Let's continue our position-by-position breakdowns of the New York Giants and New York Jets with a look at the defenses of the two teams, who will meet Saturday at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. ET/FOX) in a game that could determine the playoff fate of each teeam.
In truth, neither defense has been as impressive as was hoped for this season. The Giants have been downright awful on defense at times. The Giants are 28th in the league in yards allowed per game (385.1), 28th in points allowed (372), 29th in the league against the pass and 22nd against the run.
The Jets are seventh overall, surrendering 317.9 yards per game. The Jets, though, are 21st in the league in points allowed (315). They are seventh in the league against the pass and 16th against the run.
Let's look at the position-by-position breakdowns for each team:
The Giants are a team built around a fearsome pass rush, which needs to be led by their front four. They are only 10th in the league in sacks, however, with 37. Second-year man Jason Pierre-Paul has 13.5 sacks and has become a start. Osi Umenyiora has played only eight games, however, with knee and ankle injuries and two-time Pro Bowler Justin Tuck has missed four games with injuries and been limited in others.
On the inside, Chris Canty, Linval Joseph and Rocky Bernard form a solid though not spectacular group of defensive tackles.
For the Jets, nose tackle Sione Pouha has been a force inside. He has a +21.5 rating from Pro Football Focus, third-best among all defensive tackles or nose tackles in the league. First-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson, from Temple, has two sacks and 40 tackles.
The Jets use a 3-4, a defense built to showcase explosive linebackers, and the Jets have several of them. David Harris has 79 tackles and four sacks, Calvin Pace has 66 tackles and 4.5 sacks, Bart Scott has 55 tackles and 4.5 sacks and reclamation project Aaron Maybin has a team-best six sacks.
The Giants have struggled at linebacker all season. Michael Boley has 78 tackles and Mathias Kiwanuka has played both linebacker and defensive end, and has 74 tackles and 3.5 sacks. The Giants lost middle linebacker Jonathan Goff before the season started, however, and have had to use rookies Greg Jones, Mark Herzlich, Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger with mixed results, and a few weeks ago hauled Chase Blackburn off the scrap heap. This is a weakness for the Giants.
The Jets have Darrelle Revis, commonly acknowledged as the best cover corner in the game. On the other side they have a quality player in Antonio Cromartie, and their third corner is a developing youngster, Kyle Wilson.
The Giants have struggled with cornerback play all season. Corey Webster has been solid, but the Giants have six corners on IR -- including starter Terrell Thomas. Aaron Ross has been victimized more and more as the season has moved along. Prince Amukamara is showing the effects of having missed all of the preseason and the first nine games with a broken foot.
Kenny Phillips has played well at times for the Giants, though he has not made many impact plays. Antrel Rolle has only been consistent at running his mouth -- both his coverage and his tackling have left a lot to be desired. Deon Grant is a knowledgeable veteran, but he is slow.
The Jets have lost Jim Leonhard, the quarterback of their secondary, for the season. They have Eric Smith and Brodney Pool.
I don't think either side really gets an advantage here.