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View Full Version : NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SATURDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2011 - GAME DAY - 11:00 A.M.



RoanokeFan
12-24-2011, 12:00 PM
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JETS FALL TO GIANTS 29 - 14 (http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/2011/12/ny_jets_fall_to_giants_29-14_t.html)

"One by one,the Jets’ season goals have been erased, painfully unfulfilled.



Win the AFC East. Secure a home playoff game. Be one of the league’s most
dynamic offenses, and the No. 1 defense.</p>


Today, the Jets (http://www.nj.com/jets/) also lost the battle
for area bragging rights, now unable to claim the “big brother” status coach Rex
Ryan has trumpeted. And with their 29-14 loss to the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/) came perhaps the biggest blow of the
season: The Jets’ playoff aspirations are on life support.</p>


To earn a postseason berth, the Jets must not only win next week at the Miami
Dolphins — but the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans and either the
Oakland Raiders or Denver Broncos must lose, according to the NFL Network. In
short, barring a near miracle, the Jets may miss the postseason for the first
time in Ryan’s three-year tenure.</p>


“You can’t keep playing Russian roulette,” linebacker Bart Scott said. “When
you keep playing that way and not taking care of business, that’s what you have
to deal with. And then we have nobody to blame but ourselves.”</p>


This crosstown rivalry game was intense. Giants players triumphantly swung
back the black curtains blocking their logos in the shared MetLife Stadium, and
<a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/ny_giants_silence_ny_jets_29-1.html">Ryan
and Giants running back Brandon Jacobs</a> had a heated postgame exchange, in
which Jacobs yelled, “Time to shut up, fat boy!”</p>


It only adds insult to injury that the Giants may have delivered the knockout
blow to the Jets’ playoffs push. The Bengals (9-6) are now in position for the
second AFC wild-card spot, while the Broncos, Raiders and Titans are even with
the Jets at 8-7.</p>


After a week of talking big, Ryan took the responsibility for the loss, the
second straight game in which the Jets did not look like a playoff-caliber
team.</p>


The Jets had all the momentum early, scoring first on a 5-yard touchdown pass
from quarterback Mark Sanchez to tight end Josh Baker. They forced the Giants to
punt on each of their three possessions in the first quarter.</p>


But with one play — a 99-yard touchdown catch by Victor Cruz — the tide
seemed to turn toward the “visiting” Giants. With just more than two minutes
until halftime, the Giants had a third-and-10 from their own 1-yard line. Two
missed tackles by cornerbacks Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie, and Cruz’s
sideline hurdle of safety Eric Smith, turned a perhaps 11-yard gain into the
biggest play of the day.</p>


“What can you do, man?” linebacker Calvin Pace said. “Third-and-10, one
tackle, get off the field. We can’t get it done. They got the momentum.”</p>


The Jets had a chance to respond before halftime, but a promising drive
instead ended with a missed 44-yard field goal attempt. The second half was a
different game, one in which Sanchez was sacked four times, regularly had his
passes batted by defenders and turned the ball over three times. </p>


Oddly, the Jets didn’t play their own game. They were having success running
the ball — averaging more than 4 yards per carry — but yet Sanchez threw a
career-high 59 passes. Ryan’s explanation was that the Jets were in catch-up
mode, but they only trailed by more than one possession for 10 minutes of game
time, almost exclusively in the fourth quarter.</p>


“If you look back, who knows what could have happened if we kept running?”
said Sanchez, who completed 30 of those passes for 258 yards. “But that’s not
fair, that’s not fair to (offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer). I thought
he called a great game.”</p>


Ryan conceded, “You’re not going to beat anybody — we’re not — when you throw
it that many times, that’s for sure.”</p>


Still, the Jets had chances late. They trailed by 20-7 early in the fourth
quarter, but a bizarre series of plays with two overturned Sanchez fumbles, and
a David Harris interception off a deflected pass, led to Sanchez’s 1-yard
touchdown run. With 7:17 to play, they trailed by just six points.</p>


But the Jets went three-and-out on their next possession. They got the ball
back on their 8-yard line with 2:24 to play, and instead of the fourth-quarter
comeback that seemed to come so easily in previous charmed seasons, Sanchez was
sacked in the end zone for a safety.</p>


“We had five different ways to win the game near the end,” said Scott, who
did not put the blame entirely on the offense, “and we figured out a way to lose
it.”</p>


Afterward, there was a different attitude in the Jets locker room. Nose
tackle Sione Pouha said they “don’t really feel like much.” Sixteen games in the
season, receiver Santonio Holmes rued that the inconsistent offense has have no
choice but to “roll with the punches.” Scott said the Jets, who once controlled
their own destiny, didn’t deserve to anymore.</p>


“If we ever want a chance to right our wrongs,” Pace said, “maybe one day
we’ll look ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘We’ve got to stop beating
us.’?”</p>GIANTS SILENCE JETS, 29 - 14, SETTING UP NFC EAST SHOWDOWN WITH COWBOYS (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/ny_giants_silence_ny_jets_29-1.html)

Excerpt: "It was a fitting end to a week of chirping between the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/) and Jets (http://www.nj.com/jets/). The two resident yappers on each side —
Brandon Jacobs and Rex Ryan — nearly coming to blows at what’s usually handshake
and hug time.


“Time to shut up, fat boy!” Jacobs yelled.</p>


At that point, Jacobs claims Ryan tried to come after him “the way his old
man went after (Kevin) Gilbride.” To which, in this season of yuletide cheer, he
sent the merriest of holiday greetings.</p>


“You’re talking to the wrong Giant,” Jacobs said he yelled, “because I will
kick your (butt)!” </p>


We knew it would end this way, with the winning team getting the final say
after days, weeks, months and years of trash talk. After an oft-sloppy but
always entertaining 29-14 victory today, it was the Giants breaking from the
“talk is cheap” part of Tom Coughlin’s mantra after delivering on the “play the
game” portion to set up a showdown with the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East
title next Sunday.</p>


Chris Canty’s sack of Mark Sanchez in the end zone for a safety with 2:13 to
play was pretty much the difference and set off celebrations that included
Justin Tuck doing Fireman Ed’s “J-E-T-S” chant with a drop kick at the end.</p>


Time to shut up indeed.</p>


Still, even in victory, a hobbled Coughlin declined to get into the
back-and-forth jawing. But he did notice how it sparked his team.</p>


Players who admitted they did nothing after getting “punched in the mouth” by
the Eagles a few weeks ago, and had lost five of their last six, finally showed
some fight.</p>


“It was shocking,” Coughlin said of the way his team came out in practice
last week. “I looked up and said, ‘Is that the same guys?’ They had great
purpose and the way they practiced is the way they played.”</p>


Hard. Fast. Aggressive." Read more...</p>GIANTS, COWBOYS WILL VIE FOR NFC EAST TITLE NEXT WEEK (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/ny_giants_cowboys_will_vie_for.html)

"When the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/) and Dallas Cowboys
meet next week, the winner will take the NFC East title. The loser will miss the
playoffs.


Those are the stakes that were set today after the Giants beat the Jets (http://www.nj.com/jets/), 29-14, and the Cowboys lost to the
Philadelphia Eagles, 20-7.</p>


Michael Vick threw two touchdown passes to lead the Eagles over Dallas in a
game that became somewhat meaningless midway through the first quarter — when
the Giants' win over the Jets eliminated Philly from the playoffs.</p>


But while the Cowboys still had wild-card hopes to play for, they clearly
were more concerned about getting ready for the "win and you're in" route to the
playoffs. Quarterback Tony Romo left after injuring his throwing hand on the
first series and oft-injured running back Felix Jones hit the bench for good
after the second series. They came within 7 seconds of getting shut out.</p>


Vick threw a touchdown pass on the opening series and again just before
halftime. Alex Henery kicked field goals of 43 and 51 yards for the Eagles' only
points in the second half.</p>


Philadelphia (7-8) won its third straight, giving the preseason "Dream Team"
the chance to avoid a losing record by beating the Redskins at home in its
finale next weekend. The Eagles also swept the season series against the Cowboys
for the first time since 2006, having clobbered Dallas 34-7 in October.</p>


The Cowboys (8-7) lost for the third time in four games, and are guaranteed
another losing record after Thanksgiving. If they end up missing the playoffs,
that flop at the finish will loom large all offseason. Of course, if they win
the division, it'll only be a footnote. The upcoming week will be filled with
all sorts of similar high-stakes ramifications that will be riding on the finale
for both Dallas and the Giants.</p>


Dallas announced late tonight that next week's game has been moved to prime
time."</p>GIANTS SHOW JETS THEY ARE STILL UNRIVALED WITH 29-14 VICTORY ON CHRISTMAS EVE (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_show_jets_theyre_still.html)

"After a week's worth of trash talking and hype between the two teams that
share one stadium, the final minutes of the Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/)' 29-14 victory over the Jets (http://www.nj.com/jets/) were played in front of a sparsely
filled MetLife Stadium. It was mostly just Giants fans who still remained, a
smatter of blue surrounding the field.


They even chanted "Giants Stadium" to rub it in.</p>


The Jets fans? They were long gone, perhaps like their team's playoff
chances.</p>


The Giants (8-7) quickly turned a tight game into a laugher in a 14-second
span late in the fourth quarter. Leading 20-14, Chris Canty sacked Mark Sanchez
for a safety with 2:24 remaining and then 14 seconds later, following a failed
onside kick, Ahmad Bradshaw scored from 19-yards out on the first play of the
drive to ice the game.</p>


The result meant that the Giants would still have something to play for next
week as their matchup with the Dallas Cowboys will for the NFC East title. </p>


The Jets (8-7) are in worse shape. Due to their second straight loss, even a
win next week in Miami may not be enough to get them into the playoffs. The
Cincinnati Bengals won today to move them to 9-6 and take a one-game lead in the
drive for the final wildcard spot. They are stuck with three other teams at 8-7
and a game out of the playoffs heading into the final weekend of the season.</p>


The Giants took the lead in the second quarter on another big play from
Victor Cruz, this one going 99 yards as he split two defenders to race down the
sideline for the go-ahead score. While it was in peril, the Giants never
relinquished the lead.</p>


When Ahmad Bradshaw bulled over Jets safety Brodney Pool on the way to a
14-yard touchdown run to give the Giants a 17-7 lead, it looked like he left the
Jets' chances run over as well. </p>


But after extending the lead to 13, Mark Sanchez scored from one-yard out to
cut the lead to 20-14. That would be as close as they got."</p>YOU GRADE 'EM, GIANTS VS. JETS (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/you_grade_em_giants_vs_jets.html)


##

POLITI'S TALE OF THE TAPE: A COMPLETE BREAKDOWN OF THE GIANTS AND JETS (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/politis_tale_of_the_tape_a_com.html)

Excerpt: "At this point, every aspect of today’s Giants-Jets game has been broken
down ad nauseam, and our ears are bleeding from the trash talk. But who has the
edge in the categories that can’t be decided on the field today? We present our
comprehensive (ahem) Tale of the Tape:


<big>Head Coaches’ Motto
</big>
Tom Coughlin loves to
say, “Talk is cheap. Play the Game.” For Rex Ryan, it’s more like, “Talk is
cheap – and here’s some more of it!” EDGE: GIANTS </p>


<big>Most Visible Fan
</big>
The Jets have Fireman Ed.
The Giants have, well, anybody other than Fireman Ed. EDGE:
GIANTS </p>


<big>Celebrity Fans
</big>
The Jets have Ray Romano,
Adam Sandler, James Gandolfini and Kevin James. The Giants have Jon Bon Jovi.
Didn't he just die or something? EDGE: JETS </p>


<big>Team Colors
</big>
The Jets are green, the color
of emeralds, nature and money. Not bad. But the Giants are blue, and as any
grade school kid could tell you, yellow and blue make green. EDGE:
GIANTS </p>


<big>Plaxico Factor
</big>
The Giants had Plaxico
Burress when he was late for practices and carrying a loaded gun into a
nightclub. The Jets have him when he’s a grateful family man working for
charities to stop gun violence. EDGE: JETS
</p>Team History


<big></big>
Giants have three Super Bowl
trophies, most recently in 2007, and four titles in the pre-Super Bowl Era. The
Jets still have but one, most recently when man was walking on the moon.
EDGE: Giants</p>


<big>Quarterback Trysts
</big>
Eli Manning is happily
married with a new baby. Mark Sanchez, according to
Page 6, is dating
supermodel Kate Upton. No wonder he can’t focus on opposing defenses.
EDGE: JETS </p>


<big>Pop Culture References
</big>
The mostly unfunny
movie “Big Fan” is about a hardcore Giants fan who is beaten up by his favorite
player. Former Jets coach Eric Mangini got a table at Vesuvio in “The Sopranos.”
EDGE: JETS </p>


<big>Cheerleaders
</big>
The Jets have them. The
Giants are one of six NFL teams that do not. EDGE: GIANTS</p>


<big>Misbehaving Icons
</big></p>


Giants great Lawrence Taylor pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges after
a May 6 arrest for statutory rape, which is no laughing matter. Jets icon Joe
Namath tried to kiss Suzy Kolber on national TV (and we're still giggling).
EDGE: JETS. </p>


<big>Uniforms </big></p>


Giants have a classic, simple look. So do the Jets but then once a year they
trot out those awful gold and blue New York Titans uniforms. EDGE:
GIANTS </p>


<big>Tuna Era</big> </p>


Bill Parcells led the Giants to a pair of Super Bowl titles. He got the Jets
as far
as the AFC Championship Game before bolting a year later.
EDGE: GIANTS.</p>
<div class="entry-content">

<big>Dark Days
</big>
The Giants failed to make the
playoffs from 1963-81. As for the Jets, two words: Rich Kotite. EDGE:
JETS. </p>


<big>Moment of Ignominy
</big></p>


Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik’s shocking fumble led to the “Miracle at the
Meadowlands” for the Eagles. The Jets blew a three-point lead to lose the “Heidi
Game” to the Raiders, but hey, at least fans didn’t see it. EDGE:
JETS. </p>


<big>Social Media
</big>
The Jets are one of the most
active teams on Twitter and Facebook, with 275,000 followers. The Giants, who
may have just disconnected their CompuServe account recently, have less than
half that many. EDGE: JETS. </p>


<big>Touchdown Celebrations
</big>
Santonio Holmes and
the Jets receivers have perfected the “Fly Like A Jet” routine, but a touchdown
dance should be an actual dance — and no one salsas better than Giants receiver
Victor Cruz. EDGE: GIANTS."
</p></div>D'ALESSANDRO: IN GIANTS-JETS RIVALRY, SPOTLIGHT CAPTURES HUGE CONTRAST IN COACHING STYLES (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/dalessandro_in_jets-giants_riv.html)

Excerpt: "First, the disclaimer: Among the monumental concerns which affect our daily
lives, the weighty matter of which football team rules New York doesn’t rank
quite as high as Best Place To Buy Mulch or Fastest Pizza Delivery. Priorities,
folks, priorities.


It is in observance of this immutable truth that we state with a fair amount
of certainty that Rex Ryan’s words probably don’t penetrate the minds of the
local football devotee — at least those of the blue-clad variety — or those of
the Giants themselves.</p>


Just to make sure, we checked earlier this week: “Naw, we haven’t heard
anything Rex said,” defensive end Dave Tollefson said. “So what was it?”</p>


No sense replaying a broken record, we told him — half the time his blather
is the rhetorical equivalent of “meh” anyway. No, this was raised only to
discern whether Tom Coughlin, once and for all, would get so vexed by Rex that
he would scribble something on a chalkboard for the first time in his coaching
life. </p>


Turns out that you get the same answer you always get in times like these:
Soliciting a Coughlin reaction to trash talk is like asking a dummy in Macy’s
window for directions to housewares.</p>


</p>

“This is a game of pride, so any time someone slights you, you want to know,”
Tollefson explained. “But face it, (Coughlin) isn’t a bulletin-board guy. He’s a
wooden guy.”
Wait, was that a descriptive adjective, or does he mean John
Wooden?</p>


“John Wooden,” Tollefson said. “You know, dedicate yourself to your core
(values). Work on your own deal. Don’t let outside factors change how you
prepare or how you play. Get your game right, go out and execute.”</p>


“Wooden and Lombardi, Churchill and Patton — he’ll quote people, but that’s
as far as it goes with using” external stimuli, lineman Chris Snee said. “Or
he’ll use other sports accomplishments as a lesson — like what St. Louis had to
overcome to win the (World) Series this year. Or he’ll read us the highlights of
a story — there was a Roy Halladay piece in SI a few years ago I remember that
he liked. But that’s about it, really.”</p>


The only exception anyone could remember was back in ’07, prior to the
divisional playoff at Dallas, when Coughlin made it known to his guys that Jerry
Jones had already placed tickets for the NFC title game on the stools of each of
his players. </p>


“But even that was just a circumstance he didn’t even make a big deal about,”
recalled Snee, also the coach’s son-in-law. “He just brought it to our
attention. I mean, c’mon — it’s not like we needed any motivation for a playoff
game. I never got that.”</p>


Otherwise, Coughlin is as constant as the North Star, which is why we like
him, and what you read is what you get: The guy’s credo was spelled out for his
players on those T-shirts he distributed a few years back, the ones that read
Talk Is Cheap, Play The Game.
Compare that to the guy across the field this
afternoon. Talk ain’t cheap — especially when you get slapped with a $75,000
fine for verbally abusing a fan, using an expletive.</p>


So what’s this have to do with football? Maybe nothing, maybe everything. It
depends. Do you subscribe to the theory that a team assumes the identity of its
head coach? Or believe that individual styles solicit different results? Or that
football is the one activity in which swagger and bravado should trump
determination and equipoise?</p>


Maybe it’s a valid study. </p>


More than once this year, we’ve sensed that the Jets have benefited from
their coach’s shoot-from-the-lip prattle, notably this week. Ryan’s team was
embarrassed in Philly — mostly because it was a horrible matchup against a
dynamic speed team that is just finally getting around to finding itself (a tad
late) — yet the Jets never act embarrassed. They already speak as though they’re
a lock for the playoffs, and face it, they’ve already made plans about what
they’ll do to Houston and its third-string quarterback in two weeks. </p>


Until then, the meme is We’ll Prove We Own New York." Read more...</p>AGAINST JETS, GIANTS DEFENSE RETURNS TO BASICS (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/against_jets_giants_defense_wi.html)

Excerpt: "There are a few things buoying Kenny Phillips’ confidence this week: the
attitude of his teammates, the energy they’ve shown and the general belief the
Giants will bounce back from a disappointing loss against the Redskins by giving
the un-merriest of greetings to the rival Jets.


This isn’t just a hunch on Phillips’ part. He has empirical evidence to
support his claim: a game plan that has all of the players excited.</p>


“That’s one of the reasons practice has been so good this week,” the Giants’
safety said the other day as the locker room emptied following the final full
practice of the week. “It’s just guys getting back to what they know, being
comfortable.</p>


“We’ve got our playmakers on the field. We’re putting guys in position to
make plays. It’s going to show. You’ll see what happens.”</p>


Phillips wasn’t alone in his optimism. A few players were enthused by
defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s willingness to get back to basics this
week. The plan is apparently to rid themselves of many on-field checks in favor
of getting back to basic schemes that worked last season.</p>


Gone will be the confusion, the “I was right” excuses between players
executing different calls, the not-so-veiled grumbling from Antrel Rolle wanting
to be a “ball hawk” and the passive approach from defensive backs trying to
figure out what to do.</p>


Also eliminated will be the ridiculous rate of third-down conversions by
opponents, the quick releases from quarterbacks giving the pass rush little time
and the receivers running free for uncontested touchdown grabs.</p>


Well, at least they can only hope all of these things will be cleaned up for
a defense that has yet to turn in a dominating performance this year.</p>


“From the front to the back. It’s been everything, it hasn’t been right,”
safety Deon Grant said. “But this week (Fewell) got back to, ‘Forget it. I’m
going out there with the guys I’ve got, I’m going back to last year’s
mentality.’</p>


“He’s been trying so hard this year to call hard defenses to be effective but
he was trying to protect certain guys that didn’t know the defense as well.”</p>


•?• •</p>


Let’s not misconstrue: the 2010 Giants weren’t the ’86 Bears, the 2000 Ravens
or even the ’07 Giants. The Colts ran all over them, the Eagles scored 21 in a
little over 6 minutes and the Packers hung 45 on them in what was pretty much a
must-win game in Week 16.</p>


But in Fewell’s first season in East Rutherford, the Giants led the league in
takeaways with 39, and their 46 sacks were fifth-most in the NFL. They were also
tops in the NFL in third-down conversions allowed at 32 percent.</p>


This season, they’re tied for ninth in takeaways (26), are 10th in sacks (37)
and if there was a stat for confused linebackers and defensive backs, they’d be
in the hunt for the top spot.</p>


The glaring (and measurable) problem is one that has contributed to a few of
their recent losses: third downs. The Giants are now tied for 21st in the league
with opponents converting 41 percent of the time.</p>


Over the past month-plus, it’s gotten even worse in this department. For the
first time in their history, they’ve allowed five straight teams to convert 50
percent or more. In all, opponents are 34 for their last 63 on third downs.</p>


“It seems we’ve allowed teams to get in third-and-shorts and obviously the
percentages go up,” defensive end Justin Tuck said. “Early in the season we did
a good job of keeping them in third-and-8-pluses. That obviously allows us to
get more creative on third down.” Read more...
</p>GIANTS-JETS GAMEDAY: NEW YORK TEAMS FACE OFF IN KEY CHRISTMAS EVE MATCHUP (http://www.nj.com/sports/index.ssf/2011/12/giants-jets_gameday_new_york_t.html)

Excerpt: "Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants/) (7-7) vs. Jets (http://www.nj.com/jets/) (8-6)


Week 16
Sunday, 1
p.m.
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford
TV: Fox
Radio: ESPN 1050-AM, WFAN
660-AM</p>


<big>THIS WEEK’S GAME REVOLVES AROUND
...</big>
The teams’ run games</p>


Both offenses entered the season with run-first reputations and it made
sense. The Jets finished fourth in the NFL in rushing last season at 148.4 yards
per game and the Giants were two spots behind with a 137.5 average. But this
season has been a completely different story — the Jets enter today’s game
ranked 21st (104.1 yards per game) and Giants inexplicably have sunk to the
bottom of the league (86.1). Today, cold weather will make it difficult to throw
the football as it did for both Eli Manning and Mark Sanchez last week so
establishing the run game will be crucial to sustain long drives. After running
the football effectively for a couple weeks, the Giants got away from the ground
game and ran the ball just 18 times – for 91 yards — in last week’s 23-3 loss to
the Washington Redskins. The Jets stuck with the run in their blowout loss to
the Philadelphia Eagles, rushing 27 times, but averaging just 3.4 yards per
carry. Though both offenses have not had much success with the run, both
defenses haven’t been adept at stopping it. Something has to give. </p>


<big>THE SAVVY FAN IS WATCHING ...</big>
How the
Giants attack right tackle Wayne Hunter</p>


Wayne Hunter has struggled all season in pass protection and Eagles defensive
end Jason Babin took advantage with two sacks last week. Jason Pierre-Paul
usually lines up on the opposite side, but Perry Fewell said he could position
the second-year dynamo over Hunter. If not, Hunter will still see plenty of
pressure from Justin Tuck and via the blitz — on the rare occasion when the
Giants do blitz. Sanchez was hit early and often last week, and it could be more
of the same today through Hunter’s side.</p>


REMEMBER WHEN ...
The Jets and Giants played each other
in the regular season four years ago? The Jets are still trying to forget. Not
only did Plaxico Burress touch them up for 124 yards and a touchdown, but
Brandon Jacobs tallied 100 yards and a TD on 20 carries in a 35-24 Giants
victory. And to think, it started strong for the Jets with a Kerry Rhodes fumble
return for a touchdown. </p>


<big>WHAT THE GIANTS DON’T WANT THE JETS TO
KNOW</big>
</p>1. How the Giants will deal with injuries at tight end



Starting tight end Jake Ballard will be out today due to a strained
PCL he sustained last week and his absence comes at an inopportune time because
backups Travis Beckum (chest) and Bear Pascoe (ribs) are also dealing with
injuries. Even if Beckum and Pascoe are 100%, they aren’t as versatile as
Ballard — Beckum is exclusively a pass-catcher, while Pascoe is exclusively a
blocker. Ballard can do both and the offense will be hindered without his
balanced game on the field against a team that has had trouble covering tight
ends all season. If Beckum or Pascoe can’t get the job done, expect more
four-wide receiver sets.</p>


2. Having David Baas back may not be a good thing
Usually
when a starting center — one that received a five-year, $27 million contract in
the offseason — is coming off injury, he is unquestionably inserted in the
lineup. But the Giants may be reluctant to do so this week. Since <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/giants_david_baas_returns_thou.html">the
Giants lost David Baas</a> to a neck injury that set off intense headaches just
hours before their game against the Green Bay Packers, they have enjoyed their
best stretch on the ground this season. With Kevin Boothe at center and Mitch
Petrus at guard the Giants have rushed for 100, 110, and 91 yards over the last
three games – above average outputs for the league’s worst rushing team. This
week Tom Coughlin didn’t confirm whether Baas will start. If he does, Boothe
will move back to left guard and Petrus to the bench — and perhaps a drop-off in
production.
</p>

3. They go as Eli goes
For much of the season, Eli Manning has come
through for the Giants — he’s arguably enjoying his best season. But when he has
faltered, so have the Giants. In their seven wins, Manning has a quarterback
rating of 101.8 with 14 touchdowns to three interceptions. In the team’s seven
losses, the numbers are predictably on the other end: one more interception than
touchdown (12 to 11) and an 82.3 quarterback rating. The Giants’ dependence on
Manning was on full display last week when he threw three interceptions in a
frustrating performance for the normally potent offense. Another subpar game
from Manning today and the Giants will be in trouble.</p>


<big>WHAT THE JETS DON’T WANT THE GIANTS TO
KNOW</big></p>

1. They’re vulnerable to the vertical passing game

Without injured strong safety Jim Leonhard, the Jets were torched for 38
points by an Eagles offense waiting to burst. Some players claimed the Eagles
were able to call out their coverages from the line and tailor the passing game
to cut right through the Jets — a fact that’s tough to argue against since
Eagles tight end Brent Celek ripped off 156 yards on five receptions. The Giants
have a versatile set of receivers that function very well in their vertical
system. They will stretch the field in the same way the Eagles did and, in less
than a week’s time, the Jets will have to figure out how to stop them without
Leonhard, their quarterback in the secondary, and with a play sheet that will
still be limited. </p>


2. They roll with the run game, good or bad
More than
anything, the Jets are a team of tempo. They like to set up the pass with the
run, and like to use their big back to wear down a defense early. It appeared
things were going according to plan early on last week when Shonn Greene was
ripping off one solid gain after another before the Eagles shot out of the gate
and flipped the game plan on its side. From there, the Jets offense struggled
when passing was expected. Unlike the Giants, the Jets need to keep the game
close enough to run the football to set that tempo and keep their offense
unpredictable and potent. They have only won one of their eight games this
season with less than 100 yards rushing, and that was in Week 1 against a
paper-thin Dallas secondary.</p>

3. Their QB is a little banged up
Even if the treatment
Mark Sanchez is getting all week works, and there is no lingering soreness in
his neck and shoulder area, the fact is Sanchez is taking too many shots. Save
for some games this year — like a very solid performance against the Redskins —
premiere pass-rushers like DeMarcus Ware and Jason Babin have teed off on the
Jets QB. That takes the Jets out of their rhythm and places them in
third-and-forget-it situations. And in those games, the image of the quarterback
getting his throwing shoulder fanned out on the sideline is neither good for the
psyche or the game plan. Sanchez is a completely different quarterback when he’s
comfortable, as obvious as that sounds. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan said
there’s a definite zone he sees Sanchez in when the offensive line, blocking
backs and tight ends come together. They see a different picture when Nick
Mangold needs to help Sanchez off the field, as they did last Sunday. </p>


<big>POSITION BREAKDOWNS</big></p>


Quarterback
Eli Manning is having a season to remember.
Mark Sanchez is still finding his way.
Edge:
Giants</p>


Running back
Ahmad Bradshaw may be better overall, but
the Giants average less than 90 yards per game.
Edge:
Jets </p>


Wide receiver
Victor Cruz: 1,194 yards. Burress and
Holmes combined: 1,125.
Edge: Giants </p>


Offensive line
For as many times as the Giants throw,
surrendering nine less sacks than the Jets is impressive.

Edge: Even </p>


Defensive line
No question here, the Giants front has
them in the top 10 in sacks once again.
Edge:
Giants </p>


Linebacker
With Calvin Pace and David Harris playing at a
high level, the Jets get the nod over a patchwork Giants unit.

Edge: Jets</p>


Secondary
We’ll see if Victor Cruz can get the best of
Darrelle Revis. Many have tried, and failed.
Edge:
Jets</p>


Special teams
Jets coordinator Mike Westhoff says his
returns are so good, the Giants copy them.
Edge:
Jets
</p>
<div class="embeddedMedia entry_widget_large entry_widget_right">

<big>FOUR DOWNS WITH ...</big>
Giants cornerback
Prince Amukamara</p>


1. How have you been dealing with the recent adversity?
I
know I’m not as caught as like the guys I’m on the field with, but I’m just
learning on the field everyday. I never doubt myself. There’s no point in me
doubting myself. It’s just a point of keep learning and just trying to help this
team win.

2. Deon Grant said he pulled you aside at halftime last
week to talk to you before you were benched. What did he say?
It was
a great talk. Deon’s one of the veterans that I definitely look up to and that
definitely took me under his wing. He just basically told me to keep my head up
and just to stay in the game. </p>


3. How important is it to bounce back?
That’s always my
mindset, especially as a competitor. It’s no secret that I’m facing some
adversity right now, but I just have to persevere. </p>


4. Do you think the Jets are going to go after you, knowing your
recent struggles?
For sure. Corey (Webster), (Aaron) Ross and ‘Trel
(Rolle) always tell me to play like the ball is coming your way every time so I
just have to go out there and play well. I think it’s a great challenge just for
us defensive backs, but the way we’re working, the way our mindset is right now,
I think we should be good." Read more ...</p>

GOVERNOR CHRISTIE PICKS JETS OVER GIANTS BY A TOUCHDOWN (http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2011/12/gov_christie_picks_jets_over_g.html)</p>

Excerpt: "Back when the Jets (http://www.nj.com/jets) and Giants (http://www.nj.com/giants) were making a push for the Super
Bowl, Gov. Chris Christie <a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2010/05/new_meadowlands_stadium_awarde.html">proudly
stood alongside both teams</a>. This summer, he worked with both teams and the
league to <a href="http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2011/08/gov_christie_asks_nfl_commissi.html">postpone
the preseason matchup </a>as Hurricane Irene bore down on the area.</p>


In short, he's had a very good working relationship with both the Jets and
Giants.</p>


But when it comes to Saturday's game that actually means something for both
teams, Christie isn't pulling for both. He's taking a side.</p>


And in case anyone was wondering, he literally spelled out his
allegiance.</p>


“J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets," Christie said in an interview with SiriusXM's
Mad Dog Radio. "Absolutely. Rex (Ryan) and the boys win by seven." Read more...</p></div><font size="4"><u>NY DAILY NEWS</u></font>

GIANTS EARN BRAGGING RIGHTS OVER JETS, 29-14 ON CHRISTMAS EVE, BRANDON JACOBS, REX RYAN TRADE CURSE WORDS (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ahmad-bradshaw-scores-second-half-tds-victor-cruz-catches-99-yard-score-ny-giants-top-ny-jets-29-14-article-1.996480)

"The
last straw came when the Giants arrived at the stadium on Saturday and saw all
their Super Bowl logos on the wall outside their locker room covered with black
curtains. After a week of listening to the Jets talk, that was the final
insult.
<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">
Boy did it feel good to the Giants to tear those curtains
down.

That’s the first thing they did after coming off the field with
their honor restored and playoff hopes saved thanks to an emotional, 29-14 win
over their intra-city rivals in the Meadowlands. David Diehl (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/David+Diehl), Lawrence Tynes (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Lawrence+Tynes) and
<a title="Zak DeOssie" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Zak+DeOssie">Zak
DeOssie</a> did the honors as soon as the game was over, but the entire Giants
organization shared their joy.

<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/giants-a-big-blue-christmas-29-14-win-jets-gallery-1.996560">PHOTOS:
GIANTS MAKE IT A BIG BLUE CHRISTMAS</a>

“We all saw that as a
sign of disrespect,” Diehl said. “They’ve worked extremely hard to cover up our
logos and the Super Bowl trophies right outside our locker room. I think all of
us said, ‘Hey, fine. Let them do what they want to do. But after this game,
we’re going to show that this is a team with a lot of pride.’ ”

They
showed plenty of that on Saturday with a stellar performance that included five
sacks and three turnovers by their revitalized defense and the first 99-yard
play in franchise history on a touchdown pass from Eli Manning (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Eli+Manning) to <a title="Victor Cruz" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Victor+Cruz">Victor
Cruz</a>. It was a relentless effort worthy of their “big brother” status that
the Jets had so loudly been after.

“Given all the noise that was coming
out of Florham Park, it’s a satisfying win,” said the Giants’ usually reserved
co-owner, John Mara (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/John+Mara). “It kind of
reinvigorates this franchise and the players.”

This was about far more
important things than “bragging rights” for the Giants, of course. The win
literally saved their season. Had they lost they could have been eliminated from
contention. Instead, they’ll wake up on Christmas morning knowing they can start
preparing for a winner-take-all showdown for the NFC East title with the Dallas
Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on New Year’s Day.

But don’t underestimate how
much those “bragging rights” meant to this franchise and its players, especially
after listening to constant trash-talking from Rex Ryan (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Rex+Ryan) and his players
that really began three years ago when Ryan got the Jets job. Nobody seemed to
take it more personally than Brandon Jacobs (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brandon+Jacobs), who
got into an argument with Ryan on the field after the game.

Jacobs called
Ryan a “loudmouth *******” and Jacobs said Ryan told him to “shut the f--- up.”
Jacobs said he called him “fat boy” and when Ryan tried to talk back to him,
Jacobs said, “I told him I’d punch him in the head.”

Those warm holiday
wishes aside, that’s exactly what the Giants (8-7) did to the Jets (8-7) with
arguably their finest defensive performance of the year. Jets quarterback <a title="Mark Sanchez" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mark+Sanchez">Mark
Sanchez</a> tried in vain to pick apart the Giants’ vulnerable defense by
throwing the ball 59 times. But he completed only 30, was held to 258 yards and
threw two interceptions. He was also sacked five times.

“Last week we
practiced with more energy, more enthusiasm and greater speed (on defense) than
we had in a long time, and it shocked me,” Tom Coughlin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Coughlin) said. “I
said, ‘Is that the same guys?’ The way they practiced is the way they played.
They were exceptional. Regardless of the circumstance, they kept turning the
Jets offense back.”

They needed it, too, because Manning struggled to
find open receivers against the Jets’ secondary. He completed only nine of 27
passes for 225 yards.

But he came through with two huge completions that
turned the game. Late in the first half, on a thirdand10 from his own 1, he hit
Cruz with a 12-yard pass that the second-year sensation turned into a 99-yard
touchdown. Then late in the third quarter, he hit Cruz (three catches, 164
yards) with a 36-yarder that set up an Ahmad Bradshaw (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ahmad+Bradshaw)
14-yard touchdown run that gave the Giants a 17-7 lead.

The Giants had a
chance to ease their way to a victory from there, but they turned the game into
a nail-biter after Sanchez fumbled a snap on the Giants’ 1-yard line with 8:53
remaining and Giants linebacker Jacquian Williams (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Jacquian+Williams)
recovered in the end zone. But Manning was picked off by Jets <a title="David Harris (Football)" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/David+Harris+%28Football%29">linebacker
David Harris</a> on the next play, and the Jets converted that into a 1-yard
touchdown run by Sanchez that got them within 20-14.

But the Giants’
defense wasn’t finished, and defensive tackle Chris Canty (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Chris+Canty) sacked
Sanchez in the end zone for a safety with 2:13 remaining. One Jets failed onside
kick later and Bradshaw was running for a 19-yard touchdown that sent Jets fans
scurrying for the exits.

For the Giants, though, the “bragging” had only
just begun.

“Those guys in green like to do a lot of talking,” Canty
said. “But at the end of the day the New York Football Giants talk with our
football pads in between those white lines.”

“We did a little talking
ourselves. We’re not innocent,” added defensive end Justin Tuck (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Justin+Tuck). “But we
came out and backed it up.”

Yes they did, and now they still have a
chance to back up all their playoff guarantees with one more big regular-season
game. But that’s for later. First, they needed to reassert what Diehl yelled
when he tore down the curtains, that “This is Giants Stadium!”

And just
as importantly to them, they sent a pointed message to the Jets that Jacobs put
so eloquently: “It’s time for them to shut the f--- up.”

GIANTS' FANS CROW, JETS FANS STEW AFTER BIG BLUE TAKES THE BATTLE OF TJE MEDOWLANDS (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/giants-fans-crow-jets-fans-stew-big-blue-takes-battle-meadowlands-article-1.996490)

Excerpt: "Pumped-up Giants fan Rick Patel (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Rick+Patel) didn’t wait
long after the final whistle Saturday to loudly exercise his bragging
rights.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


“When you count the Giants out, they come through,” Patel crowed after Big
Blue whipped the crosstown rival Jets in a wild, error-filled Meadowlands
showdown.</p>


“Now Rex Ryan (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Rex+Ryan) has to eat his
words,” sneered Patel, 35, of Princeton, N.J., invoking the Jets coach — who
could also add crow and humble pie to his holiday menu after Gang Green’s
Christmas Eve collapse.</p>


Giants die-hard Craig Fernicola (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Craig+Fernicola) was
thinking playoffs after Victor Cruz (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Victor+Cruz)’s 99-yard
touchdown catch and Ahmad Bradshaw (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ahmad+Bradshaw)’s two
TD runs boosted the Giants to a 29-14 victory over their Met Life Stadium
co-tenants.</p>


Oh, and he had something to say about the stadium’s new name.</p>


“This is Giants Stadium,” the Rockaway, N.J., resident announced. “Now all
the Jets fans realize we are much better than they are.”</p>


For those Gang Green fans — including <a title="Chris Christie" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Chris+Christie">New Jersey Gov. Chris
Christie</a>, who picked the Jets and sat in owner Woody Johnson (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Woody+Johnson)’s booth
— it was just another bitter loss.</p>


The Jets last Super Bowl win came in 1969, with Joe Namath (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Joe+Namath) at the helm.
This latest loss to their bitter rivals made their playoff hopes for this year a
little shakier.</p>


“I’ve been suffering a long time,” said Ed Martin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ed+Martin), 48, of Midland
Park, N.J. “Same old Jets. Just a different coach.” Read more...
</p></div>
</div>##

TOM COUGHLIN SHOWS HOLIDAY SPIRIT TO NY GIANTS, REITERATES TEAM CAN MAKE THE PLAYOFFS (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/tom-coughlin-shows-holiday-spirit-ny-giants-article-1.996351)

"Two days after the Giants’ most disheartening, damaging loss of the season,
that disaster was already part of Tom Coughlin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Coughlin)’s distant
past. He ignored the ugly loss to Washington when he spoke to his players on
Tuesday morning.


He wanted them focused on the Jets. He wanted to make sure their eyes were
still on the very reachable prize.</p>


“Gentlemen,” Coughlin told them, “Get your heads up. Get your eyes on me. Get
the frowns off your face. You’ve created the greatest opportunity in the world
for yourselves if we win two games. Win the division and we’re in the
playoffs.</p>


“And that’s exactly what the goal was at the beginning of the year.”</p>


In other words, forget everything else. Forget all the second-half slumps
they have endured in the Coughlin era. Forget the worries about the coach’s job
security. Forget about having won only one game in their last six. Forget the
noise coming out of both camps this week and all the hype surrounding the
biggest NFL battle for New York in at least 23 years.</p>


For the Giants (7-7), all that matters is this: They need a win to ensure
their survival. If they lose to the Jets (8-6) at MetLife Stadium on Saturday
afternoon they would be eliminated from the playoff chase if the Cowboys beat
the Eagles later in the day. If the Giants win, they’ll be playing for the NFC
East title when they face the Cowboys at the Meadowlands next Sunday.</p>


Who could ask for a better Christmas present than that?</p>


“If you were to sit down in August and say with two games to go you’d have
your destiny in your hands and not depend on somebody else,” Coughlin said,
“you’d say, ‘OK, sign me up for that.’ ”</p>


That’s true, although when the Giants began November with a 6-2 record they
were probably hoping they’d have locked up a playoff spot by now. Instead, they
have to fight for one against a Jets team that’s not only a battling for a
playoff berth, but they have to do it in a war for the theoretical ownership of
a city. Rex Ryan (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Rex+Ryan) has turned this
into a Battle for the Apple, filling his Jets with thoughts of finally shedding
their “little brother” status in New York.</p>


Those mind games don’t seem to matter to Big Brother, though. The Giants
believe there’s something a little bigger than “bragging rights” at stake.</p>


“It’s not like I’m going to be seeing guys at steakhouses and I’m going to
run into (Jets quarterback Mark) Sanchez and be like, ‘Hey, guess what? We beat
you,’ ” said Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Justin+Tuck). “Come on,
man. Who cares? The only thing I care about is getting another one of those
shiny things on my finger. That’s the only thing that we play this game for
anyway.</p>


“Ask Rex Ryan if he’s cool with the (AFC) Championship Game two years in a
row,” Tuck continued. “Guarantee you he’ll trade one of those for playing in the
Super Bowl and winning it.”</p>


That’s why, when the Giants were asked what they are playing for this week,
nobody mentioned the keys to the city. What they’re playing for, <a title="Kenny Phillips (Football)" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Kenny+Phillips+%28Football%29">safety Kenny
Phillips</a> said, is “
everything. It’s win or go home.”</p>


That, Coughlin said, isn’t a bad thing. It’s “exciting
.” It makes for “a
spirited time of the year.” So instead of hammering his players for their
lifeless performance last Sunday in their 23-10 loss at home to the Redskins, he
told them to remember that they’re still in control, and “these opportunities
don’t come around very often.</p>


“I told our players I wanted their heads up, I want their eyes up, I don’t
apologize for one thing, (and) they shouldn’t either, OK?” Coughlin said. “You
keep from saying this most of the time as a coach, but this is a playoff
atmosphere. It has to be.</p>


“It’s win and in, and it isn’t a pretty thing if you don’t.”</p>TWENTY GOOD REASONS TO ROOT FOR GISNTS, JETS ON CHRISTMAS EVE (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/ten-good-reasons-root-ny-jets-ten-good-reaosn-root-ny-giants-article-1.996384)

Excerpt: "The vast majority of you no doubt long ago pledged your allegiance to the
Jets or Giants. But there are still a few independent voters out there, deciding
which side to back on Saturday when the Ryans meet the Coughlins.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


To help with this critical choice, and as yet another public service, The
News offers you 10 good reasons to root for the Jets and 10 solid reasons to
cheer for the Giants. Then you’re on your own.</p>TEN REASONS TO ROOT FOR GIANTS<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


1. It’s actually good for Jet fans to suffer. Jet fans
wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they actually won anything. They’d
suffer a terrible emotional letdown. Their sense of identity would be crushed.
If you’re not a loser, what are you, exactly?

2. The
Jets are most to blame for the monstrosity that is MetLife Stadium. The Giants
wanted more of a retro look to the place, but Woody Johnson (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Woody+Johnson)
prevailed. He has left us with a sterile, gray, symmetrical bowl, with no roof
to protect fans and with locker rooms on the opposite side from the press box.
Where did all that money go, exactly? This is more Met Blob than
stadium.

3. Nobody wants to hear the name “<a title="Bill Cowher" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Bill+Cowher">Bill
Cowher</a>” anymore. If the Giants lose, we’ll have to endure more than a week
of aimless conjecture about whether Tom Coughlin (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Coughlin) gets the
ax. Coughlin will tell us he can’t worry about these things. <a title="John Mara" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/John+Mara">John
Mara</a> will say he will wait until the end of the season before analyzing
things. Bill Cowher will tell everyone for the 6,000th time that he’s not
interested in the job.

4. The Giants are more fun to
watch. Never thought we’d say such a thing, but the Giants are now one of the
most entertaining teams in the NFL. Their defense stinks, so there is plenty of
scoring. Their running stinks, so Eli Manning (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Eli+Manning) has to
throw downfield a lot. Compared to the Jets, the Giants are the Saints of New
York.

5. Fox has better robots during its broadcasts —
and we’re not just talking about the commentators. If the Giants win, we get to
see their playoff games on the robot network!

6. Plaxico Burress (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Plaxico+Burress)
won’t go out and do something stupid to celebrate. Not that he’s done anything
dumb lately, but why tempt fate?

7. Joe Namath won’t
guarantee any more victories this season. By January, nobody will ask him to say
anything at all.

8. The Jets are forcing their
cheerleaders, “The Flight Crew,” to shiver their way through another December
game and ought to be punished for it. Give the Giants credit for this much: They
don’t bother with such nonsense. Nothing more demeaning in sports than
professional cheerleaders bouncing around, underdressed, in the
cold.

9. Tiki Barber (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tiki+Barber) won’t be
able to blame Tom Coughlin. Until the Giants lose in the first round of the
playoffs.

10. Fireman Ed (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ed+Anzalone) already has
too many endorsements. He’s become way too big for his fireman britches.
J-E-T-T-I-S-O-N." Read more...</p><div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">
<div class="module_hdr">
<h3>GIANTS AT JETS,
at METLIFE STADIUM, 1 p.m.</h3></div>
<div class="module">
<div class="ed_module mod_padding">
<h3>VITALS</h3>


LINE: Jets by 3</p>


TV: Ch. 5 (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa)</p>


RADIO: WFAN-660 AM (Bob Papa, Carl Banks), Nationwide on
Sports USA (Larry Kahn, John Robinson)</p>


FORECAST: Sunny, mid-30s with 6-8 mph winds.</p>
<h3>KEY MATCHUP</h3>


RT Wayne Hunter vs. DE Justin Tuck While D’Brickashaw
Ferguson vs. Jason Pierre-Paul is the marquee matchup, this is where the Giants
want to attack. If only the injury-ravaged Tuck could regain some of his old
form. Hunter was eaten up by Jason Babin’s speed for three sacks last week, and
the Giants have to find a way to take advantage, if not by Tuck himself, then by
a few overload blitzes on that side. Look for the Jets to chip on Pierre-Paul
and slide protection toward Tuck.</p>
<h3>INJURY IMPACT</h3>


Tucks’ name is not on the injury report and Tom Coughlin says he’s feeling a
big game coming from him. Jake Ballard (knee) will miss the game, depriving the
Giants of a key weapon against the Jets, who have had a miserable time covering
TEs. WR Mario Manningham (knee) is listed as doubtful. Jets RB/KR Joe McKnight
will be a game-time decision with elbow and shoulder injuries, although he has
been showing some encouraging signs. WR/PR Jeremy Kerley has recovered from his
illness.</p>
<h3>SCOUT SAYS</h3>


“(Tight end) Dustin Keller can give the Giants problems if they stay in zone.
Jacquian Williams can run with him but they have no one to match up with him. As
much as the Giants have been vulnerable to big plays, the Jets don’t have the
speed at receiver to get it downfield. They’ll have to do their damage in yards
after the catch and in the red zone. Eli Manning’s job deciphering the Jets’
defense will be easier than in previous years. They’ve been forced to blitz a
lot less and they don’t have teams back on their heels. If the Giants can mix in
some success on the ground, I believe they will control this game. Special teams
cannot be ignored. The Jets have the more explosive return game. The Giants have
the more reliable kicker in (Lawrence) Tynes."</p>
<h3>INTANGIBLES</h3>


For all of the trash-talking flying across the Jersey burbs between Florham
Park and East Rutherford, there isn’t anything that should give either side an
advantage. It doesn’t matter that Plaxico Burress is facing his old team or that
the Giants DBs feel dissed or that Darrelle Revis is laughing at what Victor
Cruz and Hakeem Nicks have said. Who cares if Rex Ryan thinks the Jets are
better? All that bravado is amusing more than anything, considering that one
team is .500 and the other barely above. The bottom line is that each team needs
to win desperately.</p>
<h3>PREDICTION</h3>


GIANTS 30-27: Knocking each other out with a tie would be
more appropriate.- Hank Gola"</p></div></div></div></div>GIANTS OR JETS, EXPECT ONE TO BE OUT IN THE COLD ON CHRISTMAS DAY (http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants/christmas-wrapping-article-1.996363)

"They finally have to shut up and play now. It feels like a Christmas miracle.
By Friday, you half-expected Joe Namath (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Joe+Namath) or somebody
from the Jets side to say that Lawrence Taylor (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Lawrence+Taylor) was
really nothing as an outside linebacker.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


The Giants and Jets — do they think they can talk about bragging rights after
the seasons they’ve both had? — finally and blessedly get around to playing the
MetLife-or-Death Bowl at 1 o’clock, and only one team can win, and that means
only one team can take real life into the last weekend of the NFL season, one
that held so much promise for the Giants and Jets halfway through it.</p>


Oh, sure, remember what it was like when they had each played eight games?
The Giants were 6-2 and boy were they in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. The
Jets? They were only 5-3, but remember all the big talk we heard, out of the
locker room and in the papers and on the radio, about how the Jets were going to
beat the Patriots at MetLife and take charge of the AFC East.</p>


The Jets promptly got beat by three touchdowns, are just 3-3 since then. The
Giants are worse over their last six, 1-5, and just one Eli Manning (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Eli+Manning) fourth
quarter away from being 0-6 since that 6-2 start. Now they play each other
today, the biggest game the two of them have ever played against each other, a
game out of the past between the two teams, from when they really were crosstown
rivals — Yankee Stadium, Shea — instead of just cross-stadium. Or
cross-Jersey.</p>


“It’s always emotional when you play your crosstown rivals,” <a title="Mark Sanchez" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Mark+Sanchez">Mark
Sanchez</a> said the other day, getting into the spirit of it all by putting
himself into a weird time warp, when the two teams really did feel as if they
were playing for something even when it was just the preseason.

<a title="Phil Simms" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Phil+Simms">Phil
Simms</a> was talking about it all the other day, about the preseason games and
the regular-season games he played against the Jets. The only one that was big
to him in the regular season was the last game in 1988, the Jets knocking the
Giants out of the playoffs when Ken O’Brien (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ken+O%27Brien+%28Football%29)
threw one to Al Toon (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Al+Toon) over Giants <a title="Tom Flynn (Football)" href="http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Tom+Flynn+%28Football%29">safety Tom
Flynn</a> at old Giants Stadium.
</p></div>But listen to Simms, a guy out of the past talking about how much the game
mattered, even when it really wasn’t supposed to.<div style="BORDER-BOTTOM: medium none; TEXT-ALIGN: left; BORDER-LEFT: medium none; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff; COLOR: #000000; OVERFLOW: hidden; BORDER-TOP: medium none; BORDER-RIGHT: medium none; TEXT-DECORATION: none">


“I always felt the tension during the week, whether we were playing them in
the preseason or for real,” Simms said to me the other day. “And I have to tell
you, it was really an awesome feeling. Fourth preseason game, last
regular-season game, middle-of-the-season game. Didn't matter. The stuff between
us and them felt truly wicked. Maybe we just didn't talk about it as much.”</

G-Men Surg.
12-24-2011, 12:10 PM
From the bottom of my heart I wish you and your love ones happy holidays RF ! Thanks as always !

RoanokeFan
12-24-2011, 12:14 PM
From the bottom of my heart I wish you and your love ones happy holidays RF ! Thanks as always !

My best wishes to you and your family for a great holiday season [Y]

BigBlue1971
12-24-2011, 12:37 PM
thanks Roanoke!</P>


greetings from London@ Xmas time.</P>


merry Xmas to you and your family Roanoke!</P>

GameTime
12-24-2011, 01:55 PM
Thanks Ro.....</P>


Here we go!!!!!!!</P>

RoanokeFan
12-24-2011, 05:46 PM
Thanks Ro.....</P>


Here we go!!!!!!!</P>


</P>


</P>


[B]</P>

RoanokeFan
12-24-2011, 05:47 PM
thanks Roanoke!</P>


greetings from London@ Xmas time.</P>


merry Xmas to you and your family Roanoke!</P>


</P>


</P>


My best to you and yours this holiday season, my friend.</P>