The Jets and Giants are clutching Super Bowl aspirations. Both teams took major steps forward last season. The Jets fielded one of the league’s best defenses and although they finished last in the competitive AFC East with a record of 7-10, they were, by most close observers of the NFL, simply missing a capable quarterback to be a serious championship threat.
They filled that need by acquiring four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers in a trade with the Green Bay Packers last Monday, three days ahead of the annual draft. Then on draft night, the Jets improved an already formidable defense by selecting edge rusher Will McDonald IV from Iowa State with the 15th pick. “This is a surreal day for me. After spending 18 years in the same city, it’s been a lot of introductions today and meeting a lot of people, but there’s a lot of excitement,” said Rodgers at his inaugural Jets press conference last Wednesday at the team’s facilities in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
“I’m here because I believe in this team, I believe in [head] coach [Robert] Saleh, I believe in the direction of [general manager] Joe Douglas. Obviously, he’s drafted well in recent years, having the Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year.” Rodgers, who will turn 40 in December, somewhat quipped, “I’m an old guy, so I want to be part of a team that can win it all, and I believe that this is a place we can get that done.” The Giants made the playoffs for the first time since 2016 last season. They were 9-7-1, third in the NFC East and defeated the Minnesota Vikings 31-24 in a wildcard game before losing 38-7 to the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round. They addressed three areas of need in the draft by taking University of Maryland defensive back Deonte Banks with the 24th pick in the first round, offensive lineman Michael Schmitz in the second round (No. 57) and wide receiver Jalin Hyatt from the University of Tennessee in Round 3 (No. 73). “I feel like I’ve got a mentality just for me to try to be better at every play,” said 6-foot-1-inch, 197-pound Banks about his style of playing cornerback. “I try to be aggressive, and I try to use my superpower, which is my physicality.” The Jets and Giants will meet in the 2023 regular season at their shared home, MetLife Stadium, at a date that will be revealed when the full NFL schedule is released later this month.