Through five games of the 2017 NFL season, the New York Jets and the New York Giants have had two very different seasons.
The Jets are 3-2 and currently on a three-game winning streak heading into an AFC East division game between the rival New England Patriots and with a win, will be in sole possession of first-place.
In a sharp contrast, the Giants are coming off perhaps their worst loss of the year, against a winless Chargers team.
A game in which they lost more than once. Not only did they lose the game, but they lost four of their top wide receivers, including Odell Beckham, who suffered a broken ankle and has been ruled out for the year.
They also lost pro-bowl special team player, Dwayne Harris for the year with a fractured foot.
In addition to these injuries, they lost Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard to similar left ankle injuries.
The Jets were coming off a 2016 season in which they finished with a 5-11 record and were last in the AFC East. They lost Brandon Marshall (Giants) and Eric Decker (Titans) to Free Agency.
They also traded former pro-bowler and first-round draft pick, Sheldon Richardson to the Seahawks for Wide Receiver, Jermaine Kearse. And they cut longtime Jet veterans Nick Mangold and Darrell Revis. After these transactions, Vegas gave the Jets an historic 1000-1 odds to win the Super Bowl for the 2017 season.
The Giants were coming off a season in which they were 11-5, the exact opposite of the Jets. Differently from the Jets, the Giants added players instead of trading or cutting players.
The Giants took Tight End, Evan Engram (Mississippi) with the 23rd overall pick in the draft. They signed former Jet wide receiver, Brandon Marshall and kept terrific offseason additions from a year ago.
The Giants were poised for a playoff season and were predicted by some to go the super bowl. With offensive weapons like Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, Shane Vereen and Evan Engram; and on the defensive side with Janoris Jenkins and the reigning defensive player of the year, Landon Collins, it wasn’t hard to imagine the Giants making the playoffs.
The 2017 started off as expected for the Jets.
They lost their first game of the year to the Bills and got absolutely man handled by the Oakland Raiders. After that loss, fans were calling for the names of the two young quarterbacks on the roster, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. But Todd Bowles stuck to his veteran quarterback, Josh McCown.
Since then, the Jets have rattled off three games in a row and are over .500 for the first time since the 2015 season. When looking at the Jets as a team, they don’t rank in the top 10 of the league in any of the major stat categories.
By far, the most improved aspect of the Jets is the new and improved secondary. The Jets spend their first two picks in the 2017 addressing the secondary which ranked in the bottom half of the NFL.
They drafted Safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye. Each have had significant impacts on the Jets defense this year. Perhaps the best addition is the former Cowboy first-round draft pick, Morris Claiborne. While the Jets have only won by three points in two of their last three wins, they are grinding out teams and getting W’s.
Coming into the 2017 season, the Giants had one of the best offenses in the NFL. With stud receivers like Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard and new red-zone threat, Brandon Marshall, the Giants felt very confident going into the first game of the season.
They lost to the Cowboys to open the season in a 19-3 domination by America’s team. Then they lose the home opener to the Lions in which their offense–for the second straight game–was non-existent.
But the next two games were different. Their offense scored 23+ points in each of their games against the Eagles and the Buccaneers, and lost each game on a walk-off field goal. This past week was no excuse.
This was a must-win game for Big Blue especially against an 0-4 Charger team. A game in which they couldn’t hold the lead–again. Now heading into week 6 and sitting at 0-5, the Giants playoff hopes are slim to none.
They have lost Odell Beckham and special teams pro-bowler, Dwayne Harris for the year and are 4 games back in the division. The season could not have started off any worse.
When taking a look at the coaches, Todd Bowles for the Jets and Ben McAdoo for the Giants, each had different expectations.
Todd Bowles was coming off a disappointing 2016 season and has not had a playoff appearance. Bowles has taken a lot of heat for not winning the last game of the year against Rex Ryan’s Bills team and has taken criticism for not controlling his locker room. Notable incidences include:
- IK Enemkpali punching Geno Smith square in the face
- Brandon Marshall and Sheldon Richardson expressing hate for each other in Tweets
- Letting players show up late to practices
Despite was went on, there were reports that it wasn’t Todd Bowles’ fault. It was a personnel problem that has been addressed. Bowles in now in the midst of a terrific coaching job, already coaching the Jets to three wins with a team that was only projected to have four wins on the year. Bowles was brought to Jets for his defensive mind. Prior to getting the head coaching job in New York, he was an AP Assistant Coach of the year as a defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals.
As for Ben McAdoo who is in his second season as head coach, he has been quite the opposite.
Unlike Bowles, he’s started his career off fast. He took his team to the playoffs, going 11-5 with a team that went 6-10 a year before. McAdoo stock was rising until this year. While it doesn’t look like McAdoo’s job security is in jeopardy, he has not gotten the full potential out of his team.
This situation is unique because the Giants didn’t lose any player that significant to the success of the 2016 Giants.
If anything, they increased their talent with Pro-bowl receiver, Brandon Marshall. McAdoo was given the Head Coaching job because of his offensive mind. Prior to getting the head coaching job, he had the Giants offense ranked 8 out of 32 teams and Eli playing at an Elite level.
But at this point in the season, the Giants are in the bottom half of the league in total offense and rank 30 out of 32 in rushing yards per game.
The Giants and Jets had very opposite expectations for this point in the season. But now if you’re the Jets, why not go for it? Why not try to make the playoffs and beat the Patriots who were the overwhelming super bowl favorite by the Vegas odds?
As for the Giants, it’s quite the opposite. They are 1 of 3 teams in the NFL without a win. With Eli Manning turning 36 this year, the Giants may need to look elsewhere for a Quarterback.
If they get a top pick this year, they could be in the same position the Jets were at the beginning of the year–gunning for a top quarterback in the upcoming NFL draft.