Aerial image of Metlife Stadium prior to Superbowl XLVIII kickoff Photo courtesy of Anthony Quintnano / Wiki Commons
The New York Jets and the New York Giants have both been off to an incredible start this season. The Giants are currently 6-2, and the Jets are now 6-3 after their upset win against the Buffalo Bills. Both teams were considered bottom feeders of the league last year, and many expected them to stay in the basement for years to come. But now, both teams are looking like hard matchups for anyone. What led to the sudden change? It seems that the coaching staffs of both teams are responsible for this unheard of growth this year.
Giants head coach Brian Daboll is in his first year as head coach, but he’s been coaching like a veteran so far. Daboll has been a massive part of the Giant’s success so far this season, and a lot of it is properly using Saqoun Barkley. Daboll knows that Daniel Jones is probably not the team’s future at the quarterback position, and the Giants receiving core has left a lot to be desired. But, by coaching up the Giants’ talented defense, Daboll has been able to control the pace of every game. And when Daboll and the Giants can control the football, Saqoun Barkley can take over. Barkley has struggled since he joined the Giants in the 2018 draft, but he has been on fire this year. He finally seems to have recovered from his torn ACL that he suffered in 2020. Now that he has recovered, Daboll is using him often as the backbone of the offense. Several times this year already, Daboll ran a wildcat play with Barkley on crucial third and fourth downs to massive success. With his outstanding coaching and a stout defense, the Giants have been able to overcome their issues at quarterback and wide receiver, indicating that this team could be very scary in just the next few years.
The Jets, however, are even more ahead of schedule. Head coach Robert Saleh has been able to take this Jets defense to the next level, and the offense seems to finally be clicking. The year started out a little rough for the Jets without Zach Wilson, the number two pick in the 2021 NFL draft, and the team’s hopeful franchise QB. Wilson spent the first few weeks of the season sitting out with a torn meniscus in his right knee. Since he’s been back, the Jets have been red-hot, going 5-1, and they have shown no signs of slowing down. After the Jet’s brutal loss to the Patriots in week eight, many had the Bills winning their game against the Jets at MetLife in week nine. But against all odds, the Jets upset the Bills 20-17 thanks to a stout performance by the defense, and Wilson not turning the ball over. The Jets strong defense is complemented by their focus on the run on offense, which makes Zach Wilson’s life much easier as well. There were a lot of questions about the Jets at the start of this year, but it seems that Saleh has finally created that tough defense the Jets have been looking for since he was hired. Now, all the Jets have to do is keep playing their style, and allow Wilson to develop more confidence. Once he’s ready to fully take the reins on offense, the Jets could very well be looking at a deep playoff run.
The New York football teams, outside of the Bills, have been the laughing stock of the league for quite some time. But now, it seems that both New York teams are getting the last laugh, and both of these teams should only get better as the season goes on.