Two Ugly Victories Equal Two Reasons to Feel Good About New York Football

Giants and Jets don't need style points to get where they're going

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 3:36 PM EDT
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Anyone who spent more than six hours of their Sunday watching each of our local football outfits playing their games probably spent much of the time fighting the urge to throw something through the closest television.

The Giants still can't play special teams and the Jets picked an inopportune time to remember how to turn the ball over. Kevin Gilbride seems to be immune to sensible play calling and Darrelle Revis isn't playing like the man who turned the NFL on its ear last season. The Giants offensive line still lets too much pressure get to Eli Manning and the Jets can't seem to figure out how to avoid penalties that put them into bad situations.

And yet, despite all of that, both teams held on the final drives of games and continuned their winning streaks another week in a NFL season that's making a mockery of the notion that parity isn't just a euphemism for mediocrity. Even if neither one deserves to be on the top of a list of the best teams in the league, they both are in the conversation. That's a pretty nice spot to be in as New York football watchers six weeks into the NFL season.  

The two teams are more similar than anyone might have expected in the offseason. Outside of special teams and coaching demeanors, in fact, the two teams are almost carbon copies of one another. 

Both defenses are capable of taking games over and love to let everyone around know about how good they are even during the weeks when they don't play particularly well. The success of the Ahmad Bradshaw/Brandon Jacobs combination was probably more predictable than what we've seen from LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, but you'd be happy with either pairing at this point in the season. And each team has the most talented group of pass catchers in the history of their franchise taking the field every week. 

The quarterback matchup wasn't one anyone expected to be that close but, through six games, it isn't easy to tell Manning and Mark Sanchez apart. Both of them have moments of brilliance mixed with mind-boggling bouts of ineptitude and both of them have shown the ability to shake off poor plays early to help win games down the stretch. Neither one is among the elite signal callers in the league, but both provide the leadership and confidence you need to win the kinds of games that lay ahead of them this season.

Most significantly, though, both of these teams have proven that they know how to win. They've done it when they've played well and when they've played poorly. They've done it at home, on the road, in good weather and in slop. They've bounced back from dismal performances, built on strong ones and just kept winning.

That's made it an enjoyable six weeks and makes you wonder how much better things will get in this new stadium in the 11 weeks to come.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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