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The swagger is back in the Big Apple. The Giants are 5-1 and the Jets are 4-2. Bing Bong!
None of the football pundits expected one, let alone both, New York teams to be above .500 heading into Week 7. But parity is back in the NFL. On any given Sunday, any dog can have its day.
First-year head coach Brian Daboll has guided the Giants to five wins in six games despite a subpar quarterback and an injury-depleted receiving corps. The same Giants averaged 4.4 wins and 11.8 losses over the past five seasons.
The 2022-23 campaign was supposed to be the start of a fresh rebuild. The plan was not to compete this year but to shed costly contracts and stockpile cash for the future. Fortunately, Daboll and his coaching staff didn’t receive the memo.
The Surprising Giants and the new coaching staff
The Giants are winning with the league’s 24th-ranked quarterback, Daniel Jones. Their top receiver is star running back Saquon Barkley. Both are free agents at the end of the season, and the chances of either one returning next season are slim.
Good coaching and a lot of luck are two of the biggest reasons for the Giants’ surprising start. But can a team with an arguably “bad” roster keep pulling rabbits out of a hat each week?
The good news for the G-men is that the magic could last another month. The combined records of their next four opponents – Jacksonville, Seattle, Houston, and Detroit – are a pitiful 7-14-1. However, New York will be the favorite, and every dog has its day.
The Surging Jets and their 2022 season
The Jets are also in a rebuilding mode, but second-year head coach Robert Saleh has a significantly more talented roster than his New York counterpart. The “Gang Green” boast the NFL’s 12th-ranked rushing defense and a collection of recent high draft picks that is second to none.
Franchise quarterback Zach Wilson was the second overall pick last year. Cornerback Sauce Gardner and wideout Garrett Wilson were taken with the fourth and 10th selections, respectively, this year. Offensive tackle Mekhi Becton (11th) and defensive end Quinnen Williams (3rd) are already cornerstones for the historically mismanaged franchise.
New York has averaged double-digit losses in six of the last eight seasons. The last time the Jets won the AFC East was in 2002 with a 9-7 card. But unlike the Giants, Saleh and his crew have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs.
Are these NFL teams Playoff-Bound?
The Jets play Denver, New England (twice), and Buffalo over the next month with a bye week tossed in the mix. If New York can go 2-2 the playoffs will be within its reach with games against the Bears (2-4), Lions (1-4), Jaguars (2-4), and Seahawks (3-3) remaining on the slate.
Although injuries could derail the playoff hopes of the Jets, Saleh is using the old-school formula of a solid running game and a stout defense to win games. It’s a smart move that allows Wilson to develop slowly and not have the pressure of carrying the team on his shoulders.
Life is good for New York football fanatics these days. Both the Giants and Jets are ahead of schedule in their rebuilding plans. And brighter days are ahead for New Yorkers even if the 2022 season ends in dismay.
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