Jets vs. Giants: 5 Ways This Previews the Christmas Eve Contest

Adam RosenCorrespondent IIAugust 26, 2011

Jets vs. Giants: 5 Ways This Previews the Christmas Eve Contest

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    The annual Week 3 matchup between the New York Giants and New York Jets contains more storylines than usual. New Jets WR Plaxico Burress is facing his old team. Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas is out for the season with a torn right ACL, so Bie Blue has to quickly recover. Mark Sanchez made the news (again) for appearing in GQ, channeling his inner Broadway Joe. And the microscope is still on Eli Manning for telling ESPN Radio's Michael Kay in the same elite QB class as New England Patriots QB Tom Brady.

    Oh, and Hurricane Irene is making its way up the East Coast.

    The game will now be played at 2 p.m. due to concerns over the impending storm, but in four months, the teams may have to worry about an impending blizzard instead of a hurricane before their Week 16 contest on Christmas Eve. Given that NFL teams always turn it up a notch during Week 3 preseason games, this should be a nice preview of what's sure to be an intense battle down the road.

He's Back

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    They allowed him to get away.

    Now, Plaxico Burress, who'll be donning a Jets jersey on Saturday, will face his former team for the first time since spending 22 months in jail for a gun-related incident.

    Burress, 34 years old, impressed in his return to the NFL, catching three passes for 66 yards to help his new team record a 27-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday. Burress showed no ill effects from his time away, catching a 20-yard pass from quarterback Mark Sanchez on the Jets' first play from scrimmage; later, he recorded a 26-yard touchdown in the final minute of the opening half.

    After spending four highly productive seasons with the Giants, Burress will get the opportunity to seek revenge on the team that saw him become a Super Bowl hero, but allowed him to go when he became a convicted felon. 

    While I'll be rooting for Burress in his emotional return to the Meadowlands, Burress has always shined in the big moment, and Saturday night will be no different.

    Jets fans should get used to it because it's going to happen a lot this season.  So if you think the hype for Burress' return is big now, wait until December. Then, Giants fans are going to see what could've been and only imagine the promise Burress would've brought for the 2011 season if he were playing for Big Blue.

    Watching him on Saturday night is going to hurt, but when this game actually counts, it will undoubtedly hurt even more.    

Featured Matchups

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    1) Darrelle Revis vs. Hakeem Nicks

    On Saturday, New York Giants star receiver, Hakeem Nicks, will be taking a visit to Revis Island when he will be given the challenge of scoring on cornerback Darrelle Revis.  Not many star wide receivers have accomplished that feat, so don't expect Nicks' performance to be any different. 

    Therefore, the Giants must turn towards their other receivers to step up.  While Kyle Wilson will be asked to defend against Domenik Hixon or Victor Cruz in the slot, and since Antonio Cromartie will be defending against Mario Manningham, Revis will once again be defending against the opposition's best. 

    If Nicks wants to become one of the game's best,  let him start on Saturday.  Manning certainly woudn't mind.   

    Advantage: Jets


    2) Jets Offensive Line vs. Giants Defensive Line

    Being without Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora, who'll be on the sidelines after undergoing knee surgery, one may think the Jets have the advantage, but I'd hold that thought for a second. 

    When they meet in December, expect Umenyiora to be playing, but even though this time around, the Giants are going to be without him, that shouldn't be a problem. 

    Watching Jason Pierre-Paul quickly transform into a superstar is a promising sign for the future, and with Justin Tuck continuing to be a force on the defensive line brings a little hope to the present. 

    While watching these two dominate, it leaves you wondering if the Giants should've traded Umenyiora when they had the chance,  but simply look at the Jets offensive line. It doesn't take long before you realize the importance of roster depth. 

    Robert Turner, a versatile lineman who has been used at a variety of positions, is expected to miss up to three months. Without him, the Jets will ask Vladimir Ducasse, a second-year lineman who has been struggling in his time in the NFL, to play at guard and tackle. 

    After the Jets preseason loss to the Houston Texans, Ryan did not shy away about his feelings and concerns about the offensive line.  “Clearly, we’ve got a long way to go with our protections.  We’ve got to figure this thing out, because it’s ridiculous.”

    In all likelihood, the Jets will have to look outside the organization for help.  While the Giants performance on the defensive line makes you forget about Umenyiora for just a little, the Giants cannot succeed in 2011 without him.  And if the Jets have another injury to the offensive line, a mild cause for concern will undoubtedly turn into a major one. 

    When these two teams meet again, let's hope that both lines are healthy.  It's going to be a great matchup on Saturday, but an even better one in December. 

    Advantage: Giants

    Both teams have two games to prove who has the better defense.  We know on paper which team does, but when they take the field, I'm hoping it's a different story. 

Who's King of New York?

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    Although I despise the New York Jets, there isn't the history of hatred between the Jets and the Giants, like there is between other in-state rivalries, such as the Yankees vs. Mets, or even the Rangers vs. Islanders. 

    While many Giants fans might've supported the Jets during their consecutive runs of failing to reach the Super Bowl, I did not, when these two teams play each other, the battle lines are drawn and state pride is at stake.

    Upon being named head coach of the Jets, it didn't take long for Rex Ryan to declare his team “the biggest show in town." But someone should inform Ryan that he's yet to win a Super Bowl with the "greatest" football team in New York, and until he does, the Giants reign supreme in New York.

    Despite the Giants' struggles last season, allowing room for the Jets to steal back-page headlines during the postseason by winning a few playoff games doesn't signify a changing of the guard in New York.

    Saturday, albeit it's a preseason game, when these two teams meet, more than the final score will be at stake.  Last summer, the Jets and Giants played each other in the first NFL game at the New Meadowlands Stadium. 

    They meet again on Saturday, but no matter the outcome, the Jets and the Giants will meet again during the regular season, and this time, the score matters.

    And while pride and bragging rights will be up for grabs tomorrow, when they meet in the regular season, one of these teams could be fighting for a playoff berth—making this battle a lot more intriguing than it already is.    

Life Without Terrell

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    Saturday night, the Giants will tested for the first time without Terrell Thomas starting at cornerback.

    Problems? You can bet on it. 

    The Jets receiving corps, which consists of Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason, was a major cause for concern prior to Thomas tearing his ACL.  Since he'll be watching from the sidelines, arguably the most talented group of wideouts in the league will be too much for the Giants secondary to handle.

    It might not fit the Jets game plan, but offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer should forgo the running game, allowing Sanchez to throw at will. 

    As you get ready to witness Sanchez exploit the weak Giants secondary, Giant fans must get used to life without Thomas, and Saturday night will be a great starting point. 

    It's going to be frustrating to watch now, but unbeknownst to the possibility of a playoff spot at stake, watching the Jets pick apart the Giants again on Christmas Eve, will hurt even more.

    While losing to the Jets in the preseason is painful, losing to the Jets in the regular season is unacceptable. But unfortunately, in Week 16, that might be the case. 

If at First You Dont Succeed...

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    Don't try again.

    2011 marks a tale of two seasons for the teams from the Empire State.  Beginning Saturday night, the NFL world will witness one team heading for a season of promise, while the other team will be playing for a top-ten draft pick.

    If you didn't hear it from head coach Rex Ryan, the Jets are Super Bowl contenders.  They were when Ryan first took over the job, and this year is the same story.  They have the defense, and some might say they have the quarterback. 

    But when the season ends, although Sanchez is a two-time AFC losing championship quarterback, he'll be thanking the free-agent signing of the year, Plaxico Burress, for possibly taking the Jets to the next level.  Trust me on this one.

    Now for the team that will be on the other sidelines—the Giants.

    Unfortunately for them, even before all of the injuries, general manager Jerry Reese has put his team in a position that has set them up for failure.  From failing to make the big free-agent splash, to not fulfilling the needs at the linebacker position, Reese has been anything but a genius during his tenure in New York.  While many teams in the NFL, and in the NFC East, have improved, the Giants stood idle and allowed key players to walk.

    This game, the third preseason game, where the starters will be playing well into the second half, will be a true test for both teams.  Reese has promised Giants fans, they'll be competitive throughout the entire season.  Really, Jerry?

    After Saturday's defeat to the Jets, Reese will realize that Gang Green simply overmatched the Giants in all facets of the game.  A problem that will be occurring all season long for the Giants. So while the Jets will be victorious on Saturday,  when they meet again on Christmas Eve, the outcome is going to be no different.