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Game of the Week: Giants at Jets
It may be the biggest metropolitan area in the country, but Gotham's bragging rights can be possessed by just one pigskin company. Add in playoff implications for both teams to fan the flames of the New York football rivalry and you have all the makings of an instant classic. The Battle of the Big Apple between the Giants and Jets serves as our WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.
The Jets enter Saturday's contest with a slight edge over Cincinnati for the final AFC Wild Card spot, owning a tie breaker over the Bengals based on best win percentage in common games. Yet even with this advantage, the Jets will hardly walk into MetLife Stadium this weekend with their usual infamous swagger. After winning three straight contests, the Jets were manhandled by the Eagles in Week 15 to the tune of 45-19. With a matchup against the formidable Dolphins looming in the season finale, Gang Green has little room for error.
Not that there isn't hope for Rex Ryan's squad. Following a breakout performance in the 2009 playoffs, Shonn Greene was envisioned as the franchise's future backfield mate with fellow draftee Mark Sanchez. Alas, the following season delivered little fruition to this claim, as the Iowa product was so-so in split time with LaDainian Tomlinson. And through September of the current campaign, this trend seemed to continue, with Greene posting a pedestrian 134 yards in three games on the month.
Yet the onset of October delivered a more nimble and agile back, with Greene gaining 807 yards on 184 carries (4.39 yards per attempt) in that time span. This fulfillment has revitalized a stagnant Jets ground game, and helps alleviate the erratic tendencies of Sanchez and the passing attack.
The G-Men lay on the opposite end of the offensive spectrum. Injuries to Ahmad Bradshaw and inconsistent play from Brandon Jacobs have led to a dormant rushing assault, one that ranks last in the league with 86.1 yards per game. Luckily for the Giants, Eli Manning has taken the next step to becoming an elite quarterback. The "same echelon as Tom Brady" talk may have been a tad premature, and Manning is certainly still capable of an unreliable game or two (as illustrated by three interceptions in Week 15's loss to the Redskins), but the former first overall pick has submitted his finest season to date. In just 14 contests, Manning has a career-high in passing yards (4,362), owns a 91.7 QB rating (second only to his 93.1 mark in 2009), and has cut down his propensity of picks (15 interceptions on the season, down from 25 a year ago). He may never live up to his big brother's accomplishments, but Giants fans have to feel assured with Manning under center.
So who wins this clash of NYC football titans? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the Jets come out on top 60.1 percent of the time by an average margin of 24-20. For the rest of this week's scores, check below:
Please note: The Browns/Ravens, Bears/Packers, Rams/Steelers and Jaguars/Titans games were resimulated on 12/22 to account for injuries and roster updates.
NFL Week 16
|@ Baltimore Ravens||81.2||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Green Bay Packers||78.5||26||Simulate Game|
|St. Louis Rams||24.7||14||Boxscore|
|@ Pittsburgh Steelers||75.3||24||Simulate Game|
|@ New England Patriots||72.0||27||Simulate Game|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||34.2||24||Boxscore|
|@ Carolina Panthers||65.8||28||Simulate Game|
|New York Giants||39.9||20||Boxscore|
|@ New York Jets||60.1||24||Simulate Game|
|@ Tennessee Titans||58.6||21||Simulate Game|
|@ Dallas Cowboys||56.8||22||Simulate Game|
|@ New Orleans Saints||55.3||27||Simulate Game|
|@ Cincinnati Bengals||53.1||20||Simulate Game|
|San Diego Chargers||47.1||24||Boxscore|
|@ Detroit Lions||52.9||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Washington Redskins||51.4||21||Simulate Game|
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||49.2||20||Simulate Game|
|@ Buffalo Bills||44.4||18||Simulate Game|
|San Francisco 49ers||77.0||21||Boxscore|
|@ Seattle Seahawks||23.0||12||Simulate Game|
|@ Indianapolis Colts||21.8||16||Simulate Game|
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