NY Football On The Rise Again? The Success Stories Of The Giants And Jets

With week seven of the season over, both the Giants and Jets look like powerhouses of their conferences.

New York Magazine

With week seven of the season over, both the Giants and Jets look like powerhouses of their conferences.

Carter LaCorte

One year ago to the week, the Port Press published an article detailing how rough the state of New York football was. By no means was this a stretch for us; the Jets and Giants were both dreadful during the 2021-22 season, each finishing with a record of 4-13, and securing top-five draft picks in April. 

Most expected this season to be a similar story. Aside from the usual buzz of deluded hope and a culture change that we have become accustomed to over the rebuilds for both franchises, no one truly had hope for either team. But, with week seven of the season over, both teams look like powerhouses of their conferences.

It’s been all Giants in the National Football Conference, or NFC, this season. Behind a defense that has allowed the lowest completion percentage in the league, and a resurgence season from star halfback Saquon Barkley, the G-Men are 6-1. If it wasn’t for the 6-0 Eagles, the Giants would not only be the best team in a strong NFC East division, but in the entire NFL. 

The Jets have followed a very similar recipe for success, which has brought them to 5-2 after a recent win in Denver. Rookies Breece Hall and Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner have been favorites for offensive and defensive rookie of the year, respectively. The defense overall has excelled. Defensive lineman Quinnen Williams and newcomer D.J. Reed have looked fantastic. 

In no league is it this easy to turn around this fast. Both teams have already exceeded last season’s win total before the halfway point of the season. How have these teams done it? Fans of other teams will look to an easy schedule, and label both franchises as frauds. Yes, it is true that the Giants only narrowly beat weak teams in Carolina, Chicago, and Jacksonville. But they edged out a strong Ravens squad, and beat the usually sturdy Packers. 

The Jets also dominated against Green Bay and multiple-time MVP-winner Aaron Rodgers. The main argument against Gang Green has been the opposing quarterbacks, but Rodgers breaks that rule. The Jets may have beat the Steelers and their shaky QB situation, as well as backups in Jacoby Brissett (Cleveland), Skylar Thompson (Miami), and Brett Rypien (Denver). But they have gone 5-2 behind the play of a well-past-his-prime Joe Flacco, and sophomore Zach Wilson, who is 4-0 despite mediocre-at-best-play. 

Both teams have relatively new coaching staffs as well. With the large amount of leadership turnover in past years, watching Jets coach Robert Saleh succeed in his second season, and Giants coach Brian Daboll do it in his first, is exciting. Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur has wowed critics at times with a bag of trick plays, while Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has earned the hearts of fans. 

Even with everything going right for both clubs, supporters have been nervously waiting for the downfall of the Jets and Giants. The good news is that thanks to their rough year in 2021-22, the out-of-division schedule is easy. Former last place teams like the Seahawks (who are having a surprise season of their own), Lions, Bears, Texans, and Jaguars are on the upcoming schedule for one of, if not both of the New York teams. 

The unfortunate business is the division. Both eastern divisions are strong beyond the New York representatives. The Jets still have to play the Buffalo Bills, arguably the most talented team in the NFL, two times. Plus, the Jets will have to face the Dolphins again, probably with starter Tua Tagovailoa healthy. And don’t count out those pesky Patriots, either. 

Those undefeated Eagles also have a pair of matchups versus the Giants, and the Cowboys, the one team to beat the Giants, still have another game against them. 

Sadly for the Jets, the hits are already coming. The run game has been their strength on offense, and Hall will now miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Not only is Hall out, but so is star lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, down with a triceps injury. Since the end of the Eli Manning and Rex Ryan eras, these two franchises have dealt with an unbearable amount of adversity. If something were to stop them, it would take more than just a few injuries.