The Jets-Giants preseason rivalry is not exactly Roman numerals-worthy. But with the stadium mates' 50th consecutive summer meeting since they first got it on in 1969 just ahead on Friday night (7:30 p.m. ET) at MetLife Stadium, it's still one "L" of an accomplishment (L of course equal to 50 in the aforementioned Roman numerals).
In fact, there is no other current NFL preseason series whose current streak of annual summer games comes close. The Chargers and 49ers have the next-longest streak, but theirs began almost two decades after the Jets crushed the Giants, 37-14, before 70,000-plus fans at the Yale Bowl on Aug. 17, 1969, seven months after Super Bowl III.
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But what's most important for the Green & White is how they are progressing through the third preseason game, regardless of the opponent. "We're not where we want to be right now," Jets HC Todd Bowles said, "but we're not where we were when we started. So we're just going to keep our heads down and keep grinding."
Here are four areas of interest as Jets vs. Giants approaches the opening kickoff.
1. Sam, Teddy & Josh
Bowles won't tell his QBs who's starting until tonight's meetings and fans won't find out till Friday. Todd's advice: "All three need to be ready to play." First-team practice reps this week suggest it could be rookie Sam Darnold again over Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown. But all Jets QBs will have a healthier first OL, WR corps and TE complement to work with into the second half. RB Isaiah Crowell should also return, and in last year's game RB Bilal Powell had four catches for 110 yards. FWIW, the Giants' pass defense is 30th in yards/game and 28th in yards/pass play this preseason.
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2. Jets D vs. Saquon? Odell?
It's not certain if the No. 2 pick of the draft, Giants RB Saquon Barkley, will take the field along with the No. 3 pick, Darnold, since Barkley has been working through a hamstring pull and was limited at Wednesday's practice. Jets run D, again without Steve McLendon, has been doing well so far. Odell Beckham Jr. is another "We'll see" from Giants HC Pat Shurmur. Whoever the Giants put on the field at WR will provide a good test for New Jack City, the Jets secondary that could have all four starters on the field for the first game this summer if S Marcus Maye gets the nod to join S Jamal Adams and CBs Morris Claiborne and Trumaine Johnson.
3. Special Questions
Jets ST coordinator Brant Boyer officially shifts his kicking focus from Cairo Santos, sidelined all summer by groin issues and released Wednesday, to newly signed vet Jason Myers against first-year man Taylor Bertolet. Can Myers kick himself into the job, especially with his KO touchback skills? Boyer on Bertolet: "All I know is the kid has done a heck of a job up to now." On returns, especially on punt returns, rookie Trenton Cannon could rejoin Andre Roberts and Lucky Whitehead in trying to nail down the job. Bowles on Cannon: "Hopefully in the next two weeks we'll get a better evaluation of him."
4. Summer Trivia
The Jets hold the summer lead, 25-23-1 (although the Giants have won the past two seasons, by one point each time, 21-20 in '16 and 32-31 last year). ... Big Blue still leads the regular-season series, 8-5 (although the Green & White prevailed in overtime, 23-20, in their last meeting in 2015). ... The series in the MetLife Bowl, which began with the 2011 preseason game in newly christened MLS, stands at Giants 4, Jets 3. ... Giants QB Eli Manning's passing line in his 13 preseason outings vs. the Jets: 125-of-235 for 1,315 yards, 3 TDs, 10 INTs and a 56.3 rating.