Giants-Jets? To Big Blue, it's just a preseason game

New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (91) New York Giants defensive end Justin Tuck (91) and defensive end Osi Umenyiora (72) rest during a practice at the New York Giants football training camp in Albany, N.Y. (July 27, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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ALBANY -- The last time the Giants played the Jets at MetLife Stadium as the road team, they were greeted by curtains hanging in the hallway covering the murals of their Super Bowl championships.

Lawrence Tynes was one of a handful of Giants players who took it upon themselves to tear those curtains off the wall. It was a symbol of the vitriol and animosity that was building between the two franchises as they faced each other with their seasons on the line.

So what will Tynes do if he enters his locker room for the first time this season Saturday night and finds those curtains covering the logos again?

His first instinct was the same as it was in December.

Snapped Tynes, "I'll definitely pull them back down!"

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Then he thought about it for a moment.

"I don't know," he said. "It's a preseason game. Maybe I'll just leave it alone. I don't know."

For the Giants, Tynes' reaction likely exemplifies the significance of Saturday's game against the Jets. At first it seems like a big deal, something to get charged up about, with carry-over from December and an entire offseason of digs, jabs and headline-snatching building toward it. But when it comes down to it, this will be the second preseason game for both teams.

A battle for the bragging rights of New York? The Giants don't see it that way.

"For me personally, the Jets are just another team that we play," Justin Tuck said. "I don't think we have a rivalry with them. I really don't. I know we have one with our division foes, but for the Jets, it's just another game that we need to win."

"We share a stadium, and all those other things that go into it, it's always a fun thing," Mathias Kiwanuka said of the annual summertime meeting with the Jets. "But it's also a preseason game, so it's a chance for us to work and hone our craft to make sure we're setting ourselves up for a good start to the season."

If the Giants are miffed about all the attention the Jets have gotten this offseason, they aren't saying it. They've essentially given the game the silent treatment. Not even the most talked-about backup quarterback in NFL history could bring them to offer up any thoughts.

" 'We don't get caught up in the Tebowmanias of the world' I guess would be the right phrase," Tuck said. "We worry about what goes on at Giants camp."

Not everyone is letting this game slip quietly into history. Punter Steve Weatherford, who has played for both teams, said he considers the Jets a rival of the Giants.

"Maybe that's because I used to wear that other jersey," he said. "They share the city with us. And when you have bragging rights in your own city, especially in New York City, that's a pretty big deal. Although getting a win in our division is worth one and a half, beating the Jets is pretty sweet."

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It can't possibly be as sweet as it was in December, though. That win propelled the Giants to a six-game winning streak that ended with a Super Bowl victory. And it marked the beginning of the end of the Jets' playoff chances. So much went into that game, this latest meeting can only pale in significance.

"That," Tynes said of the fury and intensity of the regular-season game, "was a different scenario."

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