By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
The Jets enter the annual inter-city battle as the reigning Metlife Bowl Champions (the Giants are also the defending champs of something, but its probably much less significant). Even though these two teams only play each other once every four years in the regular season, this rivalry is becoming more and more visible ever since Rex Ryan put the Jets on the map. This game should have a regular season feel to it.
Expect most of the starters to play about a half. Here are some key matcups and items to look for:
Jets’ O-line vs. Giants D-line: This will be the starting offenses’ best competition before the regular season starts, as the Giants have one of, if not the best group of pass-rushers in the game. D’Brickashaw Ferguson will see a heavy dose of the ultra-talented Jason Pierre-Paul, while Wayne Hunter and Austin Howard will get a nice view of Justin Tuck.
However, what the Jets’ line really needs to focus on is their ability to pick up blitzes while blocking such talented edge rushers. The line was embarrassed against the Bengals’ blitz, and going up against the feared line of the Giants is only going to make things harder, especially since this game probably means a little bit more to the Giants’ starters than the Bengals’ starters.
Who will step up at receiver? Santonio Holmes is not expected to play, while at least gives a lot of the younger guys a chance to make plays in extra opportunities. Outside of Corey Webster, the Giants’ corners can be taken advantage of, as long as Sanchez has time to actually throw the ball.
Controlling Tight Ends and Running Backs: For all of the Jets talk that they would come out this season as a faster team that would be more suited to handle backs and tight ends, they sure did not look any faster against Cincinnati, in which Jermaine Gresham and BenJarvus Green-Ellis ate up huge chunks of yards through the air.
It does not get any easier dealing with the likes of running back Ahmad Bradshaw and the athletic Martellus Bennett at tight end. It will be interesting to see if the Jets give Demario Davis a look with the first team after Bart Scott was picked on last week.
Debut of the Wildcat? The Jets have spent a significant amount of time working on their wildcat package leading up to this game. While I would not expect the Jets to show all of their cards and use every trick they have up their sleeve to stick it to the Giants in a preseason game, it would make sense for the Jets to work out their kinks with basic read-option plays before they use it in a real game situation.
Plus, if it works, Rex has something to brag about all week long.