Saquon Barkley, Le'Veon Bell
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

Despite the fact that the New York Giants and Jets have a combined record of 3-14, there are several intriguing storylines heading into Sunday. 

Jason Leach

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—Sunday’s game between the (2-7) New York Giants and (1-7) Jets at MetLife Stadium is a matchup between two of the most disappointing teams in the league. These two teams have not only disappointed their fans this season, but over the past decade as well. Remember, this is the 10th season MetLife Stadium has been in existence but has only hoisted one playoff game.

Outside of bragging rights amongst fans, there’s not much to get excited about.

But there are some storylines that are intriguing about this game that will have an impact on these two teams for weeks and, possibly, years to come.

Who is the best young quarterback in the area?

Now that the Eli Manning era is over, the question is, “Which quarterback will take over as the area’s best quarterback?” Will it be his successor with the Giants, Daniel Jones, or Sam Darnold?

Both Jones and Darnold have shown signs that they can have a successful NFL career, and they have both shown that they are turnover prone. Jones leads the league in turnovers with 16 and Darnold leads the league in red-zone interceptions with four.

The debate on which 22-year-old quarterback is better will wage on for years to come. But Sunday will give one of them the early upper hand on being the face of the area.

Which No. 26 will shine brightest?

The Giants and Jets are similar in many ways, and one of them is their offensive philosophy to get the ball in the hands of No. 26, early and often. For the Giants, that’s obviously Saquon Barkley and for the Jets, it’s Le’Veon Bell.

Both have over 600 all-purpose yards, but Barkley has been the more effective back this season, averaging 4.6 yards-per-carry compared to Bell’s 3.3 and is averaging 8.1 yards per reception to Bell’s 6.1.

With tight end Evan Engram out due to a foot sprain, the Giants will count on Barkley even more on Sunday. Whichever back has the better game on Sunday will bode well for their team’s chances of winning.

What will Leonard Williams do in his first game against his former team?

A day before the trade deadline, these two teams made a trade. The Giants sent a 2020 third-round pick and a conditional fifth-rounder for Leonard Williams. Williams spent four-and-a-half seasons with the Jets and had 240 tackles and 17 sacks.

In his first game with the Giants, Williams had three tackles and a quarterback hit. He will look to have an even bigger game this week against his old team and has given his new team valuable information that could pay huge dividends for Big Blue on Sunday.

How hot will the losing coach’s seat be?

Both Pat Shurmur and Adam Gase come into this game facing heavy scrutiny over their team’s failures. Shurmur’s seat is probably hotter than Gase since this is his second season with the Giants and his record with the team is 7-18, and the team is regressing.

The Jets have been more dysfunctional than the Jets this season, but being that Gase is only in year one with the team might be his saving grace from being shown the door.

Ownership may not admit this publicly, but being the best team in the area matters to them, and as bad as each season has gone, they can at least find some solace if their team wins on Sunday.

The losing coach on Sunday will have to answer questions on how and why they lost to an underachieving team to the media and may ultimately face an uncomfortable meeting with ownership.

Jason's first love was football while growing up in northern New Jersey. For the past three years, he has covered the New York Giants, as well as several boxing events along the East Coast.