New York, New York. If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.
Unless that anywhere is the playoffs, in which case the loser of the Big Apple showdown Saturday between the Giants and Jets will need loads of help to get in. Even the winner will be guaranteed virtually nothing.
It’s not exactly a battle of the elite of the NFL; more like grounded airplanes hosting Lilliputians.
But they’re excited in the five boroughs, Westchester, Rockland, Long Island and, of course, New Jersey, where both teams actually live and work.
“We’re playing for our playoff lives here and they are too,” Jets guard Brandon Moore said. “(It) definitely will be that kind of atmosphere coming up, so I think, to us, that’s the biggest focus. Whatever rivalry there is, that’ll be taken care of with all of the other type of things that come into play.”
The Jets are 3-point favorites, and don’t anyone dare say that’s for home-field advantage. Somehow, Pro Picks thinks the Giants will be comfortable at Met Life Stadium on Christmas Eve.
“It’s one of those environments that is electric,” Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. “You have two teams that share a building, we hang out, we live and everything within close quarters. We share some fans. We just understand that it’s a big game regardless of how often we’re going to see them just because of how passionate the fans are on both sides.”
There will be plenty of passion, for sure. And probably not much defense, because neither team has shown an ability to cover receivers. That bodes far better for Eli Manning, who’s having an excellent year despite the Giants’ 7-7 record, than it does for Mark Sanchez and the Jets (8-6).
Jets fans will be Big Blue afterward. ... GIANTS, 30-20
Atlanta (plus 6 1-2) at New Orleans, Monday night — Falcons could have wild card sewn up when they kick off. Saints are letting good times roll. BEST BET: SAINTS, 30-20
San Diego (plus 2 1-2) at Detroit — Typical late-season charge by Bolts might be too late. UPSET SPECIAL: CHARGERS, 28-27
Houston (minus 6) at Indianapolis, Tonight — Can the Colts mess up getting Andrew Luck by winning again? Nah ... TEXANS, 17-13
Philadelphia (plus 2 1-2) at Dallas — One more step toward .500 season for Philly. But Giants win ends Eagles’ playoff chances. ... EAGLES, 31-30
Arizona (plus 4 1-2) at Cincinnati — Bengals can taste wild card with a win, but it won’t be easy. ... BENGALS, 21-20
Oakland (plus 1) at Kansas City — Been a while since this contentious rivalry meant something. ... CHIEFS, 19-16
Denver (minus 3) at Buffalo — Tebow and company get back to winning ways. ... BRONCOS, 22-13
San Francisco (minus 3) at Seattle — Tough assignment for Niners, who showed they are tough team against Pittsburgh. ... 49ERS, 15-13
Miami (plus 10) at New England — Patriots going for home-field edge throughout AFC playoffs. This will help. ... PATRIOTS, 32-21
Cleveland (plus 13) at Baltimore — A bunch of angry birds take it out on Browns. ... RAVENS, 20-10
Jacksonville (plus 8) at Tennessee — After losing to Indy, Titans can fall to anybody — except Jags this week. ... TITANS, 20-13
Minnesota (plus 6½) at Washington — Jared Allen on sacks mission, needs five to tie record. ... REDSKINS, 21-10
Chicago (plus 12 1-2) at Green Bay — Injuries have turned Chicago into the Bad News Bears ... PACKERS, 31-10
Tampa Bay (plus 7 1-2) at Carolina — Panthers showing much more life than moribund Bucs. ... PANTHERS, 27-13
St. Louis (OFF) at Pittsburgh — Rams, like Vikings, still alive for top draft slot. ... STEELERS, 17-3
RECORD: Against spread: 9-5 (overall 110-94-4); straight up 9-7 (overall 144-80).
Best Bet: 2-13 against spread, 10-5 straight up.
Upset Special: 10-5 against spread, 7-8 straight up.