Originally posted on Big Giants Boom  |  Last updated 12/24/11

Frank Gray
BGB Editor

The New York Giants (6-6) are at a crossroads. They must win out the remainder of their season in order to make the playoffs. They only find themselves in this position after an embarrassing loss last week against Washington. Also losses to the Seahawks, Washington in week one and a four game losing streak didn't help matters either. They are in a dire state.

The team they face in a few days, for a rare Saturday game, is just as dire. The New York Jets (8-6) have lost both of their games to the Patriots this year, lost to the Oakland Raiders earlier this season and were blown out just last week in an embarrassing game of their own at the hands of the Eagles. Both the Jets and the Giants have spent the week talking unnecessary and unearned smack through the media.

Players and coaches alike have exchanged their opinions through reporters and other sources. The end result is a game that is overly-hyped for all the wrong reasons. These are two teams that sit in second place in their respected divisions. Neither one has taken care of their own business. Neither one can stop shooting their mouths off.

Fans on both sides are getting irritated by their team running at the mouth like verbal diarrhea without showing an ounce of anything to back up their words. Both teams have a great passing attack, under-the-radar QB's, no running game worth writing about and an over-rated defense. They are almost identical. With that said, both teams are dangerous if they get into the playoffs.

Both teams have the ability to turn the switch on at any given time in order to hit a hot stretch. The Giants have shown this against the toughest competitors this year. They have lost in the final seconds to San Francisco and Green Bay. They have defeated Dallas and New England. They can hang with the best teams when they play well.

The Jets can too. They have defeated Dallas and San Diego. They can be a tough assignment this week for the Giants. Even though it is at Metlife Stadium, it is a road game for the Giants. They face a tough receiver that once led them to glory and a secondary that is talented enough to take away the big passing threats that Eli Manning uses every week. If the Giants are going to win, they have to do a few things.

Offensive Keys:

#1 Mix it up! The Jets are ranked 7th against the pass. They are great at defending receivers and being physical at the line of scrimmage to offset the receiver's routes. As talented as they are, they are suckers for play-action passes.

The secondary, led by Darell Revis, are not good at run stopping. When teams commit to the run, they get into the mindset of run-stopping and can be caught off guard by the big pass play. If the Giants hope to pass on them, they have to take what this secondary gives them and not force anything.

#2 Keep your balance! This will be an extremely tense game. Forget the war of words for a second. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives. This is the closest thing to a win or go home scenario. The temptation will be very strong to play on raw emotion. The trouble is that doing that is a double-edged sword. While playing with emotion brings out passion, heart and intensity, it also brings out a lack of composure.

There is a delicate balance that the Giants have tried to walk all season between these two extremes. Both are necessary but too much of one and the team is not going to be effective. Too much emotion and they commit far too many penalties, thereby ruining their drives. Too much composure and the team is lifeless.

#3 Spread the ball around! The Jets are good on the corners. There is no doubt about that. Their biggest weakness in defending the pass is down the middle. Last week, Eagles TE Brent Celek had a season high game against this defense with 156 yards and a TD. In the second meeting with the Patriots, the New England TE (Gronkowski) had eight catches and two TDs.

If Eli Manning is to be effective, he needs the TE position to play more like the TE position of earlier this season as opposed to recently. They have to attack the middle of the field. Especially since the Jets best safety (Jim Leonhard) is out for the season. They are susceptible to the short passes and comeback routes up the middle, particularly when an offense that has a good TE runs an effective play action pass.

Defensive Keys:

#1 Stop Shonn Greene! The Jets rank 21st in rushing. They're not great at running the ball, but they don't stink at it either. Their best running back option is easily Shonn Greene. He is a local product (from Southern New Jersey) that will be looking to have a huge game. He has amassed 941 yards rushing this season and most likely will top the 1,000 yard mark Saturday.

But the Giants have to limit his red zone effectiveness. If they keep him out of the end zone, the Giants will force field goals more often than not. He will get into open field and will try to make plays. The Giants need to get him wrapped up when they have him stopped in order to limit the damage he can do.

#2 Get in Plax's head! Plaxico Burress is known for being a physical receiver. In fact, in his greatest game (against the Packers in the 2007 playoffs) he was repeatedly seen pushing and shoving to gain separation on his routes. He is a passionate player that plays the game on nothing but emotion and body position. If the Giants let him be physical and hit back early in the route, he will eventually take it too far.

The emotion of the game, the atmosphere and the opponent (his former team) will all get to him. Expect to see him get flags thrown his way for offensive pass interference, holding and taunting. These will kill their drives. The Jets will let the emotion get the best of them and literally shoot themselves in the thigh (pun intended). Plax will be a big reason why.

#3 Knock Sanchez around! Mark Sanchez is not a great QB. The stats back that up. He's better than most think, but he is far from Eli Manning's status. If he didn't have the receivers he has, he would be even worse than he is. He leads a passing game that ranks 21st (just over 201 yards a game) with receivers like Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller. Personally, Sanchez has 3,009 yards passing, 23 TD's and 13 INT's. He also has five fumbles, losing three of them, and a weak front line in front of him.

He, like Manning is not a mobile QB, but he, unlike Manning, will stay idle in the pocket. If you were to take away his one 25 yard carry this season, he has 13 carries for seven yards, or a half a yard per attempt. He does have five TD's rushing as the Jets like to call the QB sneak in goal line situations, but the point is, he stays well inside the pocket. He is easily rattled into mistakes. His worst games have come against good pass rushing teams.

Take last week as an example. Against Philly, he was sacked four times, picked off twice and held a 67.8 passer rating after their defense knocked him around. I'm sorry, but the Eagles don't have a pass rush anywhere close to the level of the Giants. Justin Tuck, J.P.P. and company should get to him repeatedly. If they do, it will be a long day for Fireman Ed and the Jets fans.

Predictions Time:

Player of the Game- Ahmad Bradshaw has the chance to step up this week. With a balanced rushing attack and taking advantage of his touches in the passing game, he could combine for a big day with multiple appearances in the end zone.

Runner Up-  Eli Manning will have a good game. He has shown his best performances against the better teams in big situations. He will show up clutch. With all the wide receivers available and Jake Ballard down, he will have to go to multiple players throughout the game. As long as they make the catches, he will post the numbers we all expect.

Final Score: After last week's ridiculous loss to Washington where all of the staff got the score wrong, there is no change in the standings. With only two games left, it all comes down to the next week and a half to find out who wins this heated competition.

Frank (9)- 31-24, Giants

Alyssa (8)- Giants

Adam (7)- 21-17, Giants

Tom (6)- Giants

Jim (5)- 24-17, Giants


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