Since the Giants and Jets are both undefeated after three weeks — and since the opportunity may never come again — let’s compare the two unbeatens at this point:
— The Giants have scored 80 points while allowing 48; the Jets have scored 64 and allowed 33. The Giants have a slight edge in margin of victory — 32 points to the Jets’ 31.
— The Giants have a significant advantage in offense, averaging 391.7 yards per game, good for 6th in the NFL, while the Jets have averaged 315 yards, ranking 20th.
— The Giants have a slight edge on defense, allowing just 245.3 yards per game, second best in the NFL. The Jets are right behind then, allowing 256 yards and ranking third.
— On paper, the Giants have a slightly better running game, averaging 142.6 yards per game and 4.0 yards per try, while the Jets are averaging 130 and 3.8. But that’s probably because having the lead on a punchless Tampa Bay the entire game, the Giants were able to rack up 226 yards on the ground, while the Jets have not yet had the luxury of running down the clock while maintaining a big lead. We suspect that against the same opposition and given the same opportunities the Jets would prove to have the better running game.
— The Giants have an edge in passing, too, with Eli Manning off to one of his best starts, 5 TDs against just one interception and an excellent 8.2 yards per throw, his best average ever three weeks into the season. He also has an offensive line – and this is probably the most important Giants stat so far — that has given up just one sack.
Mark Sanchez, though, is doing very well, especially for a rookie, with 7.3 yards per throw and 4 TDs against two interceptions. The Jets’ real problem so far is that they’ve allowed him to be sacked five times. If a definite Jets weakness has shown itself, this is it.
So going into Week Four, which is the better team? So far it’s jump ball. The Giants’ numbers in most areas look a little better than the Jets, but the Giants have played weaker opposition — Washington (probably the worst team in the league after their loss to Detroit yesterday), winless Tampa Bay, and a Cowboys team that has yet to establish itself. The Jets have beaten Houston (1-1 in their other two games), Tennessee (0-2 but still with a tough defense), and New England (2-0 in their other two games).
Our perception of both the Jets and the Giants could change radically on Sunday, as the Giants play one of the AFC’s worst teams, the 0-3 Kansas City Chiefs, and the Jets play one of the best teams in the NFC, 3-0 New Orleans.