Pat Shurmur, Adam Gase
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The (2-7) New York Giants will look to end their five-game losing streak and earn NYC/NJ bragging rights when they take on the (1-7) Jets at MetLife Stadium.

Jason Leach

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—The (2-7) New York Giants will take on the (1-7) Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium for the 14th time in the regular season. The Giants own an 8-5 edge in the series.

Aside from bragging rights for the winning team’s fanbase, there isn’t much to be excited about the game. Both teams have underachieved this season and are dealing with significant injuries.

The real intrigue of this game might be the aftermath; what happens to the losing coach?


With his team riding a five-game losing streak, Pat Shurmur was asked this week if it’s challenging to keep his team motivated during this difficult stretch.

“It’s always a challenge to get going,” Shurmur said. “I think we played hard last week and we stayed in it. We just had some plays that hurt us that affected the outcome of the game. I thought the preparation today was really good. We have a bunch of guys that are fighters in there, so that doesn’t concern me.”

Shurmur knows it’s important for him and his team to pick up a win on Sunday as they head into their bye week.

1. Red zone efficiency

Inefficiency in the red zone plagued the Giants last week in their 37-18 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants were in the red zone five times last week, but found the end zone only once.

Anytime you settle for field goals instead of touchdowns, it’s a recipe for a loss. The offense must convert their red zone opportunities into touchdowns against the Jets, and conversely, the Giants defense must keep the Jets offense out of the end zone when they reach the red zone.

2. Ball security

Saying the Giants and, in particular, Daniel Jones has to do a better job of holding onto the ball is beginning to sound like a broken record. But Jones continues to do a poor job of holding onto the ball and he now leads the league in turnovers with 16.

You expect a rookie quarterback to make mistakes, but you also expect them to learn from their mistakes. Jones has yet to appear in a game in which he hasn’t turned the ball over. The Giants will need for him to break this trend Sunday, as Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams will look to force Jones into making mistakes.

3. Get Saquon Barkley going

In the three games he’s played in since returning from a high ankle sprain, Barkley has yet to have a breakout game. He’s averaging just 54.6 yards per game on the ground and has only had one game in his return where he’s had 100 all-purpose yards.

The Jets defense is depleted as they’ll be without several key starters such as linebacker C.J. Mosley. Even though the Giants’ offensive line is not at full strength, with center Jon Halapio out and right tackle Mike Remmers doubtful, the Giants need to establish the run with Barkley.

With tight end Evan Engram out as well, the Giants will look to get Barkley more involved in the passing game. Don’t be surprised if Barkley has at least 150 all-purpose yards.

4. Contain Le'Veon Bell

Much like the Giants’ offensive game plan focuses on Saquon Barkley, the Jets game plan revolves around their No. 26. Bell is the Jets leading rusher with 415 yards and is also second on the team in receptions with 40.

In their five-game losing streak, the defense is giving up 142.4 yards per game on the ground. The defense must win the battle at the line of scrimmage and contain the dual-threat Bell if they’re going to win.

5. Get pressure on Sam Darnold

The Giants’ defense failed to record a sack last week against the Cowboys, but that should change this week as they face a Cowboys offensive line that has surrendered 37 sacks this season.

Just like Jones, Darnold is turnover prone, especially when there’s pressure in his face. Former Jet Leonard Williams would love to sack his former quarterback, along with the rest of the Giants front seven that includes Markus Golden, who leads the team in sacks with five and a half. If the defense can pressure Darnold often, they’ll force turnovers and win the game.

Prediction:

These two teams are eerily similar, as they’re both trying to develop their young quarterbacks and are dealing with offensive line and secondary woes. But the Giants roster is slightly better and they’ll have the best player on the field on Sunday in Saquon Barkley. That will be enough to finally put an end to their losing streak.

Giants 23, Jets 20



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