It is tempting to pick a tie in this one, but I think the Jets are going to win the battle of the bad here. Sam Darnold connects with Chris Herndon for a last-minute touchdown and a Jets win.
Jets 27, Giants 24
Neither team knows how to win. It could come down to which side is sicker of losing. As long as Daniel Jones holds onto the ball the Giants should find a way, especially if he gets it to Saquon Barkley early and often and especially in the passing game.
Giants 24, Jets 19
Jets QB Sam Darnold vs. Giants QB Daniel Jones
OK, so these two technically are not matching up with each other, but these two will be the biggest topic of discussion after this game outside of the coaches.
The Giants passed on Darnold in the 2018 draft, taking Saquon Barkley instead. The Jets took him a pick later, hoping they landed their franchise quarterback. He’s had his moments, but has struggled of late, throwing eight interceptions in his past three games. Darnold said he is not interested in proving the Giants wrong.
“That is not how I am wired,” Darnold said. “I am just going to go out there and try to play ball, try to play good football, watch tape and go out there and just try to execute. Like I said, we need a win, so anyway we can get it, I am just going to go out there and just try to do that.”
The Giants grabbed Jones with the No. 6 pick this year and drew criticism. Jones has had typical rookie growing pains but also has shown enough promise to give Giants fans hope.
This will be a fascinating game for both QBs.
Big cat strikes back: The Giants and Jets completed their first trade two weeks ago when the Jets shipped defensive lineman Leonard Williams across town for a couple of draft picks. Williams’ second game in blue and red will come against his old mates in green and white.
Williams was consistently criticized for not getting enough sacks when he was a Jet. He has yet to record a sack this season. He was never able to hit Sam Darnold in Jets practice, but now gets his crack at his former QB.
“That’s funny because I randomly thought in my head: What if I beat somebody and go to tackle Sam and I let up because I can’t hit him?” Williams said with a laugh. “But no, that won’t happen, though. I’ll finally get to tackle him. That’s going to be fun. It’s going to be great.”
Secondary issues: Both teams enter this game with concerns in the secondary. The Jets are missing their top two cornerbacks after Trumaine Johnson was placed on injured reserve this week and Darryl Roberts suffered a calf strain in practice. That leaves them with Nate Hairston, Brian Poole and Arthur Maulet as their top corners.
On the other side, the Giants rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker is going through some of his own issues opposite Janoris Jenkins. Baker will likely be targeted by the Jets until he proves he can hold his own. The Jets and Giants rank 24th and 25th in pass defense, respectively, giving both quarterbacks a chance to put up some numbers.
Stopping Saquon: The Jets have spent the week talking about how to keep Saquon Barkley from killing them, both running the ball and catching it out of the backfield. The Jets are playing their sixth and seventh inside linebackers, so you can bet the Giants will try to get Barkley in space against them.
Barkley still looks like he is feeling the effects from the high ankle sprain that caused him to miss three games. He had just 28 rushing yards last week against the Cowboys, but showed some burst on a 65-yard reception in the game.
Renewed rivalry: The rivalry between the two local football teams is a strange one since they only play once every four years. It is not like Mets-Yankees or Rangers-Islanders. The truth is the players are friendly with each other and don’t view this game as a bigger deal than others. It is more about the fan bases and the ownership groups. Neither team’s owner wants to lose to its co-tenant.
The Giants lead the all-time series 8-5. The Jets won the last meeting in 2015 in overtime after losing five straight to Big Blue.
— Paul Schwartz contributed to this report