By: Anna Torok
New York fans were surely let down by an underwhelming Jets and Giants 2020 season. Hopefully next year they will be able to bring more wins to the Big Apple.
The disappointing Jets season that started with trading their star safety, Jamal Adams, has finally come to an end. Despite the trade, this was supposed to be the season in which the Jets take the next step and make the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons. Last year, they finished 7-9 and showed flashes of potential. In the offseason, they added new players to their offensive line, including 11th overall pick – Mekhi Becton. However, this season was worse than any Jet fan could have imagined.
The first game foreshadowed the rest of the season with a loss to their rivals, the Buffalo Bills. In fact, the Jets had a franchise record breaking thirteen straight losses to open the season, but nothing was more disappointing than quarterback Sam Darnold’s performance after lots of time and money was invested into him. In 2018, the Jets selected Darnold third overall, and since then he has not lived up to his lofty expectations. In fact, under “quarterback whisperer” Adam Gase, Darnold has actually regressed. He finished the 2020 season with 9 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Some will blame injuries as the stem of this disheartening steason. The Jets’ three starting receivers, Jamison Crowder, Denzel Mims, and Breshard Perriman all missed time this season.
While this season ended up being one of the worst in Jets history, there were a few promising players that made a name for themselves. Safety Marcus Maye was quick to fill in for Jamal Adams, and former third overall pick Quinnen Williams finally played up to his potential. The Jets also finished the season on a high note by winning two of their last three games against the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns, both of whom were playoff teams. While at the moment these were impressive wins, it might have hurt the Jets in the long run as they were in a perfect position to get the first overall pick and likely select Clemson’s superstar quarterback, Trevor Lawerence. Two wins secured the Jets the second pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
The Jets now have to decide what they want to do next. The team fired head coach Adam Gase and quickly hired former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, in hopes of changing their recent losing ways. The next decision is whether they should keep Sam Darnold, pick a quarterback second overall, or trade for an experienced veteran, such as Houston Texans’ superstar Deshaun Watson. The next couple of months will be crucial for the future of the team.
Usually, a 6-10 season is a disappointment, but the Giants look to be headed in the right direction. It is critical for an organization to find the right head coach and quarterback if they want to win games and it looks like the Giants found theirs in Joe Judge and Daniel Jones.
The Giants started the season with a depressing 1-7 record, but despite that slow start they finished the season 5-3 and finished a game outside of first place. First year head coach Joe Judge was a big reason for this season’s turnaround. He held his players accountable, and brought a New York City toughness to the team that has not been seen since the Tom Coughlin era. Judge also got the Giants to keep faith in themselves, as they knew how bad the rest of the division was and that they had a solid chance for the playoffs. The Giants season eventually came down to the last weekend. They needed to beat the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles had to beat Washington. The Giants won against the Cowboys, but the Eagles came up short. The Washington Football Team wound up winning the division.
As we look towards next season, there is a lot to look forward to. Defensive lineman (and former Jet) Leonard Williams had his best season to date, and free agent signing James Bradberry was a star this year. Offensively, running back Saqoun Barkley returns from a devastating ACL injury. If the Giants want to take it to the next step, it is going to depend on the progression of Daniel Jones. One thing is for sure – Joe Judge and the Giants will be hungry for revenge after missing the playoffs by one game. Giants superfan and JCHS senior, Michael Gianetta, says, “I am hopeful for the Giants next season and maybe we will finally make the playoffs.”