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Betting Line Favors Manning and Giants over Sanchez and Jets

8/29/09

Another preseason game and another loss for the New York Jets. Albeit by a narrow margin, the Jets were unable to conquer the Baltimore Ravens on the road. Should this bother you if you are considering wagering on tonight’s game? Not in the slightest. Their cross town foes in this game, the New York Giants, have been equally bad.

The Giants were victorious in their first game of the year over the Carolina Panthers, a team that is expected by many to miss the playoffs this year. Things didn’t go as well when they were sent on the road to play the Chicago Bears, as they lost 17-3. The offense was poor, gaining only 259 total yards. The defense couldn’t stop Cutler, and gave up a total of 372 yards.

While the Jets are 0-2 this preseason, both losses were by a narrow margin. They lost to the Ravens by a single point and prior to that fell a field goal short of downing the Rams. It would surprise no one to learn that they weren’t “trying” per se in those games. I expect that to change here. Look for them to come out in full force this time as Coach Rex Ryan gets a better feel for the team and they get a better grip on him.

There are no injuries to report for the Jets. Jay Alford (DT) is questionable for the Giants because of a sprained ankle. You can expect the Giants to err on the side of caution because this is a preseason game. Chris Canty (DE) is having problems with a bad hamstring. He hasn’t practiced all week and is questionable for the game. Mario Manningham (WR) is probable after a slight injury sustained during the Chicago game. Aaron Ross (CB) is likely to play despite a slight hamstring injury.

USC star Mark Sanchez was named the full time starter for the Jets by Coach Rex Ryan earlier this week. I expect him, along with most of the other starters, to get more reps in this game as he prepares for his first season in the NFL. The Giants defense is very strong and will give Sanchez a good idea what the regular season is going to be like. He has a good offensive line protecting him, and a valuable receiver in Cotchery. Sanchez also has a reliable runner in RB Thomas Jones.

Eli Manning has looked sharp for the Giants thus far, and should be even better against the lackluster Jets defense. He will be getting plenty of playing time here. It should be interesting to see how he does without a star receiver (Plaxico Burress), but we probably won’t know the answer to that question until later in the year. Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward can be expected to have more than a few carries in this event. Both of those runners had over 1,000 yards last year.

The line currently has the Giants favored -3.5, and the O/U at 36. While the Jets are winless, it's the Giants that would seem to have more of a "need to win" here. To quote coach Coughlin, "I think that goes without saying," Tom Coughlin said of the natural desire to take the frustrations of the Bears game out on the Jets. "When you don't play well, then you make it very important to see improvement next week. That goes with the territory. If you have vivid illustrations of areas that need improvement, then that's where you need to go."

With that in mind, considering that the starters should play into the 2nd half this week, we have to lay the number here and go with the Giants. A play on the Giants in the 1at half may not be a bad idea either. It comes down to Eli Manning over Mark Sanchez. Sanchez figures to have some struggling to do as a rookie starting QB and this will be his first, real, extended test against a real NFL defense. We have no opinion on the total in this game but watch the weather. As of Friday they are calling for lots of rain. Should be a sloppy game.

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