New York, New York: Center of the Football World

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New York, New York: Center of the Football World

Nov. 24, 2008

"It's up to you, New York, New York."

Those lyrics from the classic Sinatra song couldn't be more fitting for a city that has both if its football teams controlling their own destiny as they move closer and closer towards postseason berths.

Yes, the New York Giants and New York Jets, the defending Super Bowl champs and the team with Brett Favre—are a combined 18-4 with Thanksgiving upon us, and have shown no signs of slowing down.

In fact, since Week Six, when the Jets inexplicably lost on the road to Oakland, neither team has lost, with the Giants currently riding a six game winning streak while the Jets have put together an impressive five game win streak of their own.

The defending champs are winning this season with the same formula that propelled them past the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

  • Consistent play from Eli Manning at quarterback. 
  • A virtually unstoppable, three-headed monster of a  run game behind Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw. 
  • A relentless pass rushing defense, even without the losses of their two best players (Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora.).  Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka have filled in admirably.
  • Solid special teams, as John Carney has made all by one of his field goal attempts all season (24-25). 
  • Steady coaching from Tom Coughlin and his staff.

The Jets have been a far improved team from the product they put on the field last season, displaying a potent offense that ranks second only to—you guessed it—the Giants in scoring offense.

Defensively, they're much improved as well, as the acquisition of nose tackle Kris Jenkins is up there in value with Favre, as he has solidified the defensive line and made the 3-4 far more formidable than it was in either of the first two years coach Eric Mangini had implemented it.

The Jets have been able to run off eight wins in their first 11 games with the contributions from everyone:

  • Favre has been just short of great, as he ranks among the top ten in all of football in touchdowns (3rd with 20), yards (9th with nearly 2,500), rating (7th with a 94.1) and completion percentage (1st, with 70.6).
  • Thomas Jones quietly leads the AFC in rushing, and has found the end zone a combined 11 times (nine rushing, two receiving).
  • The Jets' MVP could easily be Leon Washington, who seems to break at least one game changing play a game. He's an explosive kick returner and he's proven he can be a dependent change of pace running back this season, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
  • Led by Jenkins, the Jets defense has been great against the run, as they rank third in the league in Rush defense. The team also ranks third in all of football in sacks.
  • Special teams has been a difference maker, as Jay Feely has stepped in and replaced the injured Mike Nugent, and proved his worth with his game winning field goal in New England two weeks ago. As mentioned earlier, Leon Washington is among the most dynamic returners in all of football, and is a threat to bring back a kick on any given chance.

In the media capital of the world, you couldn't be scripting a better story that is likely to captivate it, even if we're still a ways away from getting there.

The argument can be made though, that these two teams represent the best each conference has to offer.

The Giants are the clear cut favorite coming out of the NFC and would have to really slip up down the stretch to not have the NFC playoffs run through Giants Stadium.

The Jets are tied with Pittsburgh for the second best record in the AFC and have already defeated the only team ahead them (Tennessee) on its home field.

The defending Super Bowl champions and the New York Brett's...err...Jets, sharing a stadium and perhaps a date in Tampa come February 1st.

Yes, it's still too soon to make any predictions, and in the NFL more than any other sport, any team is one devastating injury away from having it's season hope derailed. 

And while often teams who appear to be contenders at this point in the season are hardly guaranteed any postseason success, with just five weeks left, both these teams appear to be for real.

Led by two Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, both the Giants and Jets may be in the process of giving New York something really special. Perhaps, something super.

Start spreadin' the news.

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