In Gang Green a little bit closer to turning the corner?
Although they play in different conferences and only see one another every four years in the regular season, there is a natural rivalry between the New York Jets and New York Giants. Which of these two franchises is in better shape right now? Let’s examine this situation for 2019 and beyond.
Would you rather compete in the AFC East or NFC East? Coming off yet another Super Bowl, New England remains the team that no one wants to directly compete with. But their reign of terror has to end soon, right? Right? Meanwhile, the rest of the AFC East isn’t scary at all even though Buffalo is slowly moving in the right direction. As for the NFC counterpart, the Eagles would rank very high on the list of teams you don’t want in your division for the foreseeable future without a doubt. Somewhat surprisingly, the Cowboys have put together a very solid young nucleus and should remain a playoff contender over the next few years, while Washington doesn’t instill a ton of worry even though they were quite successful last year before Alex Smith was lost for the season. And, Washington is certainly a more formidable foe than the Dolphins without question. While it probably isn’t true for 2019, being in the AFC East is the more favorable of the two in the big picture. So that favors the Jets.
Not to totally ignore ownership, the general manager situations and the head coaches, but there isn’t a huge advantage where that sits right now. There are a lot of incomplete grades currently amongst these two teams in those crucial, but hard to quantify categories. Let’s just say that most folks would probably side against the one with Dave Gettleman on it right now.
As for quarterback, that must go to the Jets. Yes, Daniel Jones and Sam Darnold were both drafted in similar areas of their respective back to back draft classes. But Darnold’s quarterback class of 2018 was far superior to the signal callers Jones was competing against for draft position this past year. Plus, pretty much all of us were far higher on Darnold than Jones before either played an NFL snap. Not to mention, Darnold finished his rookie season extremely strong. Sorry Giants fans, but this really isn’t close at all.
What about the offensive supporting cast? The Jets added impact players like Le’Veon Bell, Kelechi Osemele and Jamison Crowder while the Giants traded an all-time impact player in Odell Beckham Jr. That being said, the Giants are still superior at running back, on the offensive line and with their slot receiving options. The Giants also have the more dangerous tight end, but please do not sleep on Chris Herndon of the Jets. The Giants lack a field stretcher like Robby Anderson, but they still are in better shape than the Jets right now with their offensive skill position players and the big men up front. The Jets biggest offseason priority very well could be their offensive line after the 2019 season concludes. This is especially true with Joe Douglas and his offensive line background taking over the Jets’ front office.
How about the two defenses in New York? The Giants are putting together a young secondary that could turn into a high quality unit. They also look to be quite set on the defensive interior with a ton of power and mass. The edge pass-rush is very much a work in progress and the Giants look very vulnerable on the second level.
Meanwhile, if the Jets biggest offseason need next year isn’t offensive line, it will surely be cornerback. The Giants are much better off at this crucial position in today’s NFL. The Giants also get the nod when comparing the edge defenders on both teams, mostly because their guys have more of an upside. But as it stands, neither defense is strong at all in this department.
But the Jets win when comparing defenses overall and while they used extreme assets to acquire these great talents, you cannot ignore how superb this defense could be up the middle with Leonard Williams, Quinnen Williams, CJ Mosley, Avery Williamson, Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams. Not only does it not get much better than that in the league right now, but that is also a very young group. Quinnen Williams and Adams (who might be there already) could quickly become elite players at their respective positions. Every team in the NFL would love to have what the Jets have up the middle of their defense.
It has to be noted that the Jets have certainly overspent to acquire some of the big name players on their roster, namely Bell and Mosley, and that can certainly set a team back before long. But the Giants went down a very similar road with Nate Solder just one year ago. As it stands right now, only five teams have more cap space than the Jets while the Giants are right in the middle of the pack with about $13.5 million of available space as we speak. But the Giants are certainly in the better shape of the two New York teams in this important category for next offseason.
If Jones turns into a success story, the Giants could be a “Hot Team” going into next offseason with plenty to spend, presumably mostly on their defense. That is too big of an “If” to give the Giants the edge over the Jets right now though. The Jets are just a step or two further along the path towards respectability than the Giants are as we prepare for the 2019 season.