(Long Island, N.Y.) Bragging rights in a shared stadium is what is at stake with a back story of salvaging an entire season. Depending on your perspective, that is. And it all takes place right smack in the heart of the holiday season.
That’s right, children. Football fans all throughout the entire Tri-state area will have great interest in a game that jumped off the schedule page the day it was released months ago. December 24th – aka Christmas Eve – falls on a Saturday this year and that means that the majority of the National Football League schedule takes place a day earlier than usual.
The Jets-Giants regular season matchup occurs once every four years (formerly three prior to the realignment of the league and creation of a fourth division in each conference) and while there is a lack of juice like the Subway Series provides for followers of the Yankees and Mets, perhaps the co-ownership of MetLife Stadium will boost the rivalry.
Any game this time of year when a playoff berth is on the line is a must-win, so there should be no added pressure because both teams play in the same town. Even Rex Ryan’s comments amount to nothing when the big picture is looked at, although some have construed it as the first shot being fired across the bow.
“We certainly were the better team the first two years,” the third year Jets head coach said. “We made the playoffs, went to the championship game. To say a team’s better than you that never went to the playoffs is ridiculous. Clearly, we were the better team in my first two years here and we get to prove on Saturday who the best team is this year.
“Whoever wins this game, I think is clearly the best team in New York.”
While Ryan merely stated facts concerning the postseason, it would behoove him – and his team – to back up those words now that they have been said. At 8-6, the Jets can find themselves in the playoffs as the AFC’s sixth seed with two wins to close out the regular season.
At 7-7, the Giants need to not only take care of business, but also hope that the Dallas Cowboys (8-6) cooperate by losing their next game before the two meet in New Jersey in Week 17. So it goes without saying that this week’s game is one that must be viewed as a virtual play-in game for both teams.
“What you’ve done before means nothing,” said Jets linebacker Bart Scott. “It’s all about what we do going forward and we respond to the adversity, because there’s a lot of teams in the same predicament, that have to win the last two.”
So bragging rights actually are an included extra here. It is something that is on the minds of players, coaches and fans alike, but making travel plans as a team in January is paramount.
‘Tis the season.