This will be 50th preseason meeting between the Jets – Giants since 1969. The game is now called the MetLife Bowl, the annual battle between the co-owners of MetLife Stadium, with the Jets leading the series, 25-23-1. Last year the Giants defeated the Jets, 32-31.
This year’s game has special importance because the two teams were interdependent upon one another in this year’s NFL Draft, where the Giants selected second overall and the Jets third overall.
The Jets initially were to select sixth overall, but general manager Mike Maccagnan made a bold move and traded a package of picks to the Indianapolis Colts (No. 6 overall pick, two second-round picks — No. 37 and No. 49 overall — and a 2019 2nd round pick) to assure them the best chance to finally land a franchise quarterback.
Now, I wonder if Maccagnan made this trade to move up because he actually had another player in mind (like a Saquon Barley who the Giants drafted or another player) thinking that he had no chance to draft Sam Darnold (who the Jets drafted). I haven’t seen this mentioned at all and I just wanted to just throw it out there as food for thought.
Barkley strained his hamstring and probably won’t play in Friday’s contest against the Jets. Giants’ fans and Jets fans alike would have loved to see him play for various reasons since it is considered the most important preseason game. Darnold, although head coach Todd Bowles artfully dodges the questions, is likely to be the Jets’ starting quarterback come the season opener. Although, others may think to start Teddy Bridgewater since he had a good camp, he’s still young and experienced all at the same time.
“I knew he was smart, everybody learns differently,” said Bowles. “You don’t know until you get in and throw the playbook at him and see what they can comprehend and what they can’t. He’s done a great job of remembering everything and playing with poise and control. I’m happy with where he is.” Maccagnan says he’s unflappable which really says a lot.
Bowles has to be happy right now with his quarterback situation.
Safety Jamal Adams, who was the Jets’ top pick in last year’s draft and whose father, George, was the Giants’ first round pick in 1985, says the game has extra incentive, but that it’s really ‘just another game.’
“It’s not about the Giants, it’s about us,” Adams said via the Jets official website. “We’re not out there to show anybody or prove anything. We just want to be consistent in our job, as a group. So long as the Jets come out there and play fundamentally sound, look at the right things as far as our eye keys, and just be disciplined and not have penalties, we’ll be fine.” This should primarily be the mentality for the Giants too but the media dramatically builds this game up. Like, all the talk of which team from the New York area will have a better season. It shouldn’t be like that at all since it’s just a preseason game.
The Giants will likely be led by quarterback Eli Manning, who is playing in his 15th preseason game against the Jets. He did not play in last week’s victory in Detroit.
“[Head coach Pat Shurmur] kind of told me early on I probably wouldn’t play,” said Manning. “So, I knew I had to get the most out of the practices with Detroit, which I thought we got some good work. I always want to be out there and play, but I understand it. I look forward to this week getting out there.”
The Giants will also be giving their backups, Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta, plenty of snaps in the game as they are in a heated battle for depth chart placement.
By the sound of all this quarterback talk from both teams, the Giants may regret they didn’t take Darnold. This still has to play out and that may take a full season.
As for wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., his status is still up in the air. With the team taking extreme caution with him and his surgically-repaired ankle, he’s been getting the kid glove treatment.
“We’ll see,” Shurmur said when asked if Beckham will make his 2018 debut against Gang Green. “You knew I was going to give you a real short answer on that one.”