Week 3 of the 2011 NFL preseason comes to a close Monday night with the New York Jets (1-1) and New York Giants (1-1) clashing helmets at MetLife Stadium on the NFL Network. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 EST.
The New York Jets bounced back nicely from a 20-16 road loss to the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football in Week 1 to pick up a 27-7 win over the Cincinnati Bengals as 6.5-point home favorites on Aug. 21.
This particular game has been rescheduled two times due to Hurricane Irene that passed through the New York-New Jersey area over the weekend.
It was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday—moved to 2 p.m. on the same day—before moving to its current slot.
The Jets will be playing the Giants for the 43rd straight preseason and lead the series, 22-19-1. Head coach Rex Ryan’s team was handed a 31-16 defeat in the opening week of last year’s exhibition season despite out-gaining the Giants by a 362-353 margin.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has looked sharp in the early going—completing 66.7 percent of his passes for 216 yards and tossing two touchdowns versus no interceptions.
Arguably his biggest throw of the preseason came in the second quarter last week—connecting with wide receiver Plaxico Burress on a 26-yard scoring strike. The newly signed wideout—formally of the Giants—ended the night with three receptions for 66 yards.
The New York Giants know that tonight’s contest is simply a dress rehearsal for when the teams meet in the 15th game of the season on Dec. 24, but it’s an important contest for head coach Tom Coughlin from an evaluation standpoint.
Giants’ starters are expected to play 30-to-35 plays and quarterback Eli Manning will be followed up by backup David Carr. It’s not known at this time if Sage Rosenfels will be available to serve as the No. 3 option under center due to battling illness.
Playing time for all players will be an interesting storyline for this contest with both teams scheduled to play their preseason finales on Thursday. That type of turnaround allows just two days and only a single practice to get ready for the final week of exhibition play.
Both head coaches may take a more cautious approach as the game wears on due to this intra-city rivalry producing some injuries over the years—including Jason Sehorn, Chad Pennington and Osi Umenyiora.
Recreational players may be tempted to take the home underdog in this contest—but professionals will be quick to point out that tonight’s venue offers little edge to either side.
Bettors will likely back the Jets due to their 6-4 against-the-spread mark over the last two-plus preseasons, while the Giants are 3-6 ATS over the same span.
It’s also important to note that the New York Jets have not had a losing preseason since 1996 and a win here would keep that streak alive. Hosting the Philadelphia Eagles on two days rest is not likely to turn out well.