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Giants vs. Jets Week 16 NFL Pick
John J. Raspanti
The question on the mind of all New York Giant fans right now is which team will show up against the Jets this Sunday. Will it be the Giants of two weeks ago who stunned the Cowboys? Or the uninspired group who were manhandled by the lowly Redskins.
The Giants (7-7) aren’t even sure themselves. Running back Brandon Jacobs, did his best to explain his team’s pitiful effort against the Skins.
“I can't tell you why the passion wasn't there" said Jacobs. "We had prepared hard all week."
Quarterback Eli Manning had three of his passes picked off last Sunday. He also had a sure touchdown pass dropped by wide receiver Hakeem Nicks. Manning professes to have already moved on.
"You have to deal with this like other losses," he said Monday.” We’ve lost games, but we still know where we stand. We've got a big one ahead of us. Get this bad taste out of our mouth and go out and play our best football this Saturday."
Manning has completed 61 percent of his passes with 25 touchdowns. Ahmad Bradshaw and Jacobs found very little holes against the Redskin defensive line. Victor Cruz has caught 73 passes for the season. Nicks has 70 with six touchdowns. Manning will miss tight end Jake Ballard who hurt his knee last weekend. Travis Beckum (and his three catches) will likely be pushed into action if Ballard can’t go.
On the defensive side of the football, the Giants’ run defense struggled, giving up 123 yards, as the unit looked unorganized. A bright spot was defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul who recorded a astonishing 11 solo tackles.
The suddenly hot Eagles dominated the Jets (8-6) last weekend 49-15. Coach Rex Ryan, who already has told the New York press that his Jets are the best team in New York, was dumfounded by his team’s performance.
“That was about as bad as it can get. It was just a terrible performance. They scored on six or seven possessions on us at one point, and that’s just ridiculous."
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was harassed all day to the tune of two interceptions and a fumble. Sanchez has connected on 57 percent of his passes this season, with 23 of those tosses for touchdowns. Shonn Green is 59 yards away from 1,000. Wide receiver Dustin Keller has 50 catches and six touchdowns. Veteran Santonio Holmes is second on the team with 47 caught balls. Holmes, had a dreadful day against Eagles, dropping three passes and fumbling.
The Jets defensive unit is hurting without injured safety Jim Leonhard. The Eagle offense had a field day by pinpointing the weak area (the middle of the field) and exploiting it.
"It was embarrassing," linebacker David Harris said. "We didn't show up."
The defensive meltdown was a stunner considering the Jets bill themselves as a December team. Both squads are desperate after last weekend’s losses.
The Giants are on a 2-5 run, but it's important to note that in that stretch they played the Pats. 49ers, Eagles, Saints, Packers and Cowboys. That simply tells us that the Giants are a notch below the NFL's elite and that even if they were to win their way into the playoffs, the odds are against this team getting much further than one and out.
The Jets had won 3 straight prior to last week, but against weak opposition. The Jets have faltered as well when stepping up in class with two losses to the Pats and getting hammered by the Ravens.
Bottom line for New York football fans is simply that, as big of a game as this is for your teams, with all the hoopla that goes along with a New York vs. New York matchup, neither team is very good and both are very unlikely to make any noise in the playoffs.
If Mike Vick was able to exploit the Jets injured secondary, Eli Manning, in his best year ever, ought to have a field day. But that's ok Jets fans, the Giants secondary has been running around confused all year long and can't stop anyone either. Both teams figure to have plenty of opportunities.
There's simply no edge that we can come up with. It should be a great game to watch, and should come down to the last possession. With no real opinion either way, for the sake of making a selection here, we'll take any points available with what figures to be a live dog, in this case the Giants. We'd expect a solid effort from both sides after being embarrassed last week. Giants +3 -120.
Enjoy it New York fans - This is your Super Bowl - Happy Holidays!