Will Odell Beckham Jr. visit Revis Island on Sunday when Beckham and the New York Giants host the MetLife Bowl against Darrelle Revis and the New York Jets?
How the Jets attempt to control the record-breaking Giants' superstar will be one of the most interesting -- and telling -- aspects of Sunday's game. The first thing it will tell us, provided that Revis is cleared to play after missing last week's game due to a concussion, is whether or not Revis Island still even exists.
Manish Mehta, who covers the Jets for the New York Daily News, wrote this week that it "would get ugly in a hurry" for the Jets if they try to match the 30-year-old Revis with Beckham:
Revis will find a permanent place in Canton one day, but this won't be a fair fight. Beckham will threaten Flipper Anderson's 26-year-old single-game receiving record (336 yards) if the Jets are foolish enough to give him the true Revis Island treatment.
It's the ultimate mismatch.
Revis has a high football I.Q., but his film study alone won't help neutralize the younger, quicker, faster and more athletic player (with an elite quarterback). Revis simply doesn't have the change-of-direction ability to handle Beckham's short-area quickness or the athleticism and deep speed to keep pace with the Giants' wideout.
Revis is a six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro many consider the best cover corner since Deion Sanders. This season, Revis has a more than acceptable +6.7 score from Pro Football Focus and his passer rating against of 58.7 is fifth-best in the league among graded cornerbacks. Still, both Mehta and Gary Myers go into lengthy detail about the slippage in his play.
Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus seems to agree that it would be advantage Giants if the Jets try to put Beckham on Revis Island.
"His raw coverage numbers are actually relatively healthy, but he's been exposed in recent weeks against [Sammy] Watkins and [DeAndre] Hopkins on plays where poor throws have meant he's been saved from giving up stats on plays where he was beat," Monson said.
"Revis is still a good corner but he isn't what he once was, and there are more cracks in his armor than in years previous. Beckham fits the mold of younger, athletic wide receivers that Revis has been struggling with in recent weeks."
Watkins had only three catches for 14 yards against Revis, but this play hinted at the change of direction issue:
Hopkins had five catches for 118 yards against Revis and the Jets, including doing this:
There is a strong argument to be made that no receiver has ever had a better first two seasons than Beckham.
Beckham already has 163 career receptions and needs just six more to pass Marques Colston for most receptions in the first two years of a player's career. Colston, with the New Orleans Saints, established the mark in 2006-2007. Beckham is riding a streak of four straight 100-yard receiving games, and already has more than 1,000 receiving yards (1,005) for the second straight year.
Beckham's gaudy numbers include 30 catches in the Giants' last four games. Still, the Giants believe they can get even more production from their young superstar. Beckham has 22 catches in the past three games, but the Giants have targeted him 47 times. That means Eli Manning has completed just 46.8 percent of the passes he has directed toward Beckham. In the Giants' loss to Washington, Beckham caught nine passes on 18 targets.
"I think we have to complete more of them," Manning said. "He and I have to get together on that and figure out how we have to make some of those plays. It's not about forcing the ball to him, it's about giving him a shot to make some plays, but we have to figure out how to connect on more of those."
While it may seem the Giants are targeting Beckham a ridiculous percentage of the time (28 percent of Manning's passes on the season and 34.8 percent the past three weeks) don't expect that to change.
"You want the ball in the hands of the guys who can be the most productive," Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said earlier in the week.
Which translates to a lot of passes headed in Beckham's direction on Sunday. Will the Jets try to put Beckham on Revis Island, or will they try to contain him another way? How they go about defending him, and whether or not they have any success, will be one of the keys to Sunday's outcome.
[Editors Note: Be sure to check out this week's "Big Blue Chat" podcast. Click the player below to give it a listen.]