The Jets (3-3) will be trying to extend their winning streak to three games when they face the Giants (2-5) in an "away" game for the Green & White at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
The Jets have had a week off to digest the results of their first six games while looking ahead to the next 11. Although the Giants lead the crosstown rivalry series, 8-6, the Jets have won the past two games, most recently in 2019. And for the Jets, the game will be an opportunity to again win bragging rights, but perhaps more importantly, to win a game after the bye for the first time in the tenure of HC Robert Saleh, who is now in his third season.
"I'm excited, it happens once every four years, maybe a crossover with the 17th game," Saleh said on Wednesday. "It's cool for the fans, good for sports-talk radio and all the newspaper outlets. It's a championship opportunity. I have a lot of respect for them, they have a lot of history.
"I think it [the local rivalry] is fun. It's my first experience, I'll let you know how I feel about it after the game."
The Giants' defense, under the direction of DC Wink Martindale, is second in the NFL in blitz rate (45.8% of the time). The league average is 29.6%. Last week, their defense held Washington to a single TD and the week before, in a 5-point loss at Buffalo, held the Bills to 14 points.
"They're playing a lot better," Saleh said, referring to the Giants defense. "I definitely have so much respect for Wink. They've been making it. They gave San Francisco all they could handle [in a 30-12 loss]. They're playing at a high level, the windows are tight, they're putting pressure on the quarterback, good in the run game. Saquon [Barkley] is back and a big part of the offense, they're getting [TE Darren] Waller involved, and it seems like they've been moving the ball. I think it's a team close to lighting up the scoreboard."
That might be, but the Giants' quarterback for Sunday's game could be Daniel Jones, who has missed time with a neck injury, or his backup Tyrod Taylor. Whomever the QB is, the Giants are last in the league, scoring only 12.1 points a game.
"They both are similar, they both are very good with their feet keeping plays alive," Saleh said. "They're good in timing and rhythm. For us it's going to be the same."
The Giants defense has logged 11 sacks this season and will be facing a Jets offensive line that has been affected by injuries to Alijah Vera-Tucker, rookie Joe Tippmann and veteran Duane Brown. That means that the right side of the Jets' O-line could be held down by backups Wes Schweitzer and Max Mitchell. Keeping Zach Wilson clean is always the goal.
"They come from everywhere and anywhere all the time," Saleh said. "They present looks that are similar throughout the game. Communication will be key and we're going to be presented with a 1-on-1 matchup. Wink's got a reputation of pressure, pressure, pressure, but he does a good job mixing it all up. It's going to be a challenge for everybody."
Saleh added, speaking about injuries on the O-line: "It's always an issue, especially on the O-line. Wes stepped in and did a nice job against Philly. I feel good about where we are. Depth is always going to be an issue. I was talking to Hack [OC Nathaniel Hackett] about it. It's fascinating from an O-line standpoint. It's not just us, everyone is dealing with it. Maybe it's a lack of practice time. It's one position where practice is super important. It's always frustrating, but we're not the only ones."
In terms of injuries heading into Sunday's game, Robert Saleh said that rookie OL Joe Tippmann (quad) would not practice on Wednesday and that WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) would also sit out "from a veteran standpoint." ... Neither CB D.J. Reed nor Sauce Gardner, both of whom missed the Eagles game, have yet to clear the concussion protocol. ... OL Duane Brown (shoulder) "looks good," Saleh said, but will be held out another week before possibly being activated ahead of the Monday night game against the Chargers on Nov. 6.
Saleh said that RB Dalvin Cook"looked better running the ball against Philadelphia." Cook has carried the ball 39 times for 109 yards. "I do think he's getting better, getting his legs, running better with more violence and hopefully can springboard. It could be a good 1-2 punch with Dalvin and Breece [Hall.]"