The New York Jets and New York Giants are at opposite ends of the spectrum right now, but the scale isn’t tilted the way you’d think entering Week 5 of the National Football League season.
While the Jets (2-2) are surprisingly sitting at the .500 mark, with a winnable game at the Cleveland Browns (0-4) on Sunday, the Giants (0-4) are an equally surprising winless outfit, with a dicey game upcoming against a frisky Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) squad. Big Blue is currently one of eight teams with a worse record than Gang Green to further hammer home the fact their season is going up in smoke.
Something has to give in the winless tilt between Big Blue and the Chargers, but even if the Giants win at home, Sunday, the schedule doesn’t get any easier. Following the Los Angeles game, the Giants travel to Denver to play a rested Broncos team that will be on a bye this week. The Giants’ remaining schedule is brutal, including games against the Seattle Seahawks (2-2), Los Angeles Rams (3-1), Kansas City Chiefs (4-0), and Oakland Raiders (2-2). And that’s not even including rematches against National Football Conference East Division rivals the Dallas Cowboys (2-2) and Philadelphia Eagles (2-2), and two games against their other divisional foe, the Washington Redskins (2-2).
The Jets, meanwhile, are ruining any plans they might’ve secretly had of tanking. Sure, their schedule is no cupcake, either, with upcoming tilts against the New England Patriots (twice), the Buffalo Bills, the Denver Broncos, the Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Carolina Panthers, but they should no longer be treated as a “homecoming” opponent, because they are showing signs of fight.
“Don’t mark us off on your calendar as a win because, believe me, we’re doing the same thing to you,” cornerback Morris Claiborne boasted following Sunday’s overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. “We’re really working. We’re not taking anything for granted. Don’t come in and think you’re going to just push us over.”
All three phases are currently bullying opponents. A strong running game, precision passing from veteran journeyman Josh McCown, and a defense that’s starting to gel have given Gang Green fans reasons for optimism — but have also essentially destroyed any chance at winning the 2018 NFL quarterback draft derby.
History is not on the side of a Jets squad that should’ve been tanking, as in nine of the past 10 drafts, the team with the No. 1 overall pick finished with two wins or fewer in the previous season. The lone exception was the 2015 Tennessee Titans, who went 3-13 and wound up trading the pick to the Rams, who selected quarterback Jared Goff, who is playing up to that lofty draft status.
Unless the Jets lose out, that “Sham for Sam” campaign can now be put to rest.
A Wild Card team a season ago, the Giants were expected to challenge for the NFC East and maybe the Super Bowl this year, but instead, they may end up switching places with the Jets in the draft hierarchy. As the standings currently constitute, Gang Green suddenly has a better shot at the postseason. According to FootballOutsiders.com, a website devoted to statistics, the Giants’ postseason chances are a minuscule 4.4, and actually have a better shot of landing the No. 1 overall pick (7.2 percent). The Jets’ chances have risen following two-straight wins, as they have a 6.5 percent chance of making the playoffs, and also possess a 3.5 percent chance to win the American Football Conference East Division.
Just goes to show that you should never bet on any supposed sure thing, as the NFL landscape is a fickle entity.