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7 Things to Know About Jets-Giants on Friday

Posted Aug 20, 2014

Eric Decker & Dimitri Patterson Return, While Rex Ryan & Tom Coughlin Are All Knotted Up

It's summer, when "the games don't count." Yet it's also Preseason Week 3. That means it's time for the Jets and the Giants, MetLife Stadium's undefeated co-landlords, to duke it out in Friday night's MetLife Bowl. At stake: the Snoopy Trophy.

OK, that's important, but more important is that our starters have a little extra edge this week to help them in their final dress rehearsal for the 2014 season, since as we all know, the first team will rest next week at Philadelphia.

"I think the guys like each other and respect each other," head coach Rex Ryan said today of his side and Tom Coughlin's team, adding, "This game's usually a very physical game ... and you don't get to play each other very often. I think that amps it up a little bit."

Here are seven things to know about this year's 46th annual Jets-Giants preseason meeting:

1. Stacking the Deck

Geno Smith's been named the starting QB for the Green & White, and simultaneously, WR Eric Decker's quad has been given the green light to return. So one of the Jets' big offseason acquisitions will be able to polish his receiving and red zone skills (No. 1 WR with 18 RZ touchdowns the past two years with Denver) one last time against big-name corners Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the Giants secondary.

2. Corner Health

A concern for Ryan and Jets fans is the secondary. It's slowly getting better with word that starter Dimitri Patterson is returning to action.

"I got the green light from the staff and I'm practicing," said Patterson. "You want to get out there and play well. You want to, I guess, end on a good note, but how can you end on a good note when you're just beginning a season? But at the end of the day you want to play well, get into a rhythm."

No new word on CB Dee Milliner and his high ankle sprain. He'll have to work on his rhythm while he rehabs if he wants to return in time for the Sept. 7 opener vs. Oakland.

3. Competition Hotspots

The Jets are deep at wideout and corner, which means many players clawing away at each other to climb onto the back end of the roster ahead of next week's two cutdowns to 53.

Closer to the front end of the depth chart, can Darrin Walls convince Rex and DC Dennis Thurman they don't need to further experiment and can return Antonio Allen to safety while plugging Walls in behind the starters? And will Stephen Hill rise up to join Decker and Jeremy Kerley in the three-wide sets, or is David Nelson the one for that job?

Also watch Daryl Richardson vs. Alex Green. Will we keep four tailbacks? They're battling each other for the opportunity to fit that role behind our big three.

4. Penalty Watch

One might be tempted to say that all the training camp pushups didn't help since we were hit with 12 penalties for 133 yards at Cincinnati. Yet Ryan has fixed such overzealousness before, such as last year after Games 3-4. And Breno Giacomini explained on Jets Talk Live that there's good reason to want to find the penalty sweet spot in these last preseason games.

"We don't want to go out there and get penalties. That's not how we want to play, that's not how we want to be seen," Breno said. "But to go out there and fight the way we did was awesome. And you want to play through the whistle as an offensive lineman. It's not because you want to be tough. It's because of the backs we have. They'll break the tackles, they'll make those 80-yard touchdown runs."

5. Out of the Mouths of Babes

You didn't think Rex was going to let stand Giants rookie RB Andre Williams' Tuesday comment that "I think the Giants are the real New York team," did you?

"The last time I saw him, he was getting smoked by Clemson," Ryan said today, smiling but firing back at the former Boston College back. "I will say that the kid's a good back, though. Is anybody going to tackle him? But I have a funny feeling he's going to get some Riddells put on him." That's Riddells as Jets helmets attached to good, clean hitters in green.

6. Special Role Reversal

It will be a special night for Thomas McGaughey, who before he became our special teams coordinator, spent four seasons on Coughlin's Giants staff as assistant ST coach from 2007-10.

So there will be a few bro hugs and fist bumps before and after this game for T-Mac. But one in-game matchup will have to wait. After the Giants, McGaughey moved to LSU and developed Odell Beckham Jr., who scored three special teams touchdowns under him. One of McGaughey's jobs on Friday night was to keep Beckham out of the end zone. But the Giants' first-round rookie has been ruled out due to his lingering hamstring injury.

7. Breaking the Tie

Of course it's most important to win games in the regular season, and the Giants hold that edge on the Jets, 8-4. But it's remarkable to consider that when you add our 24-20-1 advantage in the preseason, the record between these rivals and stadium mates is knotted at 28-28-1. What's more, Rex is 3-3 in all games against the Giants and Coughlin is 6-6 in all games vs. the Jets. So Friday's result will put the winners in the rivalry's driver's seat. At least until a year from now.




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