They say it’s the city that never sleeps, and one can only assume that those operating under center in the Big Apple have had a few restless nights themselves during the 2013 NFL season.
With the festive season creeping up on us, you won’t find two more generous quarterbacks in such close proximity anywhere else in the league. The New York Giants‘ Eli Manning and New York Jets‘ Geno Smith are the gifts that keep on giving … and giving …
Though his team slipped to a last-gasp defeat against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12, Manning was thankful for small mercies as he finally managed to shake the ‘most-intercepted quarterback’ tag that he has been carrying for the past three months. Manning went interception-free for only the third time this season, while Smith was offering up two picks (and his fifth in two games) to the Baltimore Ravens to take the lead in the race that nobody wants to win.
Manning may have shaken the monkey from his back for now, though he was still ultimately uninspiring in defeat and did manage to set another season record as part of the fewest passing yards recorded by an offense against the Cowboys this season. Manning offered just 174 yards through the air in the pivotal NFC East clash, a number that trumped the combined efforts of Philadelphia Eagles trigger men Nick Foles and Matt Barkley from Week 7.
All of this came against a then-32nd-ranked Cowboys passing defense that was allowing 313 passing YPG this season.
Gang Green have gone from one extreme to the next this season, though they did finally snap that win-loss pattern that has played out perfectly this season. The Jets were wildly out of sorts in a worrying 19-3 loss to the Ravens, the first time this season they have lost two consecutive games. Smith has thrown a league-leading 18 interceptions this season and has the lowest quarterback rating of those that have started 10 or more games to boot.
At least Geno has his age and inexperience as viable excuses for his misfortune — it’s not as if he’s a two-time Super Bowl MVP or anything …
Despite their shortcomings, the race for the postseason is still on for the Jets, who are among a host of teams in the AFC with a 5-6 record. The Giants, on the other hand have slipped two games off the pace after giving up the double to their bitter rivals this season. With just five games left on the regular season schedule, the hill is getting steeper by the week.
Realistically, neither team will be in the running when the deadwood has been filtered out this season. With a combined record or 9-13 on the season, it’s probably safe to start assuming that there will be no home-field advantage when the greatest show on earth rolls into East Rutherford in February of next year.