Jets, Giants face off with playoff spots hanging in balance
With the verbal smackdowns at a fevered pitch - and playoff berths on the line - the Giants-Jets showdown at MetLife Stadium on Saturday has put their fiercely loyal fans on edge.
"The fact that it's New York versus New York, it's a perfect game for everyone to gather around the TV," blogger Marc Greenberg, of thejetpress.com, said of the gridiron tussle (1 p.m. on FOX). "It adds a little extra spice for the fans. New Yorkers are very proud of their sports teams, and any chance to gloat and hold it over the other is a golden opportunity."
Unabashed Jets fanatic and season ticket holder Michael Stein said he favors his team because of their underdog status and is irritated by what he perceives as the media's fawning over Big Blue.
"I hate the Giants!" he howled. "I really want to win this game. I'd really like for us to be the better team in New York - at least for the week."
Stein, 27, said Gang Green is at its best in seesaw contests.
"If we're going to win, it's going to be close," he said.
The Jets-Giants rivalry doesn't run deep historically because the rivals play in different conferences and meet just once every four years in the regular season. Fans of the Giants (7-7), however, are dreaming of beating the stout Jets (8-6) and celebrating a "Blue" Christmas.
"I personally don't like the Jets, but respect them as a tough opponent that usually comes ready to play," said Bryan Gibbs, 25, of Manhattan.
He expects Saturday's game to be chock full of action.
"The excitement of being able to watch a game between two teams that share a stadium is always high, but when you combine the [afternoon] start on Christmas Eve and the playoffs in the balance, there is certainly some heightened anticipation," Gibbs said.
The winner will control its playoff destiny entering the final week of the season; the loser will have to rely on the outcomes of other games to reach the postseason.
G-men disciple Teddy Kahn, of the Upper West Side, said he's counting on Eli Manning and company to overcome a midseason slide and reach the postseason.
"Going into the season, I didn't think [the Giants] had a chance at the playoffs, so the fact that they control their own destiny is pretty impressive," he said.
PICK YOUR SIDE
Unlike frequently contested rivalries such as Mets-Yankees or Rangers-Islanders, the Giants and Jets meet in the regular season every four years. If you're a New Yorker who is having trouble picking a team to root for this Saturday, amNewYork has you covered:
WHO THEIR FANS ARE
Jets: Mets fans, frequent fliers to Revis Island, guys named Bennie and women named Joan.
Giants: Yankees fans, those who are taller than 6-foot-4 and people not named Namath.
BUT WHY YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR THEM?
Jets: These days, your older sibling isn't even picking on you anymore - just being aloof. You also bred a green beagle and called it Under. Or Sanchez.
Giants: Your dad and your grandfather still talk about the 1933 championship season. For some reason, you already hate the cities of Philadelphia and Dallas.
HERE'S HOW YOU SHOULD DO IT
Jets: A la Rex Ryan, blurt out extreme predictions during the game, such as: "The Jets will be the first NFL team to land on Mars."
Giants: Wear three championship-size costume rings and hold up your hands whenever you hear cheers from a Jets fan. No need for words.