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Fact or Fiction: Giants vs. Jets rivalry; non-conference schedule


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

Giants vs. Jets is a rivalry

John Schmeelk: Fact – It is a rivalry on two different levels. The players live in the same area and do see each other at various events throughout the city, making bragging rights a real thing. But it is a bigger deal with fans through the lense of talk radio and social media. These two fan bases want their team to be getting the coverage and attention they deserve, and the result is sniping between the two groups over which team should have higher expectations and get more coverage. So even though they are in different conferences and only play once every four years, it matters more than any other random game against another AFC team.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Just ask Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, Brodney Pool, Rex Ryan … and Pat Hanlon.

Lance Medow: Fiction – When you play a team once every four years and aren't in the same conference, it's very hard to sell that as a rivalry. The Giants against the Cowboys, Eagles or Commanders is a rivalry. Those teams are within the NFC East and they meet twice a year with the reward of a division crown always on the line. An annual preseason game doesn't qualify as a rivalry, especially if there's absolutely nothing at stake. As far as bragging rights go, who exactly claims they won a preseason game to add substance to an argument?

Matt Citak: Fiction – The battle for MetLife Stadium feels more like a rivalry between fan bases than the actual teams. Although they meet every preseason, the Giants and Jets only go up against each other in the regular season once every four years - it hardly qualifies as a rivalry. But there is a caveat. The two teams have not been good simultaneously in a long time. With both teams seemingly on the rise, maybe that will spark a fire underneath this "rivalry." But until we actually see some rising tensions, Giants vs. Jets remains a tailgate rivalry more than an on-field rivalry.

View rare photos from the local rivalry between the Giants and Jets.

The Jets is the toughest interconference matchup on the Giants' schedule

John Schmeelk: Fiction – Playing at Buffalo, even in the middle of October is a bigger challenge than playing at MetLife Stadium in front of Giants fans against the Jets. The Jets are good and will be in the playoff, and perhaps even Super Bowl conversation, but the Bills are still one of the three best teams in the AFC with one of the NFL's three best quarterbacks at the peak of his powers. And the Bills do not share a potential debilitating weakness like the Jets have on the offensive line. Put the Jets slightly ahead of the Dolphins as the second-toughest matchup, only because the health of Tua Tagovailoa is always a question.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – The Bills have earned the benefit of the doubt on this one. There won't be many secrets heading into Orchard Park on Oct. 15.

Lance Medow: Fact – The AFC East showcases a lot of depth so you can make a strong case for several of those teams, but the Jets present the best case for a balanced attack with Aaron Rodgers now taking over under center. New York boasted the fourth-best scoring defense in the NFL last season and that unit is essentially returning with some reinforcements. Although the offensive line remains a question mark, Rodgers' presence alone upgrades that side of the ball as his decision making will go a long way in making that unit much more dangerous. We're talking about a future Hall of Famer, who has one of the best touchdown-to-interceptions ratios in league history. The Bills and Dolphins also have explosive offenses but you wouldn't put their defenses ahead of the Jets, which is why Robert Saleh's group gets the edge.

Matt Citak: Fiction – This one was close, but the Jets will be the second-toughest interconference contest behind Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday Night Football. The Bills have won the AFC East in three consecutive seasons, while racking up 13 wins in two of those three years. Aaron Rodgers provides the Jets with a monumental boost and don't be shocked if they win their division. But traveling to Orchard Park for a primetime matchup, in what will be Brian Daboll and Joe Schoen's first time back, is easily the pick - the atmosphere at Highmark Stadium that night is going to be electric.

Victor Cruz's three-TD game against the Jets in 2010 is your most memorable preseason moment

John Schmeelk: Fact – I remember almost nothing from preseasons. I remember the Cruz game, and for some reason, I recall a Corey Washington performance (against the Colts?) and there was a tie at some point which included some kind of Justin Trattou play? Maybe? In other words, I don't remember much, if any, preseason stuff, so this is an easy one for me.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – Something else pretty memorable happened in that same game, which was the first one played in New Meadowlands Stadium (now MetLife Stadium). Eli Manning took a hit that left a gash in his forehead, producing an iconic image of the Giants' ironman. "Initially, we were all concerned and scared," Giants center Shaun O'Hara was quoted after the game. "When you see a quarterback bleeding like that, it was something out of a Friday The 13th movie."


O'Hara was so concerned about his quarterback that he showed up to training camp the following week with a bandage on his head as an act of solidarity.

New York Giants center Shaun O'Hara wears a bandage during NFL football training camp in Albany, N.Y., on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010. The bandage is a mimic to one that Giants quarterback Eli Manning is wearing after suffering an injury in a pre-season game against the New York Jets. (AP Photo/Tom Canavan)

Lance Medow: Fact – I can reference some notable injuries that occurred in the preseason and debuts for players such as Eli Manning and Daniel Jones, but I don't see any of those topping Victor Cruz's trifecta against the Jets. He finished the preseason with an NFL-best 297 receiving yards and tied for the league lead with four touchdown receptions. An undrafted receiver out of UMass went from an unknown to a household name on the Giants' 53-man roster and caught the attention of opposing coaches, specifically the Jets' Rex Ryan. Even though he missed the entire 2010 campaign due to a hamstring injury and didn't post his breakout season until the following year, Cruz put his name on the map in that preseason game, setting the stage for what he produced in 2011.

Matt Citak: Fact – Cruz rocked a white No. 3 jersey and not only looked like an All-Pro receiver, but made backup quarterbacks Jim Sorgi and Rhett Bomar look like All-Pros that night. Despite not registering any stats during the 2010 season due to an injury, it was this preseason performance that led to Cruz making the team in 2011, when he caught 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns as a second-team All-Pro. The salsa-dancing, No. 80-wearing Super Bowl champion wide receiver Victor Cruz's legacy was born on this mid-August night.

The biggest story line to come out of training camp was the possibility of the Giants starting two rookie cornerbacks

John Schmeelk: Fact – This is a huge deal. Even though Tre Hawkins may not be on the field when the Giants are in base personal, he will be the third cornerback and play opposite Deonte Banks on a large majority of the team's defensive snaps. Playing two rookie cornerbacks is a bold plan that, historically speaking, doesn't have a high success rate. It doesn't mean it's the wrong move or that it won't work for these two players. Early returns have been excellent and Banks and Hawkins have earned those spots. But all rookies go through early season ups-and-downs and it will likely be no different for these two players. The key will be for them to keep their mistakes in front of them, and not let them fly over their heads when Wink Martindale puts them out there on an island.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Everyone was expecting one rookie to start back there after the Giants selected Deonte Banks in the first round. But two came out of nowhere. Tre Hawkins III has earned every rep he is getting with the first team, and if you can steal a starter at that position in the sixth round, it could have huge long-term benefits in Joe Schoen's roster-building process.

Lance Medow: Fact – Of all the developments in training camp regarding opportunities and playing time, most would say they didn't necessarily expect sixth-round pick Tre Hawkins to move up the depth chart so quickly and be in line for a potential starting role opposite fellow rookie Deonte Banks. Hawkins has capitalized on his practice reps and transferred his play into preseason games. The entire rookie class has been a significant story line, given John Michael Schmitz assuming the center role, Eric Gray as a return man and strong flashes from Jalin Hyatt and Jordon Riley.

Matt Citak: Fiction – You could go "fact" and extend the statement to the performance of the draft class as a whole, but let's go with the overall performance of Daniel Jones. Since practices began last month, Jones has had full command of the offense. It's clear the fifth-year quarterback is more confident going into Year 2 in the system, and that has translated to results on the field. Last weekend's game against the Panthers was the first time we saw Jones in action against another team, and the 26-year-old could not have looked better. Coming off his best campaign last year, Jones looks like he could take a big step in his development this season, which could take the offense to another level.

View photos of the New York Giants' 2023 roster as it currently stands.


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