Diary of a Giants Fan: Giants-Jets Preview
Christmas Eve. It’s a night of peace, of tranquility, a night to celebrate with friends and family. But that’s the night. The day will be the same testosterone-filled, knock ’em out fight that every NFL weekend is. So come along with me as I preview the Giant-Jet Christmas Eve game, in this festive edition of Diary of a Giant Fan…See if you can spot all of the Christmas allusions.
Well my dear fellow Giant faithful, it’s Christmas time in the city. It’s the season of giving! And those of you who have been watching know that the Giants have been doing a lot of giving this year. They’re giving away games. They’re giving away divisions. They’re giving away passing yards as though they’ve got some sort of Black-Friday fire sale going on. And hell, they’re giving me agita. Last week’s total nightmare scenario against the Redskins was just the latest scene in a movie I’ve titled “The 2011 New York Giants’ Up and Down Season from Hell.” Let’s recap: They lost to the Redskins. Bad start. Beat the Eagles. Big win! Lost to the Seahawks. Awful. Beat the Bills. Clutch! Beat the Patriots. Huge! Lost four straight including a 93-6 beat down by the Saints (that’s how I remember it). Terrible. Dramatic Win against the Cowboys. Classic! Another loss to the Redskins. Sigh. Despite the especially low, low that was the G-Men’s defeat at the hands of Rex Grossman and the UFLers (still bitter, also a great band name), however, Big Blue still controls their own destiny. Two wins and they’re in.
The first of those two is going to have to come against the Jets on Christmas eve. The Jets are coming off their own horrific loss, a 45-19 pounding at the hands of the Eagles, and they’ve had their own up and down season this year. A late game win against the Cowboys, and dominations of the Bills (when they were good) and Chiefs represent the highs, while embarrassing losses to the Ravens and Broncos represent the lows. The Jets have struggled to find an identity this year – you know, other than obnoxious. The former “ground and pound” team hadn’t found success in the running game until these past few weeks. Quarterback Mark Sanchez has shown that he possesses a unique skill set which allows him to throw his team into both victory and defeat. Defensively, the team has been good, but they haven’t been the dynamic presence they have been in years past (TEBOWED!) There’s no place like home for these Jets, however, they’re 6-1 from inside Giant Stadium – I mean, MetLife Stadium.
If the Giants are to play the Grinch in the Jets’ Christmas (Side note: Can we get Cindy Lou-Who some freaking glasses? She mistakes a green monter-ish figure in a red coat for a big white fat guy. C’mon!), they’ll need to rely on…well, the same stuff we always say that they need to rely on. Ultimately, Eli Maning is going to be the one leading Kevin Gilbride’s sleigh on Saturday, we know this. But I think Gilbride will be sorely mistaken if he doesn’t allow Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs to join in the reindeer games. He has to use Bradshaw and Jacobs to soften the Jets secondary and allow the various ball-dropping Giant wide receivers to go to work. Despite the presence of Revis, I think the Giants will have success through the air – Manning has shown that he can make Ramses Barden look just as good as Hakeem Nicks. But I think without a balanced attack, the Giants offense will look like the same lifeless mess they were last week.
Defensively? Ugh. Oh what a “Holey” defense it is – it doesn’t even take stars to brightly shine against them. Look, once again I think the game will rest on the Giants’ ability to stop the run and rush the passer. The Giants’ secondary is so bad I have literally run out of analogies. I’ve spent the bulk of the week searching for the right smilie or metaphor and I’ve got nothing. Antrel Rolle and company couldn’t stop Rex Grossman and Santana Moss, why would you think that they’ll be able to shut down Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress? Baring the gun that I assume Plax carries in his pants during games going off, the Jets will throw all over the Giants. They’ll need to put Sanchez on his back to have hope. Perhaps we can start blitzing? Maybe? Please Perry? All I want for Christmas is one stinking blitz.
So who will have a holly, jolly Christmas? Well, it’s hard to say. I think the Giants have the better offense, but the Jets get the check defensively. Neither team enters the game with any sort of momentum, in fact they were both embarrassed last week. From the Giants perspective, it’s difficult to have any confidence. From the opening kick last week the Giants had absolutely zero life – a point backed up by the fact that I think this was the first game all season without a major scuffle. After watching that dumpster fire of an effort, how can you be encouraged?
Here’s how. Sadly, this is what the Giants do. When the pressure is on, they’re dynamic. When it’s off, they’re apathetic. They’ve done it all season – against the Seahawks, against the Eagles when they looked on track for a playoff spot, and last week after they’d beaten the Cowboys to give themselves the inside track to the division title. Well the pressure is most certainly on, and I expect the Giants to rise to the challenge. It’s un-Godly maddening, but it’s the Giant’s style – Play huge in big games, melt like a certain corn-cob pipe smoking, coal-eye having, happy, jolly soul of a snowman in the August sun.
The game could really go either way. The Giants defense is so bad that I could see the Jets putting up a lot of points. Eli Manning and company are certainly good enough to match that, but will the Jets defense put up too much of a fight? I’m going to say no. In all honesty, I think an objective writer would have to pick the Jets. The Giants have shown that their defense is horrid and their offense has a unique and well-honed ability to shoot themselves in the foot. But it’s Christmas. I’m holding out hope that this is the week that the Giants’ respective coordinators come to their senses. I think Fewell will bring a few blitzes and try to get Mark Sanchez to throw his team to defeat. I think Kevin Gilbride will finally trust his running backs and utilize a balanced attack. So for no real reason other than defiance I’m calling for a silent night for Jet fans, and for Giant fans to be the one’s singing Joy to the World (that one’s not exactly thinly veiled). I’ll go with 27-24 Giants.
Check back here Christmas Eve night for my recap of the game and follow me on Twitter @JoeBianchino. Go Giants!
That was ten different Christmas references by the way.