Keidel: Jets Seem To Have All The Momentum Over Giants

Jason Keidel
August 02, 2019 - 3:53 pm

Since the Yanks and Giants shared a ballpark during a golden era for both teams, many locals are fans of both. Likewise, the Jets and Mets shared Shea Stadium during an enchanted time for each. 

The biggest difference between each pair of sports clubs is the former is considered cultural royalty while the latter has been banished as the respective little brother. 

While no one expects the Mets to leapfrog the Yanks locally or nationally as the baseball club of record, the Jets have a rare chance to steal the bold ink from the Giants. The Jets can muscle to the sports page from Page Six with a fresh crop of talent snagged during the offseason, while the Giants seem bereft of big-time players. The Jets have their franchise quarterback, Sam Darnold, while the Giants bewildered the world by drafting Duke QB Daniel Jones, even as their GM still thinks Eli Manning has three good years left in his aging arm. 

Joe Douglas

It's the Jets who snagged C.J. Mosley and drafted arguably the most gifted player in college (Quinnen Williams), while Big Blue had to explain their scalp-scratching fondness for Daniel, whom no one of note had him as a top-ten draft pick. It's the Jets who got Le'Veon Bell to help their QB while the Giants are watching their wide receivers drop like beads of summer sweat from a linebacker's chin. The Jets have a bedrock Pro Bowl player in safety Jamal Adams, while the Giants booted theirs when they let safety Landon Collins walk to Washington. 

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The Jets jettisoned the inflexible, defense-first Todd Bowles and replaced him with Adam Gase, who's fluent in offense, while the Giants fired the 3-13 Ben McAdoo and replaced him with a 5-11 Pat Shurmur. 

Bleacher Report ran an extensive post-draft report on all 32 NFL defenses, in which the Giants ranked No. 28, while the Jets were way more robust at No. 14. Likewise, Bleacher Report did an equally thorough examination of every NFL offense, in which the G-Men are 27th out of 32 teams, while the Jets are in the adjacent zip code, at No. 24. 

One of the few places the Jets ranked below the Giants was at offensive line, which Pro Football Focus ranked 28th and 18th, respectively. But on defensive line, PFF ranked the Jets as the most-improved pass rush in the league. As a unit, the Jets' rush defense ranked third in the entire NFL, while the Giants placed 21st. 

Gang Green is considered a sleeper pick to reach the playoffs, while Big Blue is dismissed as a team in the bowels of rebuilding. While the Jets are always toiling in the shadow cast by Tom Brady and the Patriots, the Giants are well below the loathed Cowboys and resurgent Eagles. 

None of these numbers will count unless they are fortified on the field. But there's something to be said for excitement and direction. After an ugly power play, the Jets finally got an adult at GM, stealing Joe Douglas from Philadelphia. In the other locker room, Dave Gettleman is still waxing romantic about Eli, as though he were approaching age 30, not age 40. Gettleman loves his ham-handed pressers, reminding us of the myriad championship teams he helped to craft (though he was not the GM of any of them). 

Starting through the prism of history, the Giants check all the boxes. They have been to five Super Bowls since 1986, winning four. The Jets haven't sniffed a Super Bowl since man landed on the moon. So it has been 50 years since Joe Namath flexed his forefinger as he trotted out of the Orange Bowl. And perhaps it took just as long to find his successor under center. 

It will take more than hype to help the Jets hurdle the Giants as the best club in the Meadowlands. But it seems the momentum goes to Gang Green. In the ADD-addled age of social media, the present is soaring over the past. This is the perfect window through which the Jets can flex their new muscles, and prove they no longer play in Giants Stadium, or forever shrink in Big Blue's shadow. 

Twitter: @JasonKeidel