Earlier today Steve Silverman wrote an article titled "Bottom line? Giants have legit championship hopes, and the Jets don't" for CBS Sports. The title is enough to consider it clickbait material, but I opened up the article with an open mind. Off the top of my head I don't know the intricate details of the Giants championship hopes, but I like to think I do when it comes to the Jets, so I was looking forward to reading a well reasoned article, sadly I was left disappointed.
If you don't have the time or inclination to read the CBS article, allow me to summarize the extent of the argument that Steve Silverman makes.
"The Giants have done it before with Eli Manning"
That's it. That's the extent of the entire article. While there is small merit to having been there and done it, it's by no means enough evidence to warrant such a sensationalist headline. I'm not going to downgrade the past achievements of the Giants franchise, they have two recent Super Bowl victories. Congratulations, you earned them. So don't read this as an attack on the Giants, more a question of the Silverman logic.
So let us just take a look at a few comments made in this article.
So the Jets were not even good enough to beat the Raiders or Texans. That's the 6-5 Texans, owners of a 4 game win streak and the 5-6 Oakland Raiders, who have the same record as the Giants, and who played the Broncos to within a touchdown. Nowhere in this article does it state that the Giants were not even good enough to beat the 4-7 Saints, 4-7 Eagles or the 5-6 Redskins.
They are good enough to push the New England Patriots for 60 minutes and possibly steal the game.
The Jets are not good enough to do that. They can feel good about being over .500, but they are not a championship-caliber team.
The Giants did push the Patriots...and still lost, at home. The Jets played with the Patriots for 60 minutes and lost by one score, on the road. Neither is a result to shout about, but you can't use one to promote your agenda for one team and not attribute it to the other.
The insinuation here is that the Jets don't have a Championship team (hey I'm not questioning that), but the New York Giants do? Silverman doesn't go into detail in relation to why the Giants have a championship team, oh apart from the fact they have been there and done it, despite it being a very different team.
In terms of offensive DVOA, the Jets rank 15th in the league. The Giants rank 22nd. The Jets are ranked 5th in defensive DVOA where as the Giants are ranked down there at number 27. We hear about the high powered Eli Manning offense, well that passing offense has scored 23 touchdowns, the Jets passing offense has scored 22. The Jets make up for that single touchdown by having scored 10 TD's on the ground as opposed to the 3 for the Giants.
Lets flip to the other side of the ball. The Giants give up more passing yards per game, than any other team in the league. If this is indeed a passing league, you don't win by giving up the most passing yards. Now the Jets passing defense hasn't been anything to write home about but when you pair it with the Jets run defense, the best unit in the league, you start to understand the significant advantage the Jets hold on the defensive side of the ball, with the offenses being close...I don't understand how a statement such as the one above can be made.
I'm not for one second trying to say that Eli Manning is inferior to Ryan Fitzpatrick, as he's not. However is he so much better to mask the deficiencies of the rest of the team. He has been there and done it, but when he won his first Championship in 2007 he was coming off the back of a season where he threw 23 TD's to 20 INT's while completing 56% of his passes. At that point in his career, he hadn't been there and done it. So with Ryan Fitzpatrick completing 58.5% of his passes while throwing 20 TD's to 11 INT's, it's completely illogical to use that as an argument against the Jets.
Manning has thrown for 3,021 yards while completing 63.0 percent of his passes. He has a 23-9 TD-interception ratio, and that stat would look a lot better if he had not been so generous against the Redskins last Sunday by throwing three interceptions.
Again, Manning is a great QB, I'm not questioning that. However wouldn't everyone's stat line look better if you take out their worst performances? It's like saying if you take out Ryan Fitzpatrick's games against the Eagles and Texans then his stat line would look a lot better...well that's kind of obvious. It works the other way, if you take out Fitzpatrick's game against Miami or Eli's game against New Orleans, then their stat line would look a lot worse.
The AFC has two elite, high-quality teams that the Jets won't be able to beat in a big game.
Beating either the Patriots or Bronco's would be tough for any team, AFC or NFC, but it's not impossible. The Jets proved that in 2010 by beating the Patriots in Foxborough, despite being heavy underdogs. The Giants proved it in 2007 when they defeated the Patriots in the Super Bowl. We see it year after year, if you get to the playoffs anything can and will happen. So this is pure assumption. We would be underdogs, but that doesn't mean we won't be able to beat them.
Now look at the NFC. Yes, the Carolina Panthers are undefeated and they are smacking everyone in the mouth who does not believe they are an elite team. They are a superb regular-season team, but Cam Newton is still going to have to prove it in the postseason. He has had opportunities before in the playoffs, and he has been exceedingly mediocre
I understand that this is a QB league, but you can't solely base your complete opinion in a sensationalist article on QB's. Cam Newton is playing at a completely different level this year than he has previously. However he has had a couple of struggles in the post season. So lets take a look at a couple of players right here, and we'll look at their first two years of play-off football, as that's all we have to go on for Cam Newton.
Player A: 61.3% completion, 5 TD's, 5 INT's. 126 rushing yards
Player B: 57.5% completion, 2 TD's, 4 INT's, 4 yards rushing.
It's not hard to see which stat line belongs to which player. Cam Newton is player A and Eli Manning is player B. Eli has obviously proven since that date that he is a good post-season player, but going into the play-offs in 2007, people were saying the same thing about Eli. This isn't the point, it's merely intended to highlight that having previous struggles does not necessarily mean you'll continue to have struggles.
Now Cam has largely had to put that team on his back. For example the 2014 Panthers defense allowed 23.4 points per game (21st best in the league), in 2015 the Panthers are allowing 18.6 pointers per game (2nd best in the league). Cam is going to the play-offs with a dominant defense, he doesn't need to win it on his own. Which is why the Panthers are far more dangerous this year than they ever have been.
The most dangerous teams currently in the NFC playoff picture are the No. 5-seeded Packers and the sixth-seeded Seahawks. Neither team is as good as it has been in the past couple of seasons.Aaron Rodgers does not have the array of big-play receivers that he needs to take advantage of his accuracy and playmaking ability, while the Seattle defense has lost much of its bite.
Apparently the undefeated Panthers or the 9-3 Cardinals are not the ones to fear, it's the Packers and Seahawks. No statistics back that up at all, but the statement is made that neither is as good as it has been the past couple of seasons. It doesn't matter then that Aaron Rodgers has shown he can win it all, or Russell Wilson has shown that he can win it all, but the fact Eli has shown he can win it all, that means something...in fact it's the whole basis of this article.
It obviously doesn't matter that the Seahawks have a superior defense to the Giants, or the Packers still have a superior offense to the Giants. Don't let facts get in the way of a good story.
The Jets don't have a chance because they can't beat the Brock Osweiler led Broncos or the severely injury ridden Patriots?...but the Giants do because all that stands in their way is a team coming off back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, an undefeated team, and a team led by one of the finest QB's of our generation.
Under the right circumstances, the Giants will come back and win the NFC East. If they do, they have the talent and ability to win the NFC title. If they could manage that, they have already proven they are good enough to push the New England Patriots for 60 minutes and possibly steal the game.
You can basically say this for any team that is not mathematically eliminated. If everything goes right and if the team can win they can get to the play-offs where anything can happen. Absolutely, it could be the Giants, could be the Seahawks, could be the Texans and it could be the Jets. The Giants have no more "talent" on their roster than any of those teams.
Again this article is not to belittle the Giants. I appreciate their history, their success and some of the better players they have on their roster, I hope Giants fans read this article in the manner it was intended...and that was to offer a counterpoint to an article that I found to be lacking in depth, research and logic.
The bottom line? The Giants could win the Super Bowl. But they have no more of a chance than the Jets do, and the standings and current performance prove that.