One month ago, I said the Giants were the most mediocre team in the NFL. The team was 4-4 overall, 2-2 in the NFC East, and had a point differential of plus–seven, which was the closest of any NFC team to net zero. They were last in the NFL in sacks, but tied for first in interceptions. They were leading the NFL in turnover margin, but only a fool would bet on them to win any particular game.
So what has changed with this team? Not much. I still think they’re the most mediocre team in the NFL, equally capable of going 12 rounds with the mighty Patriots or playing down to the level of that pathetic franchise in Washington. But their mediocrity is emblematic of the entire 2015 NFL season. We’re three-fourths of the way through the season, and if the playoffs started today the Texans, Chiefs, Colts, Vikings and Redskins would all be in the tournament.
Can you envision any of those teams winning the Super Bowl? Of course not, but that’s what happens when the two teams I picked for the Super Bowl -- the Giants and the Jets -- are inconsistent and unpredictable.
People thought I was huffing paint when I said the co-occupants of MetLife Stadium were my picks for the Super Bowl. But these two teams gave the Patriots the two biggest challenges all year prior to the Julian Edelman injury. The biggest reason why? They both have quarterbacks who are brave enough to attempt big plays, with the skill position players to make that audacity reap benefits. A healthy Patriots team is not going to be held in check on offense, so you need to match them on the scoreboard, hope for some turnovers, and see where the chips fall.
If Edelman or Rob Gronkowski happen to be injured, that also improves your chances.
Edelman and Gronkowski are both expected to be back for the playoffs. You think teams led by Brian Hoyer, Alex Smith, Matt Hasselbeck (or maybe the ghost of Andrew Luck), Teddy Bridgewater or Kirk Cousins have a snowball’s chance in Hades versus the Patriots in the playoffs? Hades no! It’s going to take a bang-or-bust cauldron of mediocrity like the Giants, Jets, Steelers or Broncos to take down a healthy Pats team. The Giants and Jets face off this Sunday, and I’m confident in saying that no outcome in this game would surprise me.
Jets 42, Giants 3? Sure, I could see Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for six touchdowns (three each to Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker).
Giants 24, Jets 0? Sure, I could see Josh Brown kicking eight field goals as the Giants’ offense stalls in the red zone all afternoon.
Jets 0, Giants 0. If any two teams could find a way to end a game in a scoreless tie, it’d be these two squads.
Honestly, the unknown and the unpredictable are some of the most enjoyable aspects to the Tom Coughlin-Eli Manning era. These two guys have won two Super Bowls, are both heading to Canton when their careers are over, and are staring down the real possibility of missing the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
The Giants are 5-6 and tied atop the NFC Least with that team from Washington. The Jets are 6-5 and right in the thick of the AFC wild card race with half of the conference. Which team needs to win this more? I’d say the Jets, as the Giants could probably go 6-10 and still win their pathetic division.
Will they go 6-10? Will they win the division? Who knows. The only thing I know is that my preseason Super Bowl prediction is still in play and that Sunday’s game could be a preview. Crazy? No more crazy than this NFL season has been.