giants are going to need to do a better job generating some pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2019. Beyond Vernon, the Giants’ leaders in quarterback hits last season were linebackers Kareem Martin and Lorenzo Carter, with only ten apiece. That tied them for 93rd in the league.
New York’s top sack man beyond Vernon was B.J. Hill, with only 5.5, which tied him for 65th in the league.
Where is the Giants pass rush going to come from? That’s a major question they are going to have to answer this season. Could 17th overall pick Dexter Lawrence bring the boom in his rookie season?
The Giants ranked 24th in scoring defense per drive last season. Losing their best pass rusher and defensive back certainly won’t help them improve that ranking, but crazy things happen in the NFL all the time. Will someone unexpected emerge and lead the Giants defense to new heights?
Those defensive questions are among the many interesting ones facing the Giants in 2019, but at the end of the day, none are bigger than the ones surrounding Daniel Jones. Does he have franchise quarterback potential? When will he get the chance to hit the field?
Nobody knows for sure at the moment, but one thing is for sure — it would be extremely intriguing to watch him compete head-to-head with Sam Darnold.