Jets hit "road" to play Giants in latest meeting in New York rivalry Print
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Thursday, 04 October 2007 12:55
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 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -The New York Jets are packing their visitors uniforms, preparing for a raucous crowd and hitting the road - for a game at their home stadium.
When the Jets take on the rival Giants on Sunday at the Meadowlands, they'll be the enemies instead of the fan favorites.
``It will be different because when we're home, it's nothing but green and when we go in this week, it'll be nothing but blue,'' wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. ``We'll also be on the opposite sideline.''
The visitor-home stuff makes no difference to Jets receiver Laveranues Coles, especially when it comes to playing at Giants Stadium.
``In my opinion, we're always playing a road game,'' he said. ``We travel two hours to play a game, and it takes us three hours to get back home. How many other teams you know have to do that?''
The rivalry isn't exactly what the baseball equivalent is in New York with the Mets and Yankees, but it still riles up fans.
``These teams share a stadium and, to a certain extent, Giants Stadium is Jets Stadium on Jets game day. Every other day of the week it is Giants Stadium,'' said Giants tackle Kareem McKenzie, who played for the Jets from 2001-04 ``From the Jets' standpoint, it's a thing of `We're going to beat them in their own stadium and make them feel some sort of a reality check and try to be the team of New York - be the team talked about.'''
While the teams play every year in the preseason, this will be only the 11th regular-season meeting between them. The Giants lead the series 6-4, and haven't lost since 1993.
``You go out and see those guys a lot, so you want to know that you beat them,'' Cotchery said. ``You won't brag about it, but the chest will stick out a little bit more.''
The Jets (1-3) have a huge task ahead of them after the Giants (2-2) sacked Donovan McNabb 12 times, including six by Osi Umenyiora, in a 16-3 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Giants are tied with Chicago for the NFL lead with 16 sacks and have steadily improved since giving up 45 points in a season-opening loss at Dallas and 35 the following week to Green Bay.
``If we get 12 again, that would be wonderful,'' said defensive end Justin Tuck, who has four this season. ``We just want to keep constant pressure on their quarterback.''
The key for the Jets' offensive line will be to protect quarterback Chad Pennington, still recovering from a sprained right ankle suffered in the season opener against New England.
``When you play against a defense like this, you can't expect the game to go perfect,'' Pennington said. ``With the type of movement that they have, with all the different looks that they present on defense, there are going to be some plays that look a little ugly.''
The Jets are hoping to keep those to a minimum, and might need to open the offense a little to do so. They rank 28th in the league in yards per game and yards rushing per game. Thomas Jones, acquired from Chicago in the offseason to give the running game a boost, has had one game of 100-plus yards and struggled to find holes.
``It's a long season,'' Jones said. ``We've played four games, but we have 12 games left. All we can do is focus on each game individually, and that's what we're working on this week is, not only the running game but our whole team in general, just being as consistent as we can be.''
While the Giants rank in the middle of the pack on offense, they've received surprising contributions from Derrick Ward after Brandon Jacobs went down in the season opener with a knee injury. Ward, the Jets' seventh-round draft pick in 2004, has a career-high 353 yards rushing and 17 catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.
Jacobs is ready to return for the Giants this Sunday, but coach Tom Coughlin did not want to commit on a starter.
The Jets' secondary could get tested often by Eli Manning. The Giants quarterback has completed less than 60 percent of his passes, but the Jets are allowing 371 yards per game, including 253 passing, to rank near the bottom of the league in both categories. Wide receiver Plaxico Burress also leads the NFC with six touchdown catches, which ranks him second in the league.
``You know that he's dangerous and that they are going to him deep,'' safety Kerry Rhodes said. ``We have to try and control him, but we can't key on him because they have so many other weapons.''
Burress and Toomer have 19 catches each and tight end Jeremy Shockey has 16 receptions, but the offense has also dropped in total yardage in each game.
``We have to do some different things a lot better,'' Manning said. ``I have to play better, but we can get back to playing good football. As long as we are winning games and not hurting the team and making tons of mistakes, we will be all right.''
And despite being 1-3, the Jets are confident they can get things turned around to salvage their season. The last time they dropped three of their first four games, they won the AFC East five seasons ago.
``I told a few people that I have been in this situation before and made it to the AFC championship,'' said cornerback Andre Dyson, who started 1-4 with Tennessee in 2002. ``It's possible. You just have to take it one game at a time and keep moving on after that.''
 

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