Stage set for another game to remember
by John Jastremski
Dec 02, 2015 | 12957 views | 0 0 comments | 717 717 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Maybe it’s the holiday season, maybe it’s the end of the year, but there’s certainly one reason I’m feeling nostalgic starting off the final month of the year.

It’s because the Jets and Giants play a very meaningful game that will certainly be telling for both teams’ playoff chances here in 2015, and the matchup gives me flashbacks of four seasons ago.

I’m sure Jet and Giant fans alike remember the following date like it was yesterday: Saturday, December 24, 2011. It was Christmas Eve in New York City and the Jets and the Giants played a game that changed the fortunes of both organizations for the following years to come.

If you remember, the Jets were fresh off back-to-back AFC championship game appearances. They were an 8-6 football team that had their sights set on a third straight postseason appearance.

The Giants were a team that had missed the postseason the previous two seasons. They were 7-7, they were embarrassed by the Washington Redskins the week before, and desperately needed a victory over their crosstown rivals.

There was all sorts of trash talk from Rex Ryan, the Super Bowl trophies outside the Giants locker room were covered up and at the outset of the game it was all Jets domination.

Gang Green held the early lead, they were able to put serious pressure on Eli Manning and all of a sudden the game and the fortunes of both organizations changed on one play.

Third and 10 from the one-yard line, the Giants down, 7-3, and Victor Cruz takes an out route 99 yards to the house for a touchdown.

Right then and there, the switch was flipped for the New York Giants. They dominated the Jets in the second half, went on to win the game, and rode that momentum all the way to their second Super Bowl championship in four years.

For the Jets, everything went south. They lost the regular season finale in Miami and they haven’t been back to the playoffs since.

Rex Ryan is gone, Mark Sanchez is gone, but revenge has to be on your mind if you are Jets fan preparing for Sunday’s tilt with the Giants.

Even though it will be an early December matchup this time around, the stakes couldn’t be higher for both of these teams.

The Jets at 6-5 are in position to make the postseason for the first time since 2010, but they need to find a way to go 4-1 in their final five games to feel good about their chances considering the competitive nature of the wild card race.

They were able to rebound Sunday against a Miami team that is a flat out mess, but can they take the momentum of Sunday’s rout into the final month of the season.

That remains to be seen.

As for the Giants, they are 5-6, but are very much alive in the lowly NFC East race. They squandered an opportunity against the Washington Redskins on Sunday, but a win against Gang Green would go a long way in helping the Giants get back to the postseason for the first time since 2011.

Considering the Giants have two very difficult games at the end of the season with the undefeated Carolina Panthers and at the Minnesota Vikings, this Sunday’s game is pretty close to a must have for them.

The last time the Giants played the Jets, Tom Coughlin was under the gun, and his team needed to make the playoffs in order to insure his job security. Here we are in 2015 and the same could be said for the future HOF coach.

Coughlin needs to make the playoffs to feel good about his job security for 2016 and beyond.

You could not ask for a better scene for Sunday. Two teams, crosstown rivals, both need the game in the absolute worst way.

As Terrell Owens once said, “Get your popcorn ready.”

JJ’s Week 13 Unlocks of the Week

(Season Record: 25-31-3)

• Giants +1.5

• Minnesota +1

• Buffalo -3

• Oakland +3

• Tampa Bay -2

You can listen to me Sunday from 2-6 a.m. on WFAN.

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