Sports: FOOTBALL STATE of MIND

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By Eddie Castro

We are 27 days away from the 2012-13 NFL season as both the Giants and Jets gear up for the preseason which starts this week. It is the tale of two tapes for the Giants and Jets. The Giants will try to become just the 8th team in NFL history to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, the first team to repeat since the New England Patriots did it in 2004 and in 2005.
In Jets minicamp this year, it has been pandemonium since the arrival of quarterback Tim Tebow. There will be high expectations for both teams and it all starts this Friday in their first preseason game.
The New York Giants shocked the world once again last year defeating the best teams in the NFC including  the Falcons, Packers and 49ers to win the Lombardi trophy. With key departures of Brandon Jacobs (signed with 49ers) and Mario Manningham (signed with 49ers), it will be a much more difficult task for the team to get back to the Super Bowl, let alone win the NFC East.
With the Tebow hype going on from the other side of town, and with a lot of the attention this off-season, the Jets have stolen away the back pages of many papers from the champs. It’s like the Giants’ Super Bowl victory has become an afterthought. If you ask Eli Manning, he has no problem with that. “We got a good team this year and I’m anxious to get going and see how far we can go,” Manning said. “The other team in New York can eat up all the attention, I just want to be a better player.”
The Giants offense will be good, however, there will be a lot of speculations with their receiving corps. Victor Cruz had a sensational breakout year with the G-Men. Now that teams know what he’s capable of doing, we can all look for several double coverages on him from opposing teams.
Hakeem Nicks is still nursing a broken foot, so Cruz may very well be Manning’s number 1 target at the start of the campaign. If Cruz can make the adjustment with defenses playing him different, we will see more salsa dances at the stadium this year. Their defense will be dynamic as always with Jason Pierre-Paul, O.C. Umenyiora and Justin Tuck leading that ferocious pass rush. The defending champs have the toughest strength of schedule of any team in the NFL this year with games against the Steelers, Packers, Ravens and 49ers — all were playoff teams last year. We’ll see if that plays a factor in the win/loss column come January.
As far as the J-E-T-S goes, aside from acquiring Tebow in a trade with the Denver Broncos, there have been speculations whether there will be a quarterback controversy at Jets camp. According to Tebow and Mark Sanchez, there’s an understanding between the two  about their roles on the team. Tebow was brought in to fill in what the Jets were so successful in doing 2 years ago and that’s RUNNING THE BALL!!!
In 2010, the Jets ran the ball and displayed “wild cat” plays over 70 times. In 2011, the Jets ran the wild cat a total of 12 times last season. The Jets did not get any big-time acquisitions, but they do have some promising rookie receivers like Stephen Hill who will bring a vertical dimension the Jets haven’t had at wide-out since the days of Braylon Edwards. There are high hopes for Hill. The biggest acquisition for Gang Green would have to be the signing of Tony Sparano. Sparano was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins for 4 seasons. Now he will fill in as the offensive coordinator of the Jets. With his unbelievable wild cat packages, Sparano can help Tebow, Sanchez and the rest of the gang get back to the two AFC Championship runs they had in 2010 and 2011. The Jets had a disappointing end of the season and missed the playoffs last year. For now, there has been no Super Bowl guarantee by coach Rex Ryan; he did lose 100 pounds during the off-season to enlighten Jets fans. It appears to be a “now-or-never” year for the team.
Sports Notes: (Olympics Swimming) Missy Franklin dominates once again capturing her 4th Gold medal. (Basketball) The U.S. basketball team dominates Argentina and prepares for the medal round as they battle with Australia. Winner meets the winner of the Brazil/Argentina game. (Baseball) The Yankees look to try to get things back on track as they wrap up a four-game series today at Detroit vs. the Tigers. Yanks then head back home to begin a 3-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays. It has been a struggle for the Mets since the All-Star break; they hope to change their luck a bit against the rival Atlanta Braves.  (Preseason Football) The Giants play the Jaguars and the Jets play the Bengals, both games on Friday night.  2012 Olympics close this Sunday.