Jets and Giants fight for playoff spots as season moves towards end

This past weekend left a lot to be desired for both New York City area football teams. The Giants faced off against the division rival Washington Commanders in a matchup that had major playoff implications. Despite that, the game ended in a tie with the final score being 20-20. 

The quarterback matchup was between Taylor Heinicke of the Commanders, who completed 27 of his 41 pass attempts for 275 yards and two touchdowns, and Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, who completed 25 of his 31 pass attempts for 200 yards and one touchdown. 

Rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr. got the bulk of the carries in the Commanders’ backfield, rushing 21 times for 96 yards, averaging an impressive 4.6 yards per carry. Antonio Gibson also had nine carries for 39 yards. Rushing, which has been a key part of the offense for the Giants this season, was split between Jones who had 12 carries for 71 yards and Saquon Barkley who had 18 carries for 63 yards. Despite only averaging 3.5 yards per carry, Barkley’s impact was still felt as he had a 13-yard touchdown.  

Through the air, Terry McLaurin got the scoring started early with his touchdown catch in the first quarter, breaking a tackle from Giants cornerback Fabian Moreau. However, the Giants answered in the second quarter with an Isaiah Hodgins six-yard touchdown grab. Jahan Dotson, who had the game-tying touchdown grab, made his defender miss with a spin move that led to him scoring in the final minutes. 

Kicking was a big story in this game, as Joey Slye of the Commanders connected on two of his three attempts. For the Giants, kicker Graham Gano also went two for three on his field goals, his only miss coming on a 58-yard attempt that would have won the game in overtime as time expired. 

The New York Jets dropped a highly-contested game against the Minnesota Vikings by a final score of 27-23. The quarterback matchup between Kirk Cousins of the Vikings, who threw for 173 yards and a touchdown, and Jets quarterback Mike White, who threw for 369 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, disappointed fans who had hoped for more of a quarterback duel. 

Rushing was big for the Vikings as Dalvin Cook, who had 20 carries for 86 yards with a touchdown, and Alexander Mattison who had three carries for 14 yards and a touchdown, led the way offensively. The lead running back for the Jets was Zonovan Knight, who finished with 15 carries for 90 yards and one touchdown. White also rushed for a touchdown to keep the score close late. 

The Vikings’ most impactful receiver was Justin Jefferson who caught seven passes, including a 10-yard touchdown reception. For the Jets, the top target was rookie Garrett Wilson, who hauled in eight catches for 162 yards. Despite not being able to finish in the red zone effectively, the Jets were kept in this game by kicker Greg Zuerlein, who connected on all five of his field goal attempts.

The Giants’ next game is Sunday, Dec. 11 at home against the 11-1 Philadelphia Eagles at 1 p.m., while the Jets’ next game is also Sunday, Dec. 11 as the team travels to Buffalo to take on the division rival Bills.

Photo courtesy of Alexander Jonesi, Wikipedia.