They share a stadium and a city, but we don’t know the New York Jets like we do the New York Giants. Let’s see what we can learn in this week’s ‘5 questions’ segment. MacGregor Wells of SB Nation’s Gang Green Nation answers our queries.
Ed: I know Jets fans want to be optimistic, but are you buying the idea that it is realistic for Aaron Rodgers to return late this season? He’s 40 years old and a return in that timeframe has never been done before?
MW: I can’t speak for all Jets fans, but personally I never believed the hype of Aaron Rodgers doing what nobody has ever done before in terms of getting back on the field in less than five months. I didn’t believe it when the possibility was first raised, and I don’t believe it now. However, I’m certainly not a medical expert, medical technology is always advancing, and somebody has to be the first to do anything, so I acknowledge I may be wrong about this. But I’ll believe it when I see it.
Ed: Put aside current records, if you can. Which organization is on better footing for the future? The Jets with Joe Douglas/Robert Saleh and some combo of Rodgers/Zach Wilson? The Giants with Joe Schoen, Brian Daboll and Daniel Jones?
MW: I think the Jets are probably on better footing for the future. I think the 2022 draft, with offensive and defensive rookies of the year, plus Breece Hall and a few other guys who look like they’ll be long term contributors, was a once in a lifetime thing for the Jets, and that talent will serve them well going forward. I am skeptical about both teams’ quarterbacks, but at least the Jets have the advantage of not having committed anything to Zach Wilson going forward. They can move on immediately if they don’t think he’s the answer. The Giants probably can’t move on from Daniel Jones until 2025 at the earliest. I don’t really have any strong preferences for either teams’ coaching staffs and GMs. I think neither team has anything special for head coach or GM. Bottom line for me is, which team has the better young talent? For me, with Garrett Wilson, Breece Hall, Sauce Gardner, Bryce Huff, Quinnen Williams, and a few others, the Jets have a bit of an advantage in young talent. But that’s admittedly biased. I’m a Jets fan. I’m more familiar with the Jets than the Giants’ young talent. I’m sure a case can be made by Giants fans as to why the Giants have the better young talent, starting with Andrew Thomas, John Michael Schmitz, Saquon Barkley, Jalin Hyatt and Kayvon Thibodeaux. It will be interesting to see how the two teams develop over the next few years.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants’ roster and put him into the Jets starting lineup, who would it be? Why?
MW: The Jets biggest needs are quarterback (after Aaron Rodgers rides off into the sunset), offensive tackle and a second stud at wide receiver. I’m not enamored with the Giants’ quarterbacks or wide receivers, so the answer has to be Andrew Thomas for me. A young stud left tackle would be an enormously important upgrade for the Jets going forward.
Ed: Is there an Achilles heel on this vaunted Jets’ defense? Something the Giants can attack and expect to have some success?
MW: The best way to attack the Jets defense is to isolate tight ends and running backs on the Jets’ safeties, who are not particularly good in coverage. The Jets cornerbacks generally do well in shutting down opposing wide receivers, but the Jets can be, and often are, hurt by their safeties in coverage. With Darren Waller and Saquon Barkley, the Giants seem well equipped to exploit this weakness in the Jets defense.
The Jets have also not been all that effective stopping the run. So Saquon Barkley could be in for a big day on Sunday.
Ed: The Jets are favored, per DraftKings Sportsbook. I see this as a toss-up game that could turn on a big play or big mistake in the fourth quarter. How do you see it, and are you predicting a Jet victory?
MW: I think the Jets have earned their status as favorites going into this game. The Jets have the better record, by far the better point differential, and in my opinion the better defense. Both offenses have a stud running back. The Jets have a stud wide receiver in Garrett Wilson, the Giants have a stud tight end in Darren Waller. Both offensive lines have struggled. The Giants have the better quarterback, but Zach Wilson has been improved of late. I agree this will probably be a close game, with a turnover or a broken coverage probably making the difference. I think the Jets better defense should carry the day, but I can’t ignore the possibility that the Giants’ blitzes will be the undoing of Zach Wilson, who doesn’t exactly have a track record of thriving on pressure. I’ll predict a Jets win, but with a fairly low level of confidence. A Giants win would not be at all shocking.