Jets and Giants set for final playoff run

Three weeks ago the Jets and Giants were both coming off disappointing losses and playoff hopes seemed dim for both teams. But now the Jets have won three straight and the Giants are coming off a win against their division rivals the Cowboys and going into week 15, both teams control their own playoff destinies. The Giants play the Washington Redskins, a team they lost to on opening day while the Jets travel to Philadelphia to face a talented Eagles team playing just for pride.

Everyone expected the worst after the Jets lost in the last seconds to Tim Tebow’s Broncos, but the Jets pulled out two last minute wins against the Bills and the Redskins and blew out the injury riddled Chiefs last week, and thanks to losses by the Bengals and the Titans, now control the sixth seed in the AFC playoffs. The Jets will most likely not win the division like Rex Ryan promised in August, but after the way the season started, they will be more that happy with any playoff spot they get.

The Eagles are a team with enough talent that they were being called a dream-team going into the season, but the Eagles never put it all together and come into week 15 at 5-8. Runningback LeSean McCoy has been one of the best in the NFL all season and the have other potent offensive weapons including quarterback Michael Vick and receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson will find himself opposite Darelle Revis while Vick will see Rex Ryan’s usual dose of exotic blitzes.

The key to victory will be simple for the Jets: running the ball effectively while preventing the Eagles from doing so. Running the ball well will make passing the ball easier for Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez who has been plying much better lately throwing for 7 touchdowns and only 1 interception. His better play has coincided with three good games from runningback Shonn Greene including a 3 TD day against the Redskins. Not surprisingly, Greene and Sanchez’s good play has led to 3 consecutive wins. If Sanchez can avoid turnovers and the Jets offensive line can create holes for Shonn Greene, then the Jets should continue winning and keep their playoff spot.

After a blocked field goal to finish off the Cowboys on Sunday night, the Giants face another division rival, and with the Cowboys facing the Buccaneers, another must-win game. With Eli Manning having maybe his best year ever, the Giants offense should be able to move the ball against an average Redskins defense. Pro-bowl cornerback DeAngelo Hall will most likely match up against Hakeem Nicks which will leave Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham against the weaker part of the Redskins secondary especially with starting safety LaRon Landry out for Sunday’s game.

The big task for the Giants defense will be keeping up with Redskins tight end Fred Davis. The Giants have the fourth worst passing defense in the league, but did succeed in holding Cowboys tight end Jason Witten to 3 catches for 12 yards. The Giants will once again need a solid pass rush from their front four which got to Tony Romo three times last week even without Pro-bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora. Umenyiora is listed as doubtful for this week, but second year defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has become one of the most feared pass rushers in the league with 12.5 sacks on the season. Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman is known for turning the ball over consistently, and getting constant pressure will make it a tough day for Grossman and a good day for Giants fans.

Projected scores:

Jets 27, Eagles 21
Giants 31, Redskins 10

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