Who will win this year’s MetLife Bowl between the New York Jets and New York Giants? Here’s what to look for in their preseason Week 3 matchup.
Later on tonight, the New York Jets and New York Giants will play their annual preseason game at MetLife Stadium. The third game of the preseason is typically used as a dress rehearsal for the season, and the starters usually play the entirety of the first half. For the Jets, Josh McCown will likely get the start and a solid showing would all but guarantee him the starting job for Week 1.
It would not be a surprise if the first team offense remains out on the field for a portion of the third quarter to allow Christian Hackenberg another chance to work with the starters and see if he can improve upon one decent outing and one absolutely horrific one. At this point, Hackenberg needs to continue to get reps and experience leading a pro style offense so it would not be a shock if he plays well into the fourth quarter with Bryce Petty being the odd man out.
The Jets offense will be looking to find their rhythm against the Giants as they’ve struggled to generate any kind of consistency so far. In the preseason, they’ve scored just seven points in the opener against Tennessee and were shutout until the fourth quarter last week against Detr. It will not be an easy task, however, as Big Blue boasts an extremely stout first team defense with former Jet Damon Harrison leading the way along the defensive line. Janoris Jenkins and Landon Collins make the Giants secondary one of the best in the NFL so McCown will have to be extremely careful not to force too many throws.
It’s extremely important that offensive coordinator John Morton gets Bilal Powell involved and that the run game is more effective than what it has been over the course of the first two games. Some positive plays on first and second down could go a long way in Gang Green finding some confidence. McCown will certainly have an extended opportunity to work with the first teamers and his limited playing time thus far could be one of the reasons why the Jets have only been able to find the end zone once. Getting Robby Anderson involved will be important as he and McCown connected on a 53-yard play against the Titans which then led to a Charone Peake touchdown later in the drive.
A few plays like these will have the Jets feeling much better about where they stand offensively heading into the final game of the preseason. The Jets defense which has looked impressive thus far will likely face its biggest test when they take on Eli Manning and all the new weapons he has at his disposal. Of those new weapons is former Jet Brandon Marshall who will be looking to stick it to his old team after they released him back in March. Rookie tight end Evan Engram has been fit in like a glove so far, providing Manning with a matchup nightmare that he hasn’t really had since Jeremy Shockey.
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The Jets may get a break when it comes to dealing with the Giants most explosive offensive player, as Odell Beckham Jr. is unlikely to play after injuring his ankle in Monday’s matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
Listed as questionable, it’s hard to imagine the Giants will risk further injury to their best player and will almost certainly allow him to rest up for the start of the regular season.
The Jets pass rush lead by Leonard Williams should be able to win some one on one battles against a Giants offensive line that is by far one of the team’s biggest liabilities. Left tackle Ereck Flowers is coming off a major sophomore slump and the right tackle spot is currently up for grabs with rookie Adam Bisnowaty and veteran D.J. Fluker battling it out for the starting job. It will be imperative that the Jets take advantage of these weaknesses, get after the quarterback, and stop the run so they can make the Giants one dimensional. If they can succeed at doing that there’s no reason why the impressive preseason of the defense can’t continue.
On the injury front, running back Matt Forte is expected to play while outside linebacker Lorenzo Mauldin and cornerback Morris Claiborne are both doubtful. The injury to Mauldin and Claiborne means that rookie Dylan Donahue and second year pro Juston Burris will have a big opportunity to make a climb up the depth chart. While it is still the preseason, tomorrow is an important game for the Jets as a good showing against a quality opponent would big a nice step in the right direction as we move closer and closer to start of the regular season.
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