The battle for MetLife is back. The Giants and Jets are getting set to face off for the first time in four years today. It's always a fun time no matter how good or bad - although its been mostly bad from both sides for the better part of over 10 seasons now - each team is when they face off. Kickoff is slated for 1pm from MetLife Stadium. The Giants are a three point underdog.
Tyrod Taylor to start
T-Boneeeee! (That's my unofficial nickname for Tyrod, I hope it sticks). He's back for one more.
Daniel Jones has been ruled out for the third straight week and that means Tyrod Taylor will be starting under center for the Giants once again. Taylor has proven efficient and helped lead the Giants to their second win of the season last week which also ended a four game losing streak. He was crisp with his passing and racked up a decent stat line:
18/29 completions through the air
9.6 AVG yards per attempt
279 yards passing
116.9 QB rating
Although most of those stats were tallied in the first half, and the Giants visibly struggled to muster any yardage in the second half, Taylor showed that he is capable of controlling a game and finds ways to put his team in a position to win. Jalin Hyatt and Darren Waller were his two main recipients - for good reason - and expect them to continue to get a lion's share of targets.
Don't be fooled, however, Daniel Jones is still the guy. When speaking with the media this week, Brian Daboll reiterated that Jones is still the starting quarterback and will be under center once he is cleared for contact and ready to get back on the field.
Giants young receivers vs elite Jets secondary
Jalin Hyatt and Wan'Dale Robinson are finally coming into their own. The Giants' coaching staff has visibly tried to get them involved over the last few weeks. The season started with guys like Isaiah Hodgins and Parris Campbell getting the bulk of starting receiver snaps, however, things have changed. They unfortunately did not show enough to provide the coaching staff with confidence to keep running them out there, so adjustments were made and Hyatt and Robinson are now penciled in with the first team.
While Hyatt and Robinson are the future of the Giants wide receiving corps, the Jets themselves have a defense that has been lauded as one of the best in the league over the past two seasons. The secondary has been the backbone to their strong defensive play. Sauce Gardner is in his second year as a pro and is coming off a historic rookie season that ended with him being awarded defensive rookie of the year honors. On the other side of Sauce is D.J. Reed who is in his sixth year as a pro and is in his second season with the Jets. He was a massive piece for them in 2022 as he tallied 12 pass deflections, one INT and 80 total tackles. In 2023 so far, he has only played four games but has tallied 28 tackles. He'll be looking to add to that massive stat line this week. Jordan Whitehead spent four seasons with the Bucs - he picked up a Super Bowl ring in 2021 - and came over to the Jets before the 2022 season. He had a career year in 2022, posting 8 pass deflections, two INTs and 89 total tackles. In 2023 so far, he has six pass deflections, three INTs and 31 total tackles in six games played.
So yeah, the Jets have a flurry of playmakers in their secondary. They are known to put the clamps on opposing offenses and their defense has given up more than 23 points only once this year, with that one time coming in a loss at Dallas in week 2 where Zach Wilson was making his first start of the season. They have held the Bills and Eagles to 16 and 14 points, respectively, and are consistently leaned on as the strength of their team.
This will be a real test for Hyatt and Robinson and it should be interesting to see how Mike Kafka and Brian Daboll approach the passing game. They most likely will be more than confident in Tyrod Taylor's abilities after the last two weeks so I wouldn't be surprised if they take some shots.
License plate guy vs Fireman Ed
This is a fun in game rivalry that I couldn't overlook. The two unofficial mascots of the Giants and Jets, License plate guy (LPG for short) and Fireman Ed will be out in full force during the battle for in-state bragging rights this afternoon.
LPG is a great follow on X, and is always spreading good vibes across Giants land. Every time I'm on there, I see him raffling off jerseys, giving away tickets and just interacting in a fun and passionate way with Giants faithful. He is at every game, home or away, and holds a strong bond with the Giants and the players on the team. Here's a fun post from this morning from the MetLife Stadium parking lot:
I have a ton of respect for Fireman Ed too. He is more active on Instagram and is the ultimate Jets fan. He is the conductor of the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS! chant that rings loudly throughout MetLife Stadium during Jets home games. The below post is a really cool history of the J-E-T-S chant and how Ed, his brother, and a few other fans became the stewards of the chant. Ed has been a season ticket holder since the '70s and its really cool to see stuff like this profiled because the fans are such an important aspect of the game.
They need to bless fans with a collab this afternoon. Wouldn't it be awesome for them to put their fandom aside for a moment and snap a picture with one another? That might break social media for Giants and Jets fans. If that happens, I picture it to go somewhat like this:
One thing that I didn't note above was the Giants defense. I wanted to have a little fun with this write up so I snuck in the LPG vs Fireman Ed debate over a look into a defense that seems to be finding their groove at the right time. I'm a stickler for strong defensive play - that transcends across all sports - and the saying is true that defense wins ball games. That was true for the Giants last week when they held the Commanders to seven points, tallied six sacks, and held them to 1-15 on third down. If the Giants defense plays well, they should win this game.
The Jets have fared better of late, winning their last two and are coming off of a bye last week. They'll be well rested and ready to compete. Breece Hall will be the difference maker for them if they want to pull out a win.
This game is a toss up for me and can go either way. We will see how both teams hold up on a rainy day at MetLife. Go Giants!