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NY Giants (2-0) at NY Jets (1-1)

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JetNation.com the # 1 Jets fansite on the web today!By Chris Gardella
New York Giants (2-0) at New York Jets (1-1)
KICKOFF: Friday, 8:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 08/25/2006
TV: CBS-2 — Radio: 1050ESPN, 770 WABC
 
2005 RANKINGS: Giants: offense 4th (6th rush, 11th pass); defense 24th (12th rush, 27th pass). Jets: offense 31st (31st rush, 28th pass); defense 12th (29th rush, 2nd pass)
 
Eric Mangini’s New York Jets play host to Tom Coughlin’s New York Giants this Friday at the Meadowlands.  Both coaches hope the game will yield answers to some questions surrounding their respective teams. The Jets’ staff has spent their first training camp reordering the depth-chart, employing a “may the best man win� type philosophy in determining who starts and who doesn’t. Despite being two weeks away from opening kickoff, the Jets have several positions that are still up for grabs.
Unwilling to reveal his depth chart, the quarterback “competition,� as Eric Mangini so eloquently put it, appears to be over with Chad Pennington as the unambiguous winner. Despite his mundane performance in week 1 of the preseason, Pennington appears to have won the starting job not based on exquisite on-field performance, but on the dismal performance of his counterparts. His experience, smarts, and leadership have put him head and shoulders above the field of competition, making the job his for the taking.
 
After missing last week’s game to be with his ailing father, Pennington will take the majority of the snaps with the 1st team offense this week against a revamped Giants defense. While the Giants’ front seven features Pro Bowl talents in Lavar Arrington, Michael Strahan, and Antonio Pierce, their secondary is questionable. If the Jets’ offensive line can keep Pennington on his feet, he’ll have a chance to pick the defense apart.
 
Pennington will play most of the 1st half while Patrick Ramsey, Brooks Bollinger, and Kellen Clemens handle back-up duties. The #2 quarterback position remains wide-open; a strong performance from any one of the three quarterbacks could win them the job.
 
Running against the Giants’ front seven won’t be easy for the Jets. Unsettled at running back, the Jets acquired Kevan Barlow to bolster the ground attack, but it’s unlikely that he’ll play much against the Giants. That means Derrick Blaylock and Cedric Houston will see the bulk of the carries as the coaching staff decides which of the two are in the team’s long-term plans. One of them may find themselves on the outs by the start of the regular season.
 
PREDICTION: Giants 24-13
 
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
Jets rookie T D’brickshaw Ferguson’s last big test before the start of the season comes in the form of Pro Bowl DE Osi Umenyoria, whom registered 14.5 sacks last season. The fleet footed Ferguson matches up well with the quick Umenyoria, which should be a fun battle to watch come Friday night.
 
Jets Rookie C Nick Mangold vs. Giants MLB Antonio Pierce: If the Jets are to have success running the ball against the Giants, Nick Mangold must reach the second layer of the defense and consistently occupy Pierce.
 
ON THE BRINK: 
WR Reggie Newhouse: The former Cardinal and NFL Europe standout has made a splash with Eric Mangini’s coaching staff. With a strong performance on Friday, he could find himself on the 53 man active roster.
 
DT Tui Alailfefaleula: With NT Sione Pouha’s season ending knee injury, the Jets are desperate for a big body to occupy blockers at NT in their 3-4 scheme: enter Tui Alailfefaleula, at 350 lbs. If Alailfefaleula can play more consistently in the next two weeks, he may earn himself a roster spot. 

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