Consider the gaping difference between the two New York football franchises. The Jets enjoyed a glimmer of success for a couple of years, and have been trying since then to convince everyone, including themselves, that the team is still a threat. The Giants, on the other hand, quietly maneuver around the business at hand, and allow the "me" virus to infect and spread within their cross-town rivals.
The New York Giants parade into town this week with an impressive trophy, a winning culture, and a very, very intimidating football team. As the Jets and their beleaguered fan base look on, they will be educated once again on professionalism and the requisite needs to emerge victorious weekly.
The Giants face a hellacious schedule, which might be their greatest advantage as they negotiate through the season. As with many good teams, they have had the propensity over the last few years to drop winnable games in frustrating, unexplainable, sometime maddening ways. Last year's two losses to the overmatched Washington Redskins are the best cases in point to underscore that flaw. Certainly, it seemed the Giants were less than motivated in those games, and a few others against lesser competition, even though the 'Skins represent a division opponent - one that arrives twice annually with some historical bad blood trickling, and sometimes gushing, from the matchup. Isn't there always some vendetta lurking in divisional games?
Well, the Giants don't have much time to relax this year. The Redskins should be more dangerous with a young quarterback in Robert Griffin who has the potential to be an explosive playmaker. That should get Big Blue's attention. Other than the annual slugfests with the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, the Giants will be challenged in contests against the San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, the Green Bay Packers, the New Orleans Saints, and Pittsburgh Steelers, to name a few brutal skirmishes.
Only the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns are cushions in that schedule, and given the Giants' recent history, who would bet against them losing one of those games? However, with an enormous pass rush featuring madman Jason Pierre-Paul and a championship quarterback in Eli Manning, look for a return trip to the NFC Championship Game.
Glenn Vallach has been a football fan for most of his lifetime, but never played organized pigskin unless you consider the thousands of youth hours running slant routes on city streets with a friend serving as Joe Willie. Don Maynard was his idol, an adulation he took seriously, complete with a number 13 stitched to his sweatshirt. He remains a New York Jet fan through so much disappointment and embarrassment over the years. Coach Rex Ryan has rekindled a dormant fire, but sometimes he feels as if he doesn't understand the likely end result of all his efforts. It has been 42 years, after all.
- Yahoo! Sports New York Jets page
- Yahoo! Sports New York Giants page
- Yahoo! Sports Eli Manning page
- Yahoo! Sports Jason Pierre-Paul page
- Tom Canavan, The Associated Press, Nicks, Cruz, Manning looking to hurt Dallas again