We’ve enlisted experts to answer an essential question as a weekly service to readers: Are the Jets and Giants good yet?
This week, Diante Lee, an N.F.L. analyst at Pro Football Focus, offered his observations.
The Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) beat the Giants, 34-10, on Sunday in Philadelphia. The Eagles continued their playoff push, while the Giants (4-11) struggled to replace their injured quarterback, Daniel Jones.
I spent the morning wrestling the remote away from my son so we could watch the N.F.L. instead of Disney’s “Encanto.” In hindsight, my son was only trying to protect me. From what I overheard of the movie on his iPad, a family is saved after an embrace — and I’m sure my son feels he’s owed a hug.
The Giants were starting Jake Fromm at quarterback, which should have been red flag No. 1. There are moms and dads in backyards across the country with more completions and yardage than his 6-for-17 effort for 25 yards and an interception. Mike Glennon replaced Fromm and put forth a more respectable version of bad quarterbacking, doubling Fromm’s yards per attempt in his 17-for-27, 93-yard outing with one touchdown and one interception. There’s entertainment potential in the Giants’ sideshow of benching their backups on a game-by-game basis.
Giants running back Saquon Barkley’s 28 yards from scrimmage were tied for the team lead on Sunday, and punter Riley Dixon moved the ball farther with his foot than the Giants did through the air or on the ground. If you didn’t have an opportunity to watch the game, I can assure you that the game was worse than whatever you’re visualizing.
If there was a lesson to draw from Sunday’s action, the Giants could look to the opposite sideline and see an Eagles franchise falling backward into a wild-card berth with a new quarterback and head coach. Nothing about the past off-season signaled that Philadelphia was aiming to compete this season, but its understanding when it was time to move on from previous leadership made all the difference.
2021 N.F.L. Season News and Analysis
Fire everyone, hit the draft hard and start from square one. This era is finished.
Verdict: Learn from my mistakes, and give the kids the TV next time.
The Jets (4-11) won, 26-21, over the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) on Sunday in East Rutherford, N.J. It was a matchup between the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks in the 2021 N.F.L. draft: Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.
The Jets won Toilet Bowl II, finishing the season undefeated against the cellar-dwelling Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars. There were parallel narratives in this matchup offering genuine casual intrigue: The top of the 2022 N.F.L. draft order will be heavily influenced by the result of this game, and we were given an opportunity to see the stars of this year’s draft face off.
Wilson’s 52-yard touchdown scamper was the best play of his rookie campaign and a reminder that he can use his legs for something better than frantic scrambling out of one sack into another. He’s stacking together more efficient days in passing the ball, avoiding turnovers and making better decisions in his progressions.
Wilson’s teammates were ready to capitalize on the opportunity with a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Braxton Berrios, a forced fumble and a stop on fourth-and-goal to seal the win. There’s a lot to like in this team’s fight, and losing out on potential draft positioning for a quality win is a necessary trade-off for such a young team.
I know what you’re feeling inside, Jets fans. You want to shout praise from the rooftops, proclaiming the virtues of your rookie quarterback beating another. I’m urging you to fight that impulse.
Trevor Lawrence lost to your beloved team; I cannot dispute that. But he’s still a better quarterback than Zach Wilson, and that’s OK! Whatever is to come of their career trajectories, it won’t have anything to do with this game, and that shouldn’t rob you of any of today’s joy.
In the spirit of the holiday season, let us not be prisoners of unrealistic expectations. A scooter may not be a bike, but it’s still a self-propelled device with two wheels! Make sure to appreciate the gifts you have, and avoid lamenting the ones you don’t.
Verdict: It’s not always good, and it’s not always fun, but I’m enjoying this!