Inside the Jets-Giants matchup

December, 23, 2011
12/23/11
6:00
AM ET
Here we go: Armageddon.

Let's take a closer look at the football game that has everybody buzzing in our little corner of the world, with help from ESPN Stats & Information:

DEEP THOUGHTS: The Giants are giving up a ton of big plays in the passing game, about three per game in the 20+ category. The question is, can the Jets exploit that with Mark Sanchez making the throws?

Sanchez has struggled with his long ball, having completed only 10 passes of more than 20 yards in the air. In fact, he's only 4-for-24 when targeting Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress.

Sanchez Passing 21+ Yards Downfield

Comp pct ... 25.6 ... 27th
Yds/att ....... 7.6 .... 31st
TD ............... 3 ....... t-16th

Among 32 qualified quarterbacks

FOUR PLAY: The Giants are known as a team that can generate plenty of pass rush with their front four. DE Jason Pierre-Paul is having a terrific year, but that hasn't been a cure-all.

The Giants' defense is allowing 8.1 yards per pass attempt when sending four or fewer pass rushers (fourth- worst in NFL), and have allowed 17 passing touchdowns (tied for fifth-worst).

If the Jets can get solid pass protection from their tackles, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Wayne Hunter, they should have opportunitiues to make plays.

GREENE IT: The Giants are going to have some problems with RB Shonn Greene. He has elevated his game over the last four games, averaging 4.8 per carry and 2.3 yards after contact. In his first 10 games, Greene averaged 3.9 and 1.8, respectively.

In recent weeks, the Giants haven't been very stout against the run, contributing to their annual late-season crash. They've allowed an average of 128 yards on the ground during their current 1-5 slump.

BEST ON BEST: Giants QB Eli Manning has developed into one of the elite downfield passers in the league. But the Jets have one of the best vertical pass defenses. Hmm, something has to give.

Manning Passing 21+ Yards Downfield

Comp pct .... 44.4 ... 5th
Yds/att ....... 16.3 .... 5th
TD ................ 10 ..... t-1st
INTs ............. 4 ....... t-4th most

Jets’ Pass Defense, Throws 21+ Yards Downfield

Comp pct .... 23.4 ... 1st
Yds/att ...... 9.0 ....... 3rd
TD .............. 3 ........ t-3rd
Int .............. 4 ........ t-8th

GOOD HANDS PEOPLE: That would be the Jets; the Giants are second in the NFL with 28 dropped passes, one behind the league-leading Browns. Here's a Jets-Giants comparison:

Jets ..... 434 targets ... 14 drops ... 1 drop/31 targets
Giants .. 508 targets ... 28 drops ... 1 drop/18 targets

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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