Around this time last year, I had written a piece about what the 2017-18 New York football teams will look like. The Giants were expected to make some serious noise in the NFC, but key injuries suffered to both the offense and defense made it a very long season. In fact, the team just won 2 games and benched starting quarterback Eli Manning for the final two games. Meanwhile, the Jets, who were expected to have a rough 2017-18 campaign ended up winning an impressive 5 games with a very inexperienced roster. One year later, as far as the expectations go for both teams for the 2018-19 season, the projections are slightly different between the Jets and Giants.
For “Big Blue,” the team will have star receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. back after he signed a new 5-year extension, making him the highest-paid receiver in the NFL. Not to mention the team added another offensive weapon in drafting Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. Quarterback Eli Manning did take a beating filled with sacks. To assure the 37-year-old QB will take less shots from opposing defenses, the team upgraded their offensive line by adding former Super Bowl champion offensive tackle Nate Solder. Solder will go from protecting one Super Bowl-winning quarterback (Tom Brady) to another (Manning). A refreshed Manning and offense should help the Giants break through this year (regarding any injuries) and compete for the NFC East crown, which was won by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles.
As for the New York Jets, it’s always quite a difficult topic of conversation to have when talking about the Jets winning the AFC East when you are in the same division as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The team ended last season on a good note and showed some “true grit” down the stretch and perhaps saving Head Coach Todd Bowles’ job. The team has had a few swings and misses when it comes to securing a franchise quarterback but “Gang Green” hopes they have struck gold when the Jets drafted USC’s Sam Darnold. Now you would think why draft another California quarterback to come play in New York where, in December, the weather can get as frigid as a polar bear’s toenail. Have we not seen this scenario before? (Mark Sanchez was drafted out of USC by the Jets in 2009) However, Darnold is built quite different than Sanchez. He has a bigger arm and throws the ball with more accuracy. He also moves quite well in moving out of the pocket and extending plays. Although his last year in college he threw a lot of interceptions. With that said, it will take some time for Darnold to get a hang of the NFL’s pace. The organization thinks he’s ready to play now, naming him the starting quarterback for Week 1 when the Jets head to Detroit to play the Lions this Monday night. There has been mixed emotions about coach Bowles going with Darnold over an experienced veteran quarterback in Josh McCown. I guess the Jets hope that Darnold can be the Cinderella story that quarterback Carson Wentz was for the Eagles last year. Nevertheless, coach Bowles feels like Darnold impressed him enough with his play in the preseason to give the Jets the “best chance to win.”
It should be an exciting football season for both New York teams. Both teams will be playing with huge chips on their shoulders. This could very well be “the year” for New York football. One team having revamped in hopes of making a strong playoff push (Giants), the other team is hoping they have a franchise quarterback that will lead them to much success towards the present and future!
Sports Notes: (Baseball) After a hot start towards the end of July into the middle of August, the Yankees have struggled often of late. The team is in the beginning of a 9-game road trip which will define who they will play and if they will host the one-game win or go home American League Wild Card game. What do Jets fans think about the Jets starting rookie Sam Darnold? Is it the right time for throwing him to the “Wolves.” Well, in this case, the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football. E-mail me at Castroeddie714@gmail.com.