The New York Giants (0-1) take on the New York Jets (0-1) in the second annual "MetLife Bowl" on Saturday at Met Life Stadium in what’s designated as a Jets home game. Besides the Snoopy trophy, not much at stake except bragging rights, though expect the players to perform with more verve than your standard Week 2 preseason game.
Coverage on WCBS-TV, Channel 2, in New York, begins at 7:30. Tune into WCBS-FM (101.1) for the Giants feed and ESPN New York (98.7) for the call from the Jets' broadcast team.
The Giants flashed their championship form of last season and unveiled a few gems in an eventual 32-31 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2012 preseason debuts for both teams. Backup quarterback David Carr went Carr 6 of 10 for 48 yards and two touchdowns, the second secured by a nifty grab from Isaiah Stanback, while youngsters David Wilson, Reuben Randle and Adrian Tracy made nice first impressions. The same cannot be said about a hideous group of replacement officials, the lowlight a failure to know about the 10-second runoff rule.
THE LAST TIME
The Jersey rivals collided in a critical Week 16 showdown on December 24, 2011, when the Giants defeated the Jets, 29-14. The game’s turning point – also considered the respective seminal moments for both teams – occurred when Victor Cruz turned Eli Manning’s short pass into a franchise-record 99-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown. The three-play drive put the Giants ahead, 10-7, for good. It also launched Big Blue’s ascension from a team on the bubble into a Super Bowl champion and signified the Jets’ plunge into the turmoil that has gripped them through training camp.
STATE OF THE G-MEN
Like every NFL team the Giants are focused on staying healthy for the preseason while making important evaluations on young talent and players with an opportunity to earn increased time on the field. This week, however, "Bedgate" led to many complaining about back pain caused by sleeping on the mattresses provided by the University of Albany. The defensive line in particular is ravaged by injuries, none more damaging that the blood clot that’s ended the season of veteran tackle Shaun Rogers and the back ailment that’s sidelined youngster Marvin Austin. The Giants signed three tackles this week, Marcus Thomas, Carlton Powell and Oren Wilson.
The Jets dropped their preseason opener, 17-6, in Cincinnati, part of a training camp that can be described as the Circus in Cortland. In-fighting and the distractions brought on by Tim Tebow’s presence have dominated the headlines to where head coach Rex Ryan angrily declared "enough is enough" and made the team run end-to-end sprints. Ryan and Co. continue to insist Mark Sanchez is their starting quarterback, but the aura of Tebowmania will not let this story die until Sanchez plays up to the expectations brought on when the Jets traded up to select him fifth in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Gang Green Nation has more on the Jets, where every day is anything but boring.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Given the injuries on the defensive line, tackle Dwayne Hendricks’ spot on the 53-man roster is his to lose. "He goes a million miles an hour, I have just the utmost respect for that kid,'" said Giants head coach Coughlin."That kid works his ever-lovin’ off. As a matter of fact I use him as an example, you’re going against him you better be going full speed, he’s gonna make you look bad."
Domenik Hixon (hamstring) missed the opener, but impressed this week running deep routes and making grabs playing against cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Bruce Johnson. Fighting for playing time, if not a roster spot, Jerrel Jernigan looked good playing with the second and third teams. Assuming he’s at or near 100 percent, Hixon will likely be the slot receiver opening night and rookie Reuben Randle will make this team, which creates an uphill battle for Jernigan – he of the muffed punt return in Jacksonville – Ramses Barden and David Douglas, who also missed Week 1 with a quad injury.
As always, all eyes are on the Jekyll-and-Hyde secondary – Amukamara in particular – that morphs from the generous unit that hurt the Giants early last season to the group that got it together for the championship run. One defensive back, undrafted rookie Janzen Jackson, was waived with another, Laron Scott signed after he was waived by the Saints despite a 67-yard kickoff return in the Hall of Fame Game. Scott will also get a look on special teams.
WHAT NOT TO WATCH FOR
Rogers reported to camp having lost a lot of weight and was showing flashes of his old self until a blood clot was discovered in his lower leg.
"It’s very sad, because you don’t know the real story," Coughlin said. "He lost 50 pounds. He went from the high 380s to 334 to check in at. He was really excited about being a part of this team. He got along really well with our defensive linemen. He actually asked to go play some more snaps the other night, which I thought was really neat. It’s just a shame."
''The last time I checked, I play for the Giants and I've only heard one question about the Giants. I really don't want to talk about the Jets." – Justin Tuck
"I know there's that Snoopy trophy, but I'd rather have that other trophy that they [the Giants] won."-- Rex Ryan
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