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Several years ago, when Herm Edwards led a Vinny Testaverde-helmed Jets squad to the playoffs, the New York Post ran a story about the Jets adopting Shrek as their unofficial mascot, thanks to their propensity to ‘win ugly.’ A lot of teammates, including a still-in-his-prime Curtis Martin and a non-concussion-ravaged Wayne Chrebet, took on the moniker as a badge of pride – a win is a win, was the company line.
But in the NFL, all wins are not created equal. Flash forward to 2011, Week 6, as the Giants and Jets both win big games that did not look big at the beginning of the season. The Giants let the Bills offense run wild on them and managed to make less mistakes en route to a win. The Jets allowed Darrelle Revis to play offense and defense in a romp over the Dolphins, which masked their total inability to do much of anything against a seriously bad team at home.
Now the Giants head into their bye week with what will look like a satisfying win, and the Jets end a three-game skid with San Diego coming to town. Does momentum carry over from a win, even if it’s ugly? Are all wins created equal?
Let’s hope so.
Jets first, since they’re actually playing this week. San Diego is a good team, possibly a great team, coming off their bye with an explosive offense and a fairly solid D as well. They have not put together their best effort yet this year, and I have a bad feeling it will come this week at MetLife Stadium. Revis will have his hands full with Vincent Jackson, the best WR he has faced so far this year, and the two headed rushing tandem of Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert should have monster days against a defense that is ranked 28 against the run. Let’s not pile on the Jets D – the Giants are just a little bit better at 25th-worst against the run.
Meanwhile, San Diego is ranked second against the pass, albeit in one less game than many of the other teams in the league and having faced only one decent QB so far this year in Tom Brady. A struggling Mark Sanchez will be challenged by a team that has had two weeks off to prepare for his aerial shenanigans.
A Jets run game that has not broken out in weeks will not be helpful unless Shonn Green finally goes wild and LaDanian Tomlinson steps up his game against his former team. For that matter, let’s hope Antonio Cromartie is motivated too, because Phil Rivers is still one of the best QBs in the league and Revis can’t do it all himself, in spite of Monday’s heroic performance. Meanwhile, the Chargers will be motivated given they are only a half game ahead of the surprising Oakland Raiders, who just upgraded from The Mediocre Jason Campbell to the Moderately Competent Carson Palmer.
The Giants did the Jets a solid this week, beating the tied-for-first Bills in a game that featured a ridiculous amount of Fred Jackson but a middling performance from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Ahmad Bradshaw had a good game, inflated by his three touchdowns but featuring several nifty runs. Eli threw for good yardage but had several touchdowns taken back, including a surefire catch by Mario Manningham and an agonizing stretch by breakout TE Jake Ballard.
On the other side of the ball, the Giants sacked The Crimson QB three times and Corey Webster had two terrific INTs, but the D still managed to give up tons of yards and points, continuing the trend of gaudy counting stats and ugly yardage numbers. The Giants defense seems to be employing the “Bend, Often Break”, and “Hope For The Best” tactic, where they give up several huge plays per game and then hope their offense can stick it out at the end.
The Giants offense has all the pieces in place to be dominant, and the defense is a few key injuries away from fielding a near-healthy squad, but they still have not put together a real beatdown yet. I have a feeling the Miami game is when it will all come together. Hopefully during the bye week Mario Manningham will have a serious conversation with his hands, Justin Tuck will figure out his neck, Brandon Jacobs will figure out his whatever-is-wrong and the Giants can field a better team for the rest of the season.
First place in the division is a great way to enter the bye, but with two ugly losses marring that 4-2 record and a nightmare slate of games for the rest of the year, this may be the last time they feel good. If ugly wins mean less than regular wins, then ugly losses are even worse. Enjoy that break, boys. The real season starts next week.