At its worst, analyzing preseason statistics is a fool's errand. At its best, it is only an imperfect predictor of what lies ahead. Which way for the Jets' pass defense against the Giants? One thing is certain: Yielding 56 net passing yards to the blue team was historically amazing.
As we tweeted during the game, that yardage was the best by a Jets pass defense in the preseason since the franchise's very first game as a member of the NFL. In the 1970 summer opener, the Jets held Buffalo, with James "Shack" Harris starting at QB, to 51 net pass yards in a "home game" played at Legion Field in Birmingham, AL.
No question the Giants on Saturday were playing short-handed with QB Daniel Jones watching while RB Saquon Barkley and first-round WR Kadarius Toney were out rehabbing. But Jets DL Quinnen Williams also sat out with his foot injury and edge rusher Carl Lawson was in for three defensive snaps.
Then there's the whole first-preseason-game dynamic. The Jets' first defense had exactly 11 plays against the Giants' not-first-offense. Six of the plays were passes, one was a sack. Net passing yards in the first quarter: 2 yards.
"We did pretty well," S Marcus Maye said from Green Bay this week. "It was good for us, a good test run."
There have been better regular-season games of pass defense for the Green & White, but not many recently. The Jets have had five games of less than 58 yards allowed since 2000, with the best being Cincinnati's zero net yards in the 2009 "Win And We're In" game and the most recent being Arizona's 56 yards in 2012. The franchise mark: minus-4 yards allowed at New England in 1982.
We revisit this statistic one last time because there just doesn't seem to be a repeat in store at Green Bay on Saturday afternoon. With backup QB Jordan Love coming back from a sore throwing shoulder, Aaron Rodgers worked during the joint practices with the Jets but isn't expected to play at all this preseason. But Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Marquez Valdes-Scantling, three of Rodgers' favorite receivers from 2018-20 (Cobb has returned to Titletown after two years away) are ready after sitting out their summer opener.
The last time Rodgers played 60 minutes vs. the Jets, he also worked overtime, at MetLife Stadium in 2018, when he completed 37 of 55 for 442 yards (413 net yards after deducting 29 yards on four sacks) in the Packers' 44-38 OT win.
We suspect the Pack's quarterbacks will not rack up 413 net yards again on Saturday. We also suspect the Jets won't hold them to 56 yards. But continued improvement in the passing defense will be greatly appreciated.
Multitude of Receivers
One last bit of accounting from Jets-Giants. Were you keeping track of the number of different Jets pass-catchers in the game? Did you lose count?
For the game, they featured 17 different receivers with at least one catch. Since 2000, that's the Jets' most individual receivers in a game, pre-, regular or postseason. Researching pre-2000 on this stat gets a little harder but not impossible, but what's the point? In two decades plus of all games, that's the most.
Now 12 of those pass-catchers had exactly one reception, and only Denzel Mims and Vyncint Smith (both with nice preseason debuts) had as many as three. So it would be hard to draw any early conclusions that Zach Wilson and his fellow QBs will have a wide variety of sure-handed targets to play pitch and catch with this season. But it's something for us to monitor.
See All of the Top Images from Saturday's 12-7 Preseason Win Against the Giants