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If the Giants and Jets both miss the playoffs this year – and it is looking increasingly as if they will – look no further than Week 11 for the reason. The Jets were Tebow’d out of a shot at the AFC East title and will have to all but win out if they want a chance. The Giants allowed Vince Young to move to 3-0 lifetime against them, which is maddening. Both teams had chances to put their respective opponents away, both teams squandered them, and by virtue of the Patriots and Cowboys winning this weekend, it is not looking bright for football in New York.
In retrospect, the Jets and Giants played similar games. Both were tied 10-10 going into the fourth quarter, both were against inferior teams, and both ended on decisive last drives. The Giants gave up an 18-play, 80-yard, nearly-9-minute drive culminating in a backup QB throwing a touchdown to a backup backup wide receiver. The Jets giving up 50 yards on the ground to a quarterback who runs like he should be wearing a leather helmet.
Both teams have serious problems right now. The Giants have the second to worst run game in the league, after ranking sixth best last year. The Jets were third best on that list, and 26th this year. That means more games are in the hands of their, uh… ‘inconsistent’ QBs. Eli Manning has had a very good year, but is also the Picasso of killing drives. From his INT in the Seattle game to his INT in the 49ers game to his fumble this week, he’s anything if not predictable. The fumble this week gets points for originality, I guess. Eli is known as a fourth quarter QB, but that sword swings both ways: he’ll win you a game on the final drive, but he’ll lose the hell out of a game too. If the ball is in his hands, there’s always a chance it’ll end up in the other team’s hands shortly thereafter.
Sanchez, meanwhile, is still about a year away from being championship quality. I mentioned earlier this year that Eli did not break out until really his fifth season in the league, and Sanchez should be given that much rope at least. But for a team that was built to win now, he is the wrong person to lead. This was another game where Sanchez attempted 40 passes, and he finished with no TDs and one INT.
Tebow really clipped the Jets’ foreskins, I mean wings. There is absolutely nothing surprising about playing Tebow – the Jets knew exactly what they were in for, but Tebow Just Knows How To Win™ and Mark Sanchez apparently does not. Rex Ryan chose to give 93-year-old quarterback/poor person Mark Brunell snaps with the first team offense, which is brilliant – Sanchez definitely needs LESS practice this week with the starters. Maybe if Sanchez stopped posing shirtless and started kneeling down in prayer, he’d complete less passes and somehow win. There’s honestly nothing else to say about this game – the Jets had every opportunity to win, and with five losses and the Patriots about to pull away with the division, they will have to win out to have a shot at the Wild Card. If it doesn’t start with Buffalo this weekend, you can kiss the post season goodbye.
As for the Giants, the loss this weekend means they will be in a dogfight with the Cowboys until the final week of the season. If they’re lucky. Because as it stands right now, this is an aggressively mediocre team. They have no run game to speak of, which has led to numerous other problems – the defense is on the field too much, they don’t control the ball enough, and the ball is in Manning’s hands too often at the end of games. When the game is being decided on the final possession every week, luck dictates that you’re going to lose some. These have been the some.
Now the Giants have a massive Monday Night showdown with the Saints, a game that was penciled in as a loss at the beginning of the season in terms of playoff math, that will be much more painful now. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and pray the Dolphins continue their hot streak against Dallas. Or that Tony Romo chokes on a wishbone or something.