The last two times the New York Giants and New York Jets met in the regular season, the results turned out to be fitting microcosms of the franchises – the Giants moved on from wins to eventual Super Bowl victories to retain area bragging rights, and the Jets remained a star-crossed team still looking to end a title drought that has reached 46 years.
This time, both teams enter Sunday's matchup with urgency to build late-season momentum and not much focus on who owns New York.
The Giants (5-6) won the last two of their four titles in 2007 and 2011, with the latter also the last time they reached the postseason. Midway through 2007, Eli Manning rallied the Giants by the Jets with a pair of second-half touchdown passes in a 35-24 victory, and the most recent meeting – on Christmas Eve – provided the direct spark for their Super Bowl XLVI title. That came in the form of Victor Cruz's 99-yard catch-and-run touchdown to lifted the Giants to a 29-14 victory.
That started a season-ending six-game winning streak – the final four coming in the playoffs – that was capped by a second Super Bowl victory over New England.
The Jets ended 2011 on a three-game skid and finished 8-8, starting their four-year playoff drought.
''This is the next game and an important one, not just because it's Giants versus Jets and both teams share a stadium in the same city and everything,'' Manning told the team's official website. ''But it's important because of what it means for our playoff hunt.
“It'll be a great test for us, they're a good defense, their offense is playing well and scoring points, and we have to play well.”
The Giants won the NFC East at 9-7 in 2011, and the same record might be good enough to claim the division title again as the sub-.500 Giants are tied with Washington atop the moribund East.
Manning was unable to rally the Giants from a 20-point fourth-quarter deficit in last Sunday's 20-14 road loss to the Redskins, throwing three interceptions and getting sacked three times to offset 322 yards and two scoring passes.
“I think we just have to find ways to make some plays,” said Manning, whose 20th three-interception game tied him with older brother Peyton for the most among active quarterbacks. “I don't think it was part of our effort or understanding the offense or not. … I thought our desire to do it was there; just our execution has to be better.”
Manning again will be operating behind a makeshift offensive line which lost right guard Geoff Schwartz to a season-ending leg injury. Left guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg are working their way through injuries after sitting out Sunday, while right tackle Marshall Newhouse is dealing with a sore back.
The Giants are 28th in the league with 89.4 rushing yards per game after totaling 33 on 13 rushes against Washington. That, along with the banged-up line, might leave them even less inclined to test a Jets run defense that's allowing an NFL-low 84.4 yards per game and set a team record by limiting Miami to 12 in last week's 38-20 victory.
That could result in Manning relying heavily on Odell Beckham Jr. again after targeting him 18 times last week. He had nine receptions for 142 yards and a TD and is looking for a team-record fifth straight 100-yard game.
Beckham has 30 catches for 481 yards and five TDs in his last four contests, with Manning targeting him 56 times in that span.
It's uncertain if Beckham will make his first visit to “Revis Island,” as star cornerback Darrelle Revis is working through the NFL's concussion protocol after missing Sunday's game. Marcus Williams started in his place and recorded his fifth interception, but he joined Revis on the injury list with a knee sprain and his status is uncertain.
That could result in Beckham being covered primarily by Antonio Cromartie, who played in the 2011 game and missed a tackle on Cruz's touchdown that would have limited the play to about 12 yards.
“That play won't ever stand out for me,” Cromartie told the team's official website. “It's a play, it's over and done with, and it's four years old.
“I don't think there is a reason to get up for a team any different than any other week. I think I look at it as they are our next opponent and we have to prepare ourselves the right way to get another win and try to get a two-game win streak going.”
Coach Todd Bowles also has downplayed the rivalry angle as the Jets continue to battle for a wild-card spot with the 10-1 Patriots all but certain to win the AFC East.
The Jets are one of five 6-5 teams in the conference. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 277 yards and a season-high four touchdown passes against Miami, while Brandon Marshall's renaissance season continued with nine catches for 131 yards and two TDs.
''What you saw today was our potential, what we're capable of doing,'' Marshall said. ''Now the mission is to do it every play, every game and we'll see what happens.''
Marshall, with team highs of 71 receptions, 931 yards and nine touchdowns – eclipsing all of his 2014 totals in 13 games with Chicago – is closing on his eighth 1,000-yard season and needs six receptions to reach 850 and 25th place on the career list.
- Antonio Cromartie
- Darrelle Revis
- Eli Manning
- Geoff Schwartz
- Justin Pugh
- Marshall Newhouse
- New York Giants
- New York Jets
- Odell Beckham
- Ryan Fitzpatrick
- Weston Richburg