Jets And Giants Clash In Big Apple Battle
By: Michael Robinson
Friday, August 17, 2012
The New York Jets and New York Giants play their annual NFL preseason game on Saturday night and this is as close to regular season intensity as it gets.
Kickoff from shared MetLife Stadium will be at 7:00 p.m. (ET) and broadcast nationally on the NFL Network. The much-hyped Tim Tebow will be making his home debut for the Jets.
The Jets are 1-point favorites on the Don Best odds screen after opening as 2-point ‘dogs. The total has remained steady at 36½.
There is no love lost between these teams with each taking verbal shots in the media against each other the last few years. The Giants got the last laugh with a 29-14 win last December. That killed the Jets' playoff hopes and also helped propel the G-Men towards a second Super Bowl title in five years.
The Giants have won all five regular season meetings (4-0-1 ATS) dating back to 1996. The Jets have controlled the preseason matchups recently, 4-1 SU and 3-1-1 ATS over the last five years, 2-1 SU and ATS since the bombastic Rex Ryan became head coach. That could be a reason for the pointspread move.
The Jets started out their preseason last Friday with a 17-6 loss at Cincinnati as 1-point ‘dogs. All eyes were on the duo of Mark Sanchez and Tebow and while neither did much in the opener, there is no quarterback controversy with Sanchez entrenched as the starter.
The fourth-year Sanchez was just 4-of-6 for 21 yards while playing the first quarter. Tebow didn’t fare much better, 4-of-8 for 27 yards and an interception, although he did show off his scrambling ability. Former Alabama signal caller Greg McElroy is the third-stringer.
Ryan and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano have vowed to heavily feature the ‘ground and pound’ rushing attack this season. That’s going to be necessary with a very green receiving core outside of the turbulent Santonio Holmes.
Holmes (ribs, back) missed the opener and is expected out Saturday, as is Chaz Schilens (ankle), while Jeremy Kerley (hamstring) is questionable to make his season debut. Rookie Stephen Hill had two catches against Cincy and should play despite jamming a finger in practice on Tuesday.
There is also a key injury on the defensive side of the ball with nose tackle Sione Pouha (back) likely out until the regular season. However, this defense should still be a top-5 unit this year and should perform well against the Giants.
The Giants also lost their preseason opener, 32-31 at Jacksonville last Friday, but covered as 2½-point underdogs. Super Bowl hero Eli Manning played most of the first quarter (4-of-8, 60 yards) before giving way to veteran David Carr and eventually third-string Ryan Perrilloux.
Coach Tom Coughlin’s team did lead Jacksonville 24-7 right before the half, thanks to two TD passes from Carr, but had a 25-7 deficit from there.
None of the quarterbacks will likely have Hakeem Nicks on Saturday. He’s doubtful with his foot injury, leaving Victor Cruz and tight end Martellus Bennett as the two main targets. Jake Ballard and Mario Manningham are both gone from last year’s roster.
The Giants are thin at defensive tackle with Chris Canty (knee) and Shaun Rogers (calf) both out, and Marvin Austin (back) appearing doubtful. That could help the Jets run the ball and take pressure off the banged-up passing attack.