Column: What’s going on in the Meadowlands?

Cleveland Browns running back Duke Johnson (29) avoids a tackle by New York Jets cornerback Marcus Williams (20) as he scores a 41-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)

There are few certainties in football. Andy Reid will mismanage the clock, the Cleveland Browns will play poorly and New England will turn some no-name undrafted player into a pro bowler. It did seem to be certain that the New York Jets would be the worst team in the NFL this season but don’t look now, they’re sitting at 3-2. 

The Jets weren’t just supposed to be bad, they were supposed to be historically bad. Come on, a quarterback battle between Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg? Yuck. ESPN’s FPI gave the Jets a one percent chance of reaching the playoffs before the season even started. Now the Jets are in a three-way tie with Buffalo and New England for first place in the AFC East.

A betting man would say that the Jets’ luck ends Sunday when the Patriots come to town. But don’t tell McCown or the Jets that.

“You cannot ask for anything else than to be 3-2 and to go against 3-2 New England in a head-to-head matchup,” McCown told Neil Best of Newsday. “This is what it’s about. This is why you play the game.”

While the Jets have exceeded expectations, the other team that calls the Meadowlands home has had a nightmare of a season. The New York Giants are 0-5 despite the additions of Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram in the offseason.  The offense has been bad, and it is only going to get worse. The Giants averaged 16.4 points through the first five games after failing to score 30-plus points in 16 games last season.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts after throwing an interception to the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

In an almost impressive fashion, the Giants lost four wide receivers in Sunday’s loss to the San Diego Chargers. Sterling Shepard and Marshall both went down on one drive. Dwayne Harris came out with a fractured foot and star player Odell Beckham Jr. was helped off the field with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. It looks like both Beckham and Harris will be done for the season, while Shepard is considered “week to week” and Marshall will be out for multiple games.

Who do the Giants turn to now? Maybe the one bright side of Sunday’s loss was the emergence of Orleans Darkwa, who woke up a dormant Giants running game. The touches for Darkwa will obviously go up while Eli Manning will have to rely heavily on tight end Evan Engram now that there are only three active wide receivers on the roster.

It’s a combined 3-7 record for the Jets and Giants this season so far, I don’t see the Jets’ success continuing any longer are the Giants will not be improving anytime soon either. There are eleven regular season games left of this NFL season but for fans that call the Meadowlands home, it’ll probably feel a lot longer.


Connor Donahue is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering men’s ice hockey. He can be reached via email at connor.f.donahue@uconn.edu. He tweets @conn_donahue.