The New York Giants will play the entire AFC East in this years’ preseason as per the schedule released on Thursday Apr. 7th. And while these match ups are nothing out of the ordinary for the Giants, this season has potential to be slightly more interesting, as new defensive additions Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison have the opportunity to face-off against their former teams.
Pre-addition to the Giants, Vernon and Harrison played for the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets respectively. Their presence on the Giants defense is nothing short of a godsend to the franchise, particularly because the defense ranked last of all 32 teams last season. Now that half of their preseason games will be against former teammates, it’ll be a true test of how impactful the new talent can be.
While with the Dolphins, Vernon was accustomed to statistics like 29 sacks and 137 tackles in four seasons. Similarly, Harrison earned 105 tackles and 88 assists in his four years with the Jets.
“All four teams have really good pass rushers,” said Giants’ analyst Lance Meadow. “This is going to be a nice test for the offense to get a taste of what they’ll see during the course of the regular season.”
Last season, the Giants went 2-2 in preseason, beating the Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills on the road, and lost to the Jets and the New England Patriots at home. And while preseason isn’t typically indicative of a teams’ regular season achievements, the Giants’ ultimately concluded 2015 with a 6-10 record, mostly thanks to their horrendous defense. It’s highly expected that Vernon and Harrison, alongside new cornerback Janoris Jenkins, have the ability to revitalize the defense that’s been hindering the Giants since their last Super Bowl title of 2011.
Also, the Giants have the advantage of playing three of their four preseason games a home in MetLife Stadium, including their infamous New York battle against the Jets. While not having the travel much before regular season is a small victory, it’s a victory nonetheless and the Giants should be fully prepared come opening day as a result.