W2W4: New York Jets

August, 22, 2014
8/22/14
12:00
PM ET
The New York Jets (2-0) face the New York Giants (3-0) in their annual preseason game Friday night at MetLife Stadium. The Jets are the home team; kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

1. Battle of New York: It's MetLife Bowl V -- or whatever the sponsors are calling it these days. At stake is the coveted Snoopy Trophy (try not to laugh), captured last year by the Jets in a game that will always be remembered for Mark Sanchez's shoulder injury. Most of the players will forget the score by next week, but, yeah, there's a little extra juice. Giants rookie Andre Williams, who doesn't know what he doesn't know, raised eyebrows at One Jets Drive by claiming the Giants are the "real team" in New York. The question is whether the Jets, who were out of control last week in Cincinnati (see: seven personal fouls), can keep their emotions in check. There's a fine line between toughness and thuggery, and Rex Ryan admits they crossed it a few times last week. This will be a good chance to show they can maintain their cool in a heated game.

2. Prepare for a pillow fight: The Jets' beleaguered secondary faces the Giants' utterly inept passing offense. By the end of the night, one unit could be wiping egg from its face. Cornerback Dimitri Patterson is likely to return, which helps from a depth standpoint, but he may not come back in a starting role. Frankly, it's hard to predict how they will line up because they're still mixing and matching -- and that's not a good thing. By now, you'd like to have your lineups set, letting the starters play into the second half, but the Jets still are doing the patchwork thing. Converted safety Antonio Allen and Ellis Lankster started last week, but the coaches want to give Darrin Walls a look. They're not committed to Allen at cornerback; he received lukewarm reviews in his debut. Want some good news? Impressive rookie safety Calvin Pryor will have an expanded role with the starters. They will face a quarterback, Eli Manning, who looks robotic and uncomfortable in his new West Coast offense.

3. Geno, then and now: Geno Smith was a jittery, overwhelmed rookie last summer against the Giants, throwing three interceptions. You hate to put too much emphasis on a preseason game, but this is his chance to show everyone he's not the same quarterback from a year ago. Smith needs a good, long touchdown drive against the Giants' starters, and he'll be able to call the preseason a success. In eight series, he has led the offense to two touchdowns and two field goals, but only one touchdown came against a starting defense -- and that was only a 19-yard drive. Wide receiver Eric Decker returns to the lineup, so look for a lot of Smith to Decker. The issue with Smith isn't whether he can nail down the starting job (he has); it's about developing cohesion with the rest of the unit and building confidence for the regular season. The starters won't play next week, so this is the final dress rehearsal.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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