On Sunday, the New York Giants dominated the San Francisco 49ers, easily routing them, 26-3, while the New York Jets did the same in their 35-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The Giants were building on a win the previous week against the Cleveland Browns, and the Jets needed to defeat the Colts to prevent a complete nosedive after their losses to the 49ers and Houston Texans. Can the Jets use that win to turn their season around? And can the Giants finally find some consistency?
The Jets' running game was resurrected. Mark Sanchez was efficient. The defense was dominant. And even Tim Tebow made a difference, completing a pass on a fake punt that resulted in a first down. That was enough for Rex Ryan to regain some of his lost bluster by declaring victory in this coming Sunday's contest vs. the New England Patriots. But was it enough to have confidence that the Jets can overcome their injuries? Can one win propel the Jets to bigger and better things? Ryan seems to think so, as he was back in prediction mode with the Patriots next on the schedule.
"I want them to know, and they know, that I think we're going to beat them. I don't buy into all that other stuff. I recognize they're a great football team and [Bill] Belichick is a great coach. I've never once said that he wasn't. But we're not going to back down or concede anything."
And the fact is, the Jets are tied with every other team in the division, as all are in first (and last) place with 3-3 records. The questions that need to be answered are: Was Shonn Greene's (and the offensive line's) performance a one-game wonder? Can Sanchez avoid the devastating turnovers and bad decisions on a consistent basis? Can Antonio Cromartie keep doing his Darrelle Revis impression? Will Tebow continue to make game-changing plays? The old Rex Ryan was dusted off once again, as the Patriots seem to bring out the braggadocio in the coach, but will the old Jets -- the one that went to consecutive AFC Championship Games under Ryan -- be dusted off to return again as well? Or is that version gone forever?
The Giants, on the other hand, don't necessarily want a turnaround of their season -- they're just looking for consistency. The win over the 49ers was their best all-around game of the year, and they'd like to nothing better than to avoid the in-game roller-coaster rides, as well as a year-long up-and-down season. Their mantra coming into 2012 was to avoid the mid-season swoon of 2011. They had to come from behind against Cleveland and lost a very winnable game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles in their previous two games. The Giants have to be hoping that Sunday's win will be the springboard to consistency. Has their running game rebounded for good? Can the secondary continue to overcome the injuries it's suffered? Is the pass rush back for good? Can they continue to prevent digging an early hole for themselves?
Are the Jets for real? Are they contenders or pretenders? The Patriots will be a truer test than the Colts were, so we'll find out a lot about them this Sunday. And the Washington Redskins, with Robert Griffin III, will be another battle for the Giants, another chance to find their groove and not get stuck in the mud like in times past (not to mention avenge the two losses to the 'Skins last season). Was last week a mirage for both teams or can they keep up their winning ways?