Ashraf: New York Jets & Giants Weekly Column: Preseason Edition


GIANTS: Is Saquon Playing?

Football is back in East Rutherford. 

The New York Giants will host the Denver Broncos this Sunday for their season opener at 4:25 p.m. EST. 

Giants fans are anxious to see their team back on the field, but the injury bug has taken them out before the season has even started. The biggest concern for New York is the availability of superstar running back Saquon Barkley.

Barkley hasn’t played since Week 2 of last season due to a major knee injury that he suffered. Head coach Joe Judge told reporters he wanted to see how he looks after Wednesday’s practice before making a decision about him playing. 

Now, if Barkley can go, he will have to deal with the struggle of the Giants’ offensive line. Throughout preseason and training camp, the storylines have been that the Giants’ offensive line is just simply not good.

“It’s funny — sometimes the assessments on the outside don’t really have the entire picture at hand and understanding all the other 10 pieces that go together,” Judge said on Monday.

If that is true, it’s still a big question mark how this starting offensive line will be — and if they’ll hold up for Daniel Jones at quarterback. 

The Giants are going up against a tough Broncos team, but they have enough firepower to get this win with ease at MetLife Stadium if some of the guys can get healthy for Sunday’s game. 

JETS: Wilson vs. Darnold

The New Era of football begins for the New York Jets this Sunday. 

Robert Saleh plays his first regular season game as a head coach as the New York Jets travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers this Sunday at 1:00pm EST. 

This game is obviously the first game of the season, but it has so much more importance to it. On opening day, the Jets will be facing Sam Darnold at quarterback — who they traded this past offseason and drafted rookie Zach Wilson. All eyes will be on the quarterbacks as they start their regular season dueling each other right off the bat. 

Now, we all enjoy a quarterback battle, but there are certain battles in this one that might dictate the result of this game. 

Panthers Offensive Line vs. Jets Defensive Line

To start off with the Jets, they need to win the defensive line battle. The Panthers are missing lots of starters on the offensive line and with the latest news of guard John Miller being ruled out for this game due to being put on the  COVID-19 list.

The Jets lost Carl Lawson and Vinny Curry for the season but the defensive line remains the best position group for them. If they want to win this game, they will need to get to Darnold and put him under pressure. 

Panthers Wide Outs vs. Jets Defensive Backs

Obviously the Jets offense has to do their part by giving them a shorter field, but if the Jets are not able to get to Darnold, this Panthers offense could thrive against this young inexperienced Jets defense. 

Robby Anderson, who is also a former Jet, will be playing his first regular season game with his old quarterback. Anderson, D.J. Moore, and Terrace Marshall are a real test for this young Jets secondary.

The storyline regarding the Jets this training camp is what they will do at the cornerback position. In the past, the Jets would have brought in a veteran presence but instead of doing that they released Bless Austin, the most experienced corner in their locker room. 

Coach Saleh has preached to give the young guys all the reps. Now, this is their chance to get some real experience against some top notch wideouts and of course deal with the presence of superstar running back Christian McCaffery on the other side of the ball. 

This game has all the drama. It will be a showdown at Bank of America Stadium this Sunday.

For comments/questions about this story, tweet @TheWhitOnline.