Column: Don’t call Jets-Giants a rivalry yet

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) celebrates as he runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP)

Life as a New York Jets fan is sometimes a miserable experience. Besides the multitude of mistakes the Jets have made from leadership all the way down to their play on the field, the worst part has been watching the success the New York Giants have had playing in the same exact stadium. Over the last 10 years of my life, I have witnessed two New York Giants Super Bowl victories while watching the Jets continuously fall short of even making it to the Super Bowl.

Now, there is no real reason for me to hate the Giants. The two teams only share the same city. They play every year in the preseason, but the outcome of that game does not matter. It is not like baseball where there is a Subway Series every year for bragging rights to the city. We are just left with the rare regular season matchups that come every few years for the Jets and Giants attempt to strike up a feeling of rivalry.

On Sunday, the New York Jets and the New York Giants will meet at MetLife Stadium for the first regular season game since 2011 when the Giants defeated the Jets 29-14 on Christmas Eve. Like many Jets fans, I have tried to block that game out of my memory, but I will never be able to forget Giant receiver Victor Cruz’s 99-yard touchdown reception that broke open the game. The Giants carried the momentum from that game all the way to a victory in the Super Bowl.

On the other side of that game, the New York Jets finished 8-8 in what was a disappointing season after making the AFC championship game in 2009 and 2010. That Jets team completely collapsed under former head coach Rex Ryan, as that loss to the Giants was part of a three-game losing streak to end the season.

Now in 2015, the Jets find themselves in another must win situation against the Giants. Sitting at 6-5, the Jets are trying to break out of a midseason slump that has severely damaged their playoff chances. After a promising 4-1 start, the Jets lost four of their next five games with their lone win coming against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jets defeated the Miami Dolphins 38-20 last weekend in a game that is a good step in the right direction. The Jets must build on that with a victory over the Giants to enter the home stretch of the season with some momentum to make a playoff push.

On the other side of the ball, this game is just as important for the Giants who with a 5-6 record are still competing for a division title in the NFC East. The Giants have history on their side however when it comes to playing the Jets. The Giants have won the last five matchups with the Jets. The last time the Giants lost to the Jets came in 1993 when the Jets won 10-6 on Halloween.

Besides history, the Giants will also have the advantage of having Odell Beckham Jr. at wide receiver. After a breakout rookie season Beckham has not cooled off and is clearly Eli Manning’s favorite target. Beckham has recorded 72 catches this season for 1,005 yards and nine touchdowns. Beckham will be a handful for the Jets to cover, especially if cornerback Darrelle Revis is not playing. Revis missed last week’s game against the Dolphins due to NFL concussion protocol as he suffered a blow to the head in Week 10 that caused him to leave the game.

Sunday’s matchup between the Jets and Giants will be more important due to the fact that both teams need a win. It cannot be considered a true rivalry until the teams play more often and the Jets accomplish more.


Spencer Mayfield is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at spencer.mayfield@uconn.edu. He tweets @SpenceMayfield.