We are well into the NFL season, and two of the biggest surprises of the year stem from East Rutherford, New Jersey: The New York Giants and the New York Jets. Both teams in the NYC area have exceeded all expectations. The Jets are coming out of a bye week, having last taken down a Super Bowl contender in the Buffalo Bills, boasting a 6-3 record. The Giants are also thriving, racking up a 7-2 record. While the quarterbacks for each team, Zach Wilson for the Jets and Daniel Jones for the Giants, are far from each squad’s best player, they have also played well enough, managing the offense and getting the job done when it counts. This begs the question: Who would you rather have lead your team? Sports Editor Jonathan Synott and Staff Writer Evan Rodriguez debate in this week’s Point/Counterpoint.
Jon: This may be a hot take of sorts, but I believe firmly in Wilson’s capabilities. He’s had some bust-caliber performances, sure. The four-pick performance in 2021 against the Patriots in particular comes to mind. But the kid is still very young at 23-years-old, and has flashed the high ceiling seen by the minds at 1 Jets Drive before the team selected him No. 2 overall in 2021. Both he and the team have come alive in the fourth quarter, boasting an NFL-best 9.3 points per game in the last period. Against the Steelers in Week 4, Wilson got the ball with just over 13 minutes to go, down 10 points on the road. 10 completions of 12 passes for 128 yards and a passing touchdown later, the Jets got a much-needed victory. Wilson is an emerging star for the team, and is getting better by the week. He outplayed division rival Josh Allen in Week 9 in a game where he looked very comfortable, going 18-for-25 for 154 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. Wilson didn’t throw a ton, but then again, he didn’t need to, with the Jets needing a perfect game manager to complement the run game. The BYU product fits that role and his talents are sure to progress to help out the Jets further.
Evan: If we’re talking about the future for Wilson, I wouldn’t say I’m convinced just yet on him. However, with the season that Jones is having currently, I’m taking him in a heartbeat at this moment. If you take a look at the personnel that Jones is throwing too, they are not elite receivers. The team’s leading receiver is Darius Slayton and even with the talent deficit at receiver, Jones is still making it work. He’s got the 8th highest QBR in the league while having just two interceptions, the best mark in the NFL. Jones has shown his mobility with 387 rushing yards to be a dual threat quarterback if the team needs him to be that. Wilson doesn’t come close to the mobility of Jones, while having five interceptions on the season. He may have had more receiving yards if he had played the entire season, but then it goes back to the talent that Wilson gets to throw to every game. What if Daniel Jones had Garrett Wilson and Corey Davis to throw to every game? I think this conversation would be even more in favor of Daniel Jones with the work he has shown on the football field under new coach Brian Daboll. Sure, this conversation may be different a few years from now. But, the question was who we would rather have leading our team right now, and for this year, I’m picking Danny Dimes.
Jon: Sure, let’s talk about quarterback help. The Giants are led by running back Saquon Barkley, one of the best in the game. Week in and week out, opponents are focused on stopping Barkley as priority number one, not Jones or the receiving core. This gives more opportunity to shine. With Jets star RB Breece Hall out for the year, Wilson doesn’t have the luxury of a top-three back to take the pressure off. Furthermore, let’s dive into the strength of schedule. Wilson has been through a gauntlet in his games this season, facing tough defenses like the Bills, Patriots and Dolphins, not to mention playing at Mile High against Denver. He is 5-1 as a starter and looks to get revenge against New England this week on the road. Jones, on the other hand, has had a much easier path, only facing the Titans, Cowboys, Ravens and Seahawks. In those tougher games, he is 2-2, throwing 63% (below average) with four touchdowns, two picks and three fumbles. Jones and the Giants are 5-0 against teams under .500, and I’m certain that when he faces quality competition after the bye, he will certainly not rise to the occasion like Wilson has been able to do.
Evan: Of course, I don’t disagree with you saying that Barkley is the star. There’s no doubt about that. However, let’s not act like the Jets don’t have a quality back in James Robinson to help replace some of the hole left by Hall. He’s going to get some attention from defenses with what he’s shown, especially early in the season with Jacksonville. Furthermore, I believe that the Jets record should give more credit to their defense over Zach Wilson’s production. Their defense has been one of the best in the NFL in 2022 and much better than the Giants. If we take away that superb Jets defense, Wilson’s record is going to look a lot different, especially against teams like the Bills who could do some serious damage with their offense. Also, I would disagree with the Giants schedule being “much easier” than the Jets. Even with the teams you just listed, the Titans nearly beat the Kansas City Chiefs, the Cowboys are 6-3 with a top tier defense, the Ravens beat the Jets and the Seahawks have been one of the more surprising teams in the NFL this season with a 6-3 record as well. The Seahawks loss alone is more due to the 2 fumbles by Giants punt returner Richie James, who gave a tough Seahawks offense two extra possessions. While Jones may not have played his best, that loss is not on him. Even teams like the Packers, who have played against the Giants, have been able to hang in there against teams like the Cowboys and beat them. You say that you’re certain that Jones will crumble against tougher teams, but with the help of Daboll and the Giants coaching staff, I believe that he’ll rise to the occasion and show how much better of a quarterback he is than Zach Wilson.