(Long Island, N.Y.) A good measuring stick of how popular (and most of the time, successful in the previous season) your team is can be how many prime time games they receive on the schedule. On Wednesday, the National Football League released the 2010 edition and New York fans were not disappointed.
The Jets, who shocked everyone by making it all the way to the AFC Championship Game, will play under the lights five times. The Giants, who failed to qualify for the postseason, have four night games. Of course with the flexible schedule the last four weeks, those numbers may even grow.
NEW YORK JETS
Playing the first Monday night affair of the season is always a big pat on the back, and Gang Green will host the Ravens at the New Meadowlands Stadium on September 13. “We have five prime time games coming up this season and that opening night game against Baltimore ought to be a triple chin strap game,” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “I know (John Harbaugh) is going to have his guys popping out of their skin. I have a funny feeling we’re going to play with some emotion also that game, but that one’s going to be a great game.”
Two weeks later, the Jets will travel to South Florida for a Sunday night affair against newly signed Jason Taylor’s former team, the Dolphins. “I did see when we play Miami and I’m sure they will be interesting weeks to say the least,” the linebacker said.
On October 11, a very interesting match-up takes place in New Jersey. The Minnesota Vikings, themselves a final four team, come to town and it is still unknown if former Jet quarterback Brett Favre will be there or not. The veteran has not stated whether he will return for another season or retire once and for all.
Thanksgiving is a day for turkey and football and the Jets will host the late game versus Cincinnati, who they beat twice last year (the regular season finale and Wild Card game). Then they have a long layoff with their next game not coming until the following Monday night, when they will visit New England to kick off the month of December.
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Manning brothers get it on for the second time in their respective careers in a Week Two Sunday night contest at Indianapolis. This will certainly not be an easy one for the Giants against the AFC champion Colts.
The improved Bears will come to town on October 3 in another NBC affair. The G-Men do not get it any easier three weeks later when they travel to Dallas for their lone Monday night appearance.
Big Blue’s last scheduled prime timer is at Philadelphia on Sunday, November 21, against another tough divisional opponent who extended their season a year ago. Getting over .500 and back to the playoffs will not be easy but is imperative for the Giants, and their general manager knows that going in. “Nobody is happy with 8-8,” Jerry Reese said. “That is not our standard. We don’t like that. That is not what we plan to do moving forward.”
They will have the grandest of stages to show that 2009 was an aberration, as will the Jets to show that it wasn’t.