NY Tight Ends: Kevin Boss or Dustin Keller

AJ CusimanoCorrespondent IAugust 29, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 21:  Kevin Boss #89 of the New York Giants runs the ball against the Carolina Panthers on December 21, 2008 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

As the annual Battle of New York is upon us, there are untold number of comparisons taking place between these two teams.  This game's importance has waned over the years, and the level of intensity remains more with the loyal fans of Big Blue and Gang Green.

However, many questions will be asked in preparation for this annual pre-season event.  Is the Giants defense as imposing on the field as they are on paper?  Will Rex Ryan perform the magic on the Jets that he seemed to bring to the Ravens?  Will Mark Sanchez outshine Eli Manning, the new $90 million dollar man?  Who has the better tight end?

The one that is most intriguing is the comparison of Dustin Keller and Kevin Boss.  Both are young tight ends, who seem to be under the radar.  Kevin is entering his third year from tiny Philomath, Oregon.  He is the lunch-pail tight end built in the mold of Mark Bavaro.

On the other side of the field is Dustin Keller, the more flashier of the two, but no less productive.  Dustin was drafted in the first round in 2008 out of Purdue, with high expectations.  When I think of comparisons, former Jets Pro-Bowler Richard Caster comes to mind.  Both have good size and speed, and are more comfortable making first downs.  Last year, Dustin Keller accounted for 32 first downs and 3 touchdowns.

Kevin Boss burst on the Giants radar during the Super Bowl run of 2007, as a rookie out of Western Oregon.  Replacing Jeremy Shockey after his injury ended the former TE's season as a Giant.  Boss made one of the biggest catches in the Super Bowl, bursting down the middle of a seam in the Patriots defense, pass Rodney Harrison, setting the Giants up for their first touchdown.

Kevin Boss has been more of a blocking tight end, but has also been a reliable target for Eli Manning.  With the absence of Plaxico Burress, Boss may be the big red zone target the Giants need.  I am expecting Kevin Boss to explode this year, showing his consistent value as a blocker and receiver, with big and reliable hands.

Dustin Keller will also excel this year with Mark Sanchez at QB.  The Jets will need a go to guy to move the chains, and help Sanchez develop a rhythm.  They will also need a reliable target in the red zone.  I believe that Dustin Keller is that guy.  As Dustin goes, so will both Sanchez and the Jets.  I am looking for great things in 2009 from Dustin Keller.

Both receivers have Pro Bowl potential, and both are the keys to the success of their respective teams.  Tonight, keep on eye on #89 in Giants blue, and #81 in Gang Green.