Can the Jets or Giants Surprise this year?
Two Sleepy Teams In The City That Never Sleeps
How do you feel about surprises? I generally am not one who enjoys surprises all that much and I think it stems from the time my parents tried to throw me a surprise Sweet 16 Party and, in an effort, to keep it a secret my friends just decided that not talking to me at all was the best way to go about it. I, being 15 years old at the time and having no idea what was going on went from having a bunch of friends to seemingly none overnight. It was confusing, somewhat traumatizing and it’s exactly the thing that made me hate surprises from that day forward. In case you are wondering the party was great and all was eventually right my world again.
Lately though, if there is one thing, I can rely on it’s the fact that both the Jets and the Giants seasons are usually over by Halloween so no surprises there. Having your season end before we even get out of October is incredibly depressing for both fan bases so I have to wonder if this season will be any different. Will either of these teams surprise or are we in for more of the same this season?
Why The Jets Will Surprise
Credit to the Jets front office and scouting team for having a fantastic draft. Joe Douglas gets a lot of criticism sometimes but I think people forget the complete mess he inherited from Idzik and Maccagnan so I think it’s only fair to give Joe Douglas a little bit of credit here. The Jets also played it smart in free agency by not going for the showy superstars but by taking a measured approached to filling their needs. The Jets saved the showstopping moves for the draft which has given this team a much-needed boost of talent. I think the 2009-10 season was the last time the Jets had this much talent.
Running Backs Still Matter
In todays NFL it’s easy to forget about the good ol’ ground and pound game. We have become so accustomed to the high-powered passing attacks that it seems like the run game has become an afterthought. If you need a reminder on just how important the run game is look at the likes of Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor who literally carry their teams on their backs. Luckily, the Jets have two very talented ball carriers in Breece Hall and Michael Carter whom many expect to thrive in Mike LaFleur’s 49ers-esque offense. If the Jets can get the run game going that will take a tremendous amount of pressure off Zach Wilson and the defense.
Robert Saleh & Mike LaFleur
Robert Saleh has made it perfectly clear that he has a vision for this team and every player on it and he plans on holding everyone accountable for executing that vision on the field. Also, look for Mike LaFleur to implement a very similar offensive system like he did in San Francisco. You know, the kind of offense that turns relatively unknown guys into success stories.
Why The Jets Will Disappoint
You Play Who’s On The Schedule
You can’t control who you play all you can control is your execution of the game plan. That’s nice in theory and it’s probably a mindset that goes over pretty well in say the Chiefs locker room but unfortunately for the Jets their schedule is one of the toughest in the league. Weeks 1-9 look to be an absolute nightmare when they face the Ravens, Browns, Bengals, Steelers, Dolphins, Packers, Broncos, Patriots and Bills all before their Bye week in week 10. It gets a little easier after the Bye but the Jets will have to win all 4 games against the Bears, Jags, Lions and Seahawks along with splitting their divisional games if they want a shot at a winning record.
The Jets defense was pretty bad all-around last year and given the fact they are playing some of the best offenses in the league this season the Jets defense needs to get better sooner rather than later. I don’t have much hope for the run defense as I can see it being more of the same, but I do think the pass defense will take a step forward. The Jets pass defense was in the top 10 of the league last season and they will need to continue to improve upon that success and get to the opposing Quarterback. Let’s not forget the Jets face the Ravens Week 1 and trying to contain Lamar Jackson is a nightmare in itself.
It all starts with the Quarterback, and it doesn’t matter what team it is. Zach Wilson had an incredibly disappointing rookie season, but last year’s roster didn’t offer much help and sometimes these rookie Quarterbacks are just not game ready day 1 despite what we have all been conditioned to think. Here’s the good news for Zach Wilson though, he doesn’t need to become Pat Mahomes for the Jets to succeed he just needs to be a decent game manager and that will make a tremendous amount of difference. If Zach Wilson can reduce the picks and sacks the Jets stand a chance. Of course, there is always the possibility that Zach Wilson makes some improvements but still makes mistakes as most young Quarterbacks tend to do however the Jets are playing the AFC North and making costly mistakes against those teams is enough to cost the Jets their season.
So Will The Jets Surprise?
Will the Jets end their 11-year playoff drought? No. Will the Jets improve their win record? Yes. Granted they only won 4 games last year, so the bar is set pretty low, but I think we just need to see consistent improvement especially from teams that are in re-build mode. While it does feel like the Jets have been in re-build mode since Broadway Joe, I think this is the year they start to turn the corner. Unfortunately for the Jets their schedule alone is enough to make me question where even 4 wins will come from but if last year was rock bottom, then the Jets can only go up from here.
Realistic Win Prediction:
5 or 6 wins: to be fair if the schedule was a little more favorable, I would go at least 8 wins
Why The Giants Will Surprise
It’s Us Against The World
I swear half the battle in life is mindset and you truly do become your thoughts and actions. “If you think you can or can’t you’re right” thank you Henry Ford for that timeless quote that resonates with so many of us. Since no one expects the Giants to do much of anything this season I am sure the underdog mindset will be alive and well in the Giants locker room. That’s the beauty about underdogs, you get to watch what they do when no one gives them a chance and most of the time they succeed. I especially love when the Giants take on the underdog mentality because that’s when championships are won. I am by no means saying the 2022 team will win a championship but what I am saying is that believing in yourself, your teammates and your coach can take you pretty far sometimes.
Big Expectations for The Big Guy
To say I was elated when the Giants drafted Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal is an understatement. The Giants finally got it right and had a stellar draft this April and all eyes are on the big guy Evan Neal. The fact that the Giants actually have a legitimate right tackle is a dream come true for this team and this fan base. The Giants have been trying to fix their offensive line for almost 10 years now and I know because I watch every single painful snap of this team but that all changes this year with Evan Neal at right tackle and Andrew Thomas at left tackle. Last year I said this team should burn it all to the ground and build around Andrew Thomas and some people called that a hot take, but it doesn’t seem to be too far off from what the Giants are doing. Solidifying this offensive line will allow Saquon Barkley to have the bounce back year we all hoped he would have last season and as we all know a solid run game takes pressure off the Quarterback, keeps the defensive line honest and well you know the rest.
Go ahead, call this pick a reach because I think I did too, but the Giants drafted him for a reason and they are about to unleash this kid and all of his talent. Yes, the Giants have a seemingly endless number of wide receivers on the roster, but they don’t all have the talent that Robinson has. Throughout minicamp it has become clear that Daniel Jones and Wan’Dale have developed some nice chemistry and that’s one the biggest keys to offensive success. Wan’Dale Robinsons toughness and ability to create space on the field will help this offense tremendously.
Why The Giants Will Disappoint
The Giants secondary was a huge weakness for them last season and it’s still a glaring problem for them today. I understand the Giants had to trade James Bradberry but what I don’t understand is why he had to go to the Eagles? None the less, Bradberry’s departure has left this secondary looking weak with only Adoree Jackson as the proven corner but even Jackson can’t be counted on as he has an injury list longer than a CVS receipt. The Giants used to be deep at the safety position as well but with Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers gone its looking like tough times ahead for this secondary unless the young talent can step up.
I remember the day Saquon Barkley tore his ACL like it was yesterday. I remember it so well because I think a little piece of my heart broke that day. Just like the day Eli Manning retired. Saquon is a rare talent when healthy and the best part about watching him is that all it takes is one juke move and he’s taking it to the house for a touchdown. I sincerely hope he can get back to the player he was and with some help of this re-vamped offensive line that just may be a possibility. I have to be realistic though and assume Saquon getting back to form may take a little longer than we all thought. The run game depends on him, and I have spent a good chunk of this article explaining just how important the run game is so if the Giants can’t get anything going on the ground it’s bad news bears.
That’s it. That’s the Tweet. Can I just leave it at that? I am not sure how much explanation this really needs because it’s safe to say no one has a bigger make-it-or-break season ahead of them than Daniel Jones. The Giants did not pick up his 5-year option which tells us all we need to know on where they stand with Daniel Jones. That’s another day I remember like it was yesterday; the day the Giants drafted Daniel Jones. I remember it so vividly because I was at a work event desperately trying to leave and make it back home in time for the draft. I remember pulling into my driveway just in the nick of time, running in the door, scrambling to find the remote and finally turning the TV on. The Giants were on the clock, and I stood in my living room just watching and hoping they got this pick right. I remember when they said Daniel Jones’s name and I remember feeling perplexed, dumbfounded and straight up disappointed. Here we are a few years later and I still feel perplexed, dumbfounded and straight up disappointed.
So Will The Giants Surprise?
Yes, but I guess that depends on your expectations and definition of surprise. Will they win the Superbowl? No. Will they even sniff the playoffs? Doubtful. Will they make great strides in moving this team forward? Yes! Just like the Jet’s the Giants finished last season with 4 wins and I know a lot of Giants fans don’t want to hear this, but the Jets and Giants are more similar than you think. The Giants have the more favorable schedule of the two and where I struggled to find 4-6 wins for the Jets it’s a little easier to see where the Giants can pull out 7 or 8 wins this season.
Realistic Win Prediction:
7 or 8 wins: In a division that tends to get a little muddled with no clear-cut winner until much later in the season the Giants have the potential to upset the NFC East.
Ok #Jets & #Giants fans it's time to weigh in! Do you think either team can surprise or have I presented a realistic case of reasonable expectations? Let me know in the comments!