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James Bradberry
New York Jets

Jets or Giants: Which New York Franchise Has Brighter Future?

  • Jack McKessy
  • January 4, 2022
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Over the last five years, no NFL team has performed worse than the two teams in New York. The Giants and Jets are tied for the worst record in the league since 2017, with each team having won only 22 of their last 80 games. We’re now through Week 17 of this season, which used to mark the end of the regular season before the NFL added a 17th game this year. Fittingly, the season has long been over for both the Giants and the Jets, so it’s time to look ahead to the 2022 season. Looking to the immediate future, which team is in better shape going forward? I won’t waste your time here. The answer is the Jets, and there are several reasons why that’s the case right now. First and foremost, I would be remiss not to lead off with draft position advantage in a piece for The Draft Network. Both New York teams have two picks in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Along with their own first-round picks, the Jets got the Seattle Seahawks’ 2022 first-rounder in the Jamal Adams trade in 2020, and the Giants got the Chicago Bears’ first-round pick when Chicago traded up for Justin Fields last April. The way things stand right now, all four picks between the two teams will be in the top 10. Unfortunately for the Giants, the Jets stand one pick ahead of both of their first-round picks. That’s right, barring meltdowns from the Bills or Cardinals in games they need to win in order to win their division, the Jets will hold onto the fourth and seventh overall picks. The Giants would slot in at fifth and eighth. That one-spot advantage could be critical with both teams needing some upgrades on the offensive line. It’s Gang Green who will have their pick of the litter before the Giants are even on the clock. Draft position isn’t everything though. Obviously, the more important factor in a franchise’s success is who they draft. To that end, each team will (probably) enter the 2022 season with a starting quarterback they previously drafted in the top 10. While it might be too early to make a call on whether Zach Wilson is the answer for the Jets, it’s unlikely the Giants see a bright future with Daniel Jones under center. Wilson has shown a lot of promise and development in his rookie year, and he provides a core building block for the team’s future. Jones has struggled to stay on the field throughout his three-year career, and he hasn’t performed well when he’s been healthy. For 2022, that means the Jets have someone they feel confident in at the offense’s most important position. The Giants have a guy who’s already all but a lame-duck three years into his succession of the greatest quarterback in franchise history. The Jets also get another point here for having an offensive identity, compared to the utter lack of one from their crosstown rival. Even after firing their offensive coordinator, the Giants just haven’t looked anywhere near capable of scoring points. Their biggest signing in free agency—wide receiver Kenny Golladay—has been practically absent from the offense, and Saquon Barkley hasn’t been the same since his ACL tear. Jones’ neck injury hasn’t helped, as the team is afraid to attempt a forward pass without him. Most recently, the Giants had Mike Glennon drop back just 13 times on Sunday in Chicago in a game they were losing after 18 seconds. Meanwhile, at MetLife Stadium, Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur was putting together a strong offensive showing against the Buccaneers on Sunday. Wilson looked better and more comfortable than ever, and he almost exorcized the Jets’ Tom Brady demons in his matchup with the reigning Super Bowl champions. Though the Jets have had their fair share of offensive struggles themselves this season, they have a definitive answer at quarterback and have been trending up on offense in recent weeks. The Jets are a top-12 team in points scored over the previous three weeks. The Giants are dead last. This brings me to another positive point for the Jets: their coaching staff, particularly their head coach. Again, it’s only year one for Robert Saleh and his new regime with the Jets, but it’s also only year two for Joe Judge. The Giants’ head coach hired the former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys—who was once stripped of his offensive play-calling duties in Dallas—to be his offensive coordinator. He also went on a rant for more than 11 minutes in which he made some pretty dubious claims after his team’s most embarrassing loss of the season. Saleh, meanwhile, has motivated a team whose season has long been over to play competitive games against stronger teams as late as January. Unlike the Giants, the Jets will also likely have more stability in their front office when the next league year begins. The Giants have done nothing but lose in their time with Dave Gettleman as general manager, and all signs point to them making a change at that position as soon as they can. Of course, that suggests even more instability could be on its way with both the roster and coaching staff, but I suppose the Giants will cross that bridge when they get to it. For now, they’re saying they plan on sticking with Judge and Jones. It would be unfair to go on without pointing out what the Giants do have to look forward to that the Jets don’t. Big Blue’s defense is definitely the better unit. Though it hasn’t been as strong as last year’s defense, it’s still a significant bright spot for a Giants team desperately in need of one. They’ve allowed five fewer points per game than the Jets all season; the Jets rank 32nd in both scoring defense and defensive DVOA. With a new, defensive-minded head coach at the helm, that’s a pretty tough look for Gang Green. In conclusion, it’s the Jets who clearly have a better long-term vision with their new head coach and new starting quarterback. They had a rough season, but there were several bright spots throughout. They have an identity to build on and the draft capital to do it as they look toward the 2022 league year. In contrast, there’s a lot of uncertainty and potential instability on its way to the Giants’ camp. They have the draft capital to make big improvements, but the team isn’t even sure who will be making the picks, let alone who they’ll draft. For now, they still seem to be searching for who they are as an organization and as a team, especially on offense.

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Jack McKessy