The New York Jets got their third win of the season two weeks ago against the Philadelphia Eagles. The defense put on a dominant performance and Zach Wilson and the Jets offense did just enough to squeak out a come from behind victory. The Jets went into their bye week on a high note. Now the Jets return home for a “road” game against the last place New York Giants.
The New York Giants are coming of their second win of the year last week, a 14 - 7 victory over the Washington Commanders. While the Giants offense has struggled all year, their defense is rounding into shape, dominating the Commanders and the Buffalo Bills in their last two games. This week’s matchup with the Jets pits two dominant defenses against two struggling offenses. The Giants’ achilles heel on defense has been their run defense, so the Jets will probably have to have a heavy dose of Breece Hall to win this game. The Giants’ strength on defense has been getting after the quarterback, as they blitz more than almost any team in the NFL. Zach Wilson will need to get rid of the ball quickly and efficiently for the Jets to have success on offense.
Previewing this matchup, Ed Valentine of Big Blue View was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding the 2023 New York Giants.
Check out the Q&A below, and be sure to check out DraftKings Sportsbook for all your betting needs this season.
1. The Giants were a playoff team last year and won a playoff game. This year they’re in last place at 2-5 and have the worst point differential in the NFL. What are the major factors behind the dropoff, and do you think the Giants can turn things around and make a run at the playoffs this year?
I think some regression from last season could have been anticipated. The Giants won more one-score games than any team in the NFL last season except for the Minnesota Vikings. Those things tend to be cyclical. I also think the Giants schedule to start the season — vs. Dallas, at San Fran, vs. Seattle, at Miami, at Buffalo in the first six weeks — has been brutal. The Giants have lost quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley and stud left tackle Andrew Thomas to injuries.
Playoffs? The Giants did have a six-game stretch last season where they went 1-4-1 and still made the playoffs, so anything is possible. That said, I think it is unlikely. They can and should play better the rest of the way, but they would have to go 7-3 the rest of the way to get to nine wins, and I don’t see that.
2. Daniel Jones had the best year of his career last year and was rewarded with a four year, $160 million contract that is structured so that the earliest the Giants might reasonably be able to get out of the deal is 2025, and even then they’d be stuck with $22 million in dead money. This year Jones is, up to now, having the worst year of his career. In his fifth year in the NFL, do you think Jones is a long term answer at quarterback for the Giants, or was the new contract a mistake?
I don’t think the contract was a mistake. You have to put it in context. Because of their record a season ago they drafted near the end of Round 1. They weren’t going to have a shot at any of the top quarterbacks in the draft w/o mortgaging a lot of draft capital, which they weren’t in position to do. There weren’t any appealing veteran options. After the way things went last year, the Giants weren’t going to let Jones walk and give the job to Tyrod Taylor. Jones was the best option they had.
The contract is really a two-year deal with no guaranteed money in Year 3 (yes, there would be a dead cap hit if they moved on). Whether you think he is worth $40 million annually or not, it is about the most team-friendly deal they could have negotiated.
The problem, of course, is things did not go well before Jones got hurt. The Barkley injury, OL injuries and some other things like game plan and wide receiver play conspired against Jones. Some things were also his fault. Still, I think he needs to play with Barkley, with a healthy offensive line, with a settled receiver group. Then, we will see if the Giants need to be in the market for a QB in the upcoming draft.
3. Each team’s fan base knows their team much better than other fans. Usually there are a few guys who your team’s fans know about and love, but other fans might not be too familiar with. Could you let Jets fans know a few unsung heroes on the Giants, if possible at least one on both offense and defense?
Offense: I’m not sure how familiar Jets fans are with him, but I think Wan’Dale Robinson is a player to watch for the Giants. A 2022 second-round pick, he tore an ACL about two-thirds of the way through last season. He missed the first two games of this season, but has been a big contributor since Week 4. He is second on the team with 23 receptions, and I think the Giants are just beginning to tap into what he can do.
Defense: Linebacker Micah McFadden is a 2022 fifth-round pick who did not play well last season and ended up buried on the depth chart. This year, he has grabbed a starting job and is playing excellent football next to Bobby Okereke. He has been a pleasant surprise.
4. If you were the head coach of a rival team, how would you go about attacking this New York Giants team on offense and on defense?
As a defense, you have to stress the Giants’ offensive line with twists, stunts and some disguised blitzes. Make them prove they can handle those things. Also, I think you want to load the box and try to discourage them from handing the ball to Saquon Barkley 20-25 times.
On offense, stress the edges with the run game. Be prepared for Wink Martindale to send the house after Zach Wilson and try to make the Giants pay when he does that. Oh, and stay away from Dexter Lawrence.
5. If you were a betting man, which team would you bet on winning this game, and why?
I picked the Giants to win. Maybe that is me being a homer, maybe it isn’t. It is not a pick I make with great conviction. I think this is a low-scoring game that turns on one or two key fourth-quarter plays.