Preseason games rarely mean much, except maybe this one. A little that is.
Snoopy Bowl is here, the annual tradition of the New York Giants and the New York Jets battling each other at MetLife Stadium for the right to be called the best NFL team in New York…that is of course until Week 13 when these two teams play each other again.
But the game against the Giants always means a bit more for the Jets, as they face the indignity of being second-class citizens in the same market. The Giants are viewed as the choice of the high-brow, the more successful of the two NFL teams in the area and with the larger fan base. So playing the men in blue means a little bit more and carries more weight. Here are three things to watch in the Jets third preseason game:
Having missed the first two games of preseason with a concussion, wide receiver Chris Owusu was back on the field this week and making some plays. Before the concussion, Owusu looked like a virtual lock to make the team given the way he was performing in camp. But now in the third game of preseason, he gets a chance to state his case with a wide receiver depth chart that is deep and showing some serious young talent. In all likelihood, four receivers are a lock to make this team and Owusu, if he shows up like he did in those early days of camp, can make a very strong push to sneak onto the 53-man roster with the Jets likely to carry six receivers this year.
A Little MO-mentum
Like Owusu, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson will be making his preseason debut against the Giants this weekend. Unlike Owusu, Wilkerson is as close to a lock as they come on this roster. His hamstring has healed properly and he’s been practicing this week. It is important to get Wilkerson healthy and also fit for Week 1, meaning that he’ll get a fair share of snaps this weekend if only to get back into the rhythm and flow of game-speed. His return should help a pass rush that has looked rather ordinary through two preseason games.
Tight End Race
Hats off to tight end Jeff Cumberland, who has turned a good training camp into a spot on the first-team roster. His blocking continues to improve and he is a threat down the field, not a surprise since he was a former wide receiver in college turned tight end. But the rest of the position group is up in the air, with Kellen Davis, Art Lynch and Wes Saxton all looking to lock-in their spots on the roster with Jace Amaro still injured. This might be one of the more intriguing groups to watch as training camp ends and the team begins to make roster cuts.