Some Jets and Giants fans, surely, are tribal even in their New York football viewing habits. They watched the green team lose (pathetically) on Thursday or the blue team lose (tragically) on Saturday, but not both, no way.
But if you watched both — you’re a pan-New York rooter, you’re unaffiliated, you’re curious, you’re the kind of omnivorous sports consumer or NFL junkie who will watch, for instance, a meaningless Rams-Broncos game booked smack-dab in the middle of a holiday (hey, no judgment) — the double feature left a distinct impression: Zach Wilson made Daniel Jones look good.
Wilson stumbled, sputtered and missed cues like the overwhelmed performer at open-mic night who gets cat-called off the stage — except there were thousands of people booing, millions more watching via their paper-towel delivery service and he got paid a six-figure game check for his trouble. With the Jets’ season on the line in an eventual 19-3 loss to the Jaguars, Wilson was replaced by the fourth-string practice-squad guy after two and a half quarters … and it took too long. It was cringe-worthy.
Jones’ showing two days later in a 27-24 loss to the Vikings, in a vacuum, was admirable (30-for-42 for 334 yards, a third-down pressure throw that Richie James dropped to force a fourth-quarter field goal, an assured final-minutes touchdown drive, an inch-perfect touch pass for the game-tying 2-point conversion) if not elite (an interception and a brutal three-and-out on two other chances to retake a fourth-quarter lead). The Giants offense rarely has looked better. But when you compare the young quarterbacks in town? There was no comparison. When you grade Jones on the Zach Wilson curve? This was All-Pro material.
Wilson’s downward spiral must remind us: You want to replace Jones with a younger, cheaper, higher-functioning QB model? Good luck. You’re not even rolling the dice with Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud or Will Levis — the Giants currently project to get the No. 23 pick. That’s the Anthony Richardson/Spencer Rattler zone. The Jets had the No. 2 pick and a GM in Joe Douglas who has enough of a clue about what he’s doing to draft the offensive and defensive rookie of the year front-runners the following spring, and it seems they still got it wrong.
This stuff is hard! There’s a 2020s franchise quarterback list that goes something like: Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, Herbert, healthy Lamar Jackson … Hurts, Lawrence, Prescott … Brock Purdy (just kidding, maybe). The Browns held their noses to employ alleged serial sex pest Deshaun Watson only for him to stink at the quarterback part of the job, too. The Dolphins were sending “u up?” texts to Tom Brady again after Tua Tagovailoa (one or two brain injuries later, to be fair) spent most of Sunday throwing the ball to the other team.
So if the Giants wanted to line up this offseason for a Derek Carr or Jimmy Garoppolo or Aaron Rodgers (!) of the pigskin world, they would have plenty of company, likely including their motivated neighbors at MetLife Stadium and on the back pages of The Post.
Twenty months after selecting Wilson, days after Chris Streveler and “We want Flacco!” and CHRISTMESS JEER, the Jets essentially are now back to the drawing board at the most important position in pro sports. It’s the worst place to be.
The Giants know this. If they don’t, Jones’ agent will remind them.
Jones has at least two games left under contract as the Giants quarterback. He also has as many as six, including the playoffs, which would make this whole conversation rather moot.
The Post’s Steve Serby says Jones already has shown enough to merit a return, writing, “Jones has proven to be a worthy successor to Eli Manning.” And if Giants decision-makers and Giants fans still can dream on the upside of replacing Jones, they don’t have to look further than what happened Thursday night at the Meadowlands for the nightmare downside.
Today’s back page
The Mets and Carlos Correa still were working to consummate a free-agent contract agreement, The Post’s Jon Heyman reported Sunday evening, a day after word surfaced that the Mets had flagged an issue with Correa’s physical examination.
The issue, per Heyman, “is believed to regard ankle surgery done in 2014, and a subsequent MRI,” reportedly the same concern that scuttled Correa’s previous agreement with the Giants.
Heyman wrote: “Ultimately, the sides may need to agree on language to protect the Mets, at the least. It isn’t known whether Correa is motivated enough to agree to any sort of reworking of the terms” — that’s $315 million over 12 years in case you forgot or just like to pocket-watch Steve Cohen — “or even if the Mets will suggest anything along those lines.”
Let’s say this thing gets done. Still, what a bummer! It’s a bummer for Correa, who now has to wear this damaged-goods label and answer questions about the metal in his ankle instead of about the pop in his bat and the magic in his glove (or, on the other hand, about trash cans).
And it’s a bummer for Mets fans, who might be distracted by the ticking-time-bomb sounds from being wholly excited about adding one of the best baseball players on the planet to their favorite team.
Because now the questions about Correa’s ankle are going to loom. Every time Correa slides hard into a base or fouls a ball off his shin, every time he fields a grounder up the third-base line and plants hard on the right leg to fire to first, Citi Field’s collective breath will catch. Is this when the infamous ankle gives out?
That’s a buzzkill, however Correa’s contract and potential stint in Queens ultimately play out.
Not a merry Knicks-mas
The Knicks (18-16) wake up Monday morning in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, three games back of fifth place — occupied by the 76ers, who slightly outclassed them in a 119-112 Christmas matinee — and three games removed from 11th place and out of even postseason play-in position. There’s a certain clarity in that.
Remember: These Christmas Day games are TV ornaments. The Knicks are a fixture because they’re one of the NBA’s glory franchises and they can fill the Garden at noon ET on the holiday. It doesn’t make the game count extra in the standings; it’s one of 82. Last year on Christmas, they whooped the Hawks, Kemba Walker hunted a feel-good triple-double and two guys named Tyler Hall and Matt Mooney apparently got minutes — a lot of good that did.
So there’s no shame in losing to the Sixers with Joel Embiid (35 points) and an in-shape James Harden (29 points, 13 assists). There is a shame in having lost Friday night, also at home, to those 11th-place Bulls after missing a hundred free throws at the end and letting DeMar DeRozan get to his spot. The Knicks’ playoff aspirations will hinge on winning more than they lose against their fellow middle-class teams.
Oh, and making sure Jalen Brunson — who departed in the fourth quarter after clutching his hip — stays upright.
Other Christmas scores: Mavericks 124, Lakers 115; Celtics 139, Bucks 118; Warriors 123, Grizzlies 109; Nuggets 128, Suns 125 (OT).
• Harden is “seriously considering” a return to the Rockets? Do the Rockets know about this? Is Harden also seriously considering trying to leverage a fresh contract from the Sixers?
• The Hornets and free agent Miles Bridges — who recently pleaded no contest to a felony charge of assaulting his then-girlfriend in front of their children — just started “gathering traction” on a new deal on the Friday afternoon before Christmas?
• Putting a fake trade out into the universe: Draymond Green, on an expiring contract, post-punch, with the stuck-in-neutral Warriors, to the Nets, in need of a playoff-ready defender.
Happy Boxing Day
A week after the World Cup, we’re all still interested in soccer, right? Right? RIGHT!?!
Well, Monday is the Boxing Day holiday in England, traditionally one of the marquee dates on the Premier League calendar, and in this year of a peculiar autumn World Cup, it’s also when the world’s most competitive league resumes after a six-week break. Plus a chance to catch up with some of your new faves.
USA Network will televise a tripleheader of Brentford-Tottenham (7:30 a.m.), Leicester City-Newcastle (10 a.m.) and Aston Villa-Liverpool (12:30 p.m.).
• Tottenham boasts England captain Harry Kane, South Korea’s mask-wearing hero Son Heung-min and injured Brazilian bicycle-kick-goal-scoring forward Richarlison, as well as France goalie Hugo Lloris.
• Newcastle is a surprising third in the standings, and looks to hold onto its Champions League position (the top four qualify).
• From Liverpool, you may remember Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk, Brazil goalie Alisson or Spain midfielder Thiago; not so Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah, whose national team missed the World Cup.
• Arsenal-West Ham, probably the best game of the day, streams at 3 p.m. on Peacock. Arsenal sits atop the Premier League, and now faces the dual challenges of regaining the momentum it had prior to the hiatus and coping with the absence of forward Gabriel Jesus, injured during Brazil’s World Cup stay.
Later in the week, Christian Pulisic’s Chelsea returns on Tuesday, and US captain Tyler Adams’ Leeds United will play on Wednesday.
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