Trying to decide who is going to win an NFL game half a year in advance is the kind of offseason dreck usually reserved for talk radio. I can already hear Sal from Piscataway bothering some poor host about how the New York Giants haven’t done enough in free agency and are doomed for another 6-10 season. Why can’t they make a splash like the New York Jets, who just completed the NFL equivalent of getting the band back together by signing both Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to big contracts.
When the Giants and the Jets meet in the regular season this year, fans on both sides are hoping the game will have playoff implications like when Big Blue last met Gang Green in 2011. The Giants’ victory in that “away” game propelled the team to its fourth Super Bowl championship. For this year’s game to mean something, though, both squads have got to improve.
While the Jets by far made the bigger splash by bringing back Revis, the Giants have had to be more careful considering they are already paying franchise quarterback money to Eli Manning. Nevertheless, they have made a number of signings that should make the team more well-rounded heading into next month’s draft.
Shane Vereen, formerly of New England, is one of the top pass-catching backs in the league and should fit perfectly into offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system. Last year, McAdoo set out to increase Manning’s accuracy, and the result was a career-high completion percentage for the veteran. Vereen will only make it easier for Manning to complete passes when his deep options are covered.
Vereen may have provided the most exciting news of the offseason to Giants fans, but the additions of other players could prove just as important. Former Cowboy George Selvie should augment a pass rush that will once again be anchored by Jason Pierre-Paul thanks to the franchise tag rule. Meanwhile, Jonathan Casillas and J.T. Thomas add depth to a linebacker corps that has too often been ignored by general manager Jerry Reese.
The Jets also made some under-the-radar moves to go with their headline-makers. James Carpenter from Seattle should be a great addition to Gang Green’s offensive line as the team will continue to focus on running the ball under new head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.
Sure, the Jets are drawing more attention to themselves again, but it’s mostly because they have a lot of cap space. Both teams are also making the little signings that they need to ensure that their squads don’t run out of gas when the inevitable injuries hit. Hopefully this season’s regular season clash will be just as meaningful as the last one.