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Playing at the same time used to be rare for Jets and Giants but now is commonplace

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is caught by New York Jets defensive back Antonio Cromartie after he caught a pass in the first half of their NFL preseason game in East Rutherford, N.J. on Aug. 29, 2015. Credit: Ray Stubblebine

It used to be a given that the NFL would not schedule the Jets and Giants at the same time -- unless they were playing each other, obviously. It's something that occurred in 1984 and then not again until 2009.

And even that year, when it happened twice, it was unplanned.

On Sept. 27, 2009, a Titans-Jets game was moved to 1 p.m. to accommodate fans observing Yom Kippur. On Nov. 1, a Giants-Eagles game was moved to 1 p.m. to avoid parking complications in Philadelphia before Game 1 of the Yankees-Phillies World Series.

But now it has become commonplace. The teams both are scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday, with the Jets hosting Miami and the Giants visiting Washington.

Entering Week 14 last year, the Giants were 3-9 and the Jets 2-10. That is in part why that was allowed to happen, although this season both teams are in contention. It will be the fifth time it has happened in the past four seasons.

The reason is tied to a generally more flexible approach to NFL scheduling in recent seasons designed to maximize viewership opportunities for fans -- and ratings for TV networks.

So, for example, the Jets and Giants have played at the same time the past three consecutive Week 17s, all seasons in which neither team made the playoffs and there were more attractive late-day matchups available.

In Week 14 last season, both were scheduled for 1 p.m. road games, which enabled New York-area viewers to watch a Seahawks-Eagles game at 4:25 p.m. that day.

On Sunday, the fact that both are playing at 1 p.m. will free the New York market for Steelers-Seahawks at 4:25 p.m.

Giants season-ticket holders frustrated by the paucity of 1 p.m. home games on this year's schedule caught a break Tuesday when the NFL announced its Week 13 adjustments. They did not include moving the Jets-Giants game to later in the day on Dec. 6.

So the meeting once every four years between the two New York-area teams will remain at 1 p.m. -- and much as it was in 2011, when the Jets hosted the game, it figures to be highly meaningful for both teams.

The Jets and Giants both are scheduled to play at 1 p.m. in Weeks 16 and 17, but that could change pending the state of the playoff races come late December.

New York Sports