When was the last time that defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars equaled a meaningful win, much less a statement win?
The Jaguars were down for many years but roared back in a big way last season, coming a few plays away from defeating the New England Patriots for the right to go to the Super Bowl.
A trendy pick to represent the AFC in this year’s big game, the Jaguars boast perhaps the league’s best defense and an offense that features Leonard Fournette and some capable wide receivers.
So obviosuly, the Jags are going to come into MetLife and just roll right over the New York Giants, who are coming off a 3-13 season, right?
That’s what makes this game such a big one for the Giants. After a dismal season, the team has a new coach and a brand new, shiny toy in running back Saquon Barkley.
They also have Odell Beckham, fresh off signing his record deal. What if he could get the best of Jacksonville’s trash-talking cornerback, Jalen Ramsey? Though Ramsey is quick to criticize the players that share the field with him, he is one of the league’s most talented defenders. However, if OBJ can burn him for a touchdown, it could start to reverse the fortunes for both teams.
Despite what was expected out of these two teams last season, both did the exact opposite. The Giants were miserable; easily one of the league’s worst teams. But they get the Jags at home, a place where Jacksonville has never won.
A win for the Giants won’t come easily. It will require Eli Manning to be much better than the quarterback that registered a 45.4 QBR last season and was eventually benched. It will require Barkley to keep the Jaguars’ defense honest and it will require a great game being called by new head coach Pat Shurmur.
It’s the start of a new season and the NFL offers few, if any, guarantees. Should the Giants find a way to knock off the upstart Jags, they could start to erase all of what happened in 2017 with just one solid performance.