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Rex Ryan says the Jets are the better New York football team. Tom Coughlin says talk is cheap. The Giants wide receivers say Darrele Revis is an “ok” cornerback and that teams aren’t afraid to throw to him anymore. Revis says he doesn’t know who Victor Cruz is. Each team has added their own fuel to the fire and come Saturday afternoon, the New York Giants and the New York Jets will play a playoff-atmosphere game that will leave one New York team’s playoff hopes in serious jeopardy.
With both teams coming off disappointing losses to lesser opponents, Saturday’s game signifies a lot more than the New York rivalry that is usually limited to one preseason game per season. This is a must-win for both teams. Both and the Jets and Giants control their own destiny with two games to go in the season. Leading the battle for the final Wild Card spot, the Jets would guarantee a playoff berth with a win against the Giants and then the Dolphins to close out the season. Despite being one game behind in the battle for the NFC East, the Giants would win the division with a win against the Jets and then the Cowboys in Week 17, thanks to the head-to-head tiebreaker they would own.
The Jets come into Saturday’s game with one of the best pass defenses in the league, yielding only 201.5 yards a game through the air. Led by Revis, the Jets secondary poses a big threat to the interception-prone Eli Manning, who despite putting up career numbers this year, has thrown 10 interceptions in his last seven games. Coming off a poor performance, Mark Sanchez and Santonio Holmes should have a big game against a Giants secondary that was picked apart by Rex Grossman last week. The key to the Jets’ success will be to stop Jason Pierre-Paul, who is having an all-pro caliber year, from getting to Sanchez.
Once again unable to figure out the Washington Redskins, the Giants couldn’t find any success last week in a dismal all-around performance. Eli Manning needs to show the patience he had earlier in the season so he can keep the turnovers down and give his team a chance to win before the two-minute drill at the end of the game. With Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks as his go-to weapons in the air and a two-dimensional running game to keep the Jets’ defense honest, Eli Manning has more than enough weapons to win this game. The Giants have the talents, but have been plagued my dropped passes and missed opportunities when they needed big plays.
Look for this game to live up to its expectations and turn out to be the tooth and nail, sixty-minute battle everyone expects. The Giants’ running game however will finally have the sort of game expected all season long, allowing Manning to stretch out the field, despite Revis locking down Nicks for the majority of the game. Unless Sanchez and the Jets’ offensive line find a way to keep Pierre Paul out of the game, they will be unable to keep up with the Giants’ offensive production.