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Monday, December 19, 2011
Updated: December 20, 8:50 AM ET
Giants respond to Rex Ryan remarks

By Ohm Youngmisuk
ESPNNewYork.com

Rex Ryan started off Jets-Giants week with his declaration that the Jets are the best team in New York.

The Giants, though, want to not only make Ryan eat his words, but defensive end Justin Tuck is looking forward to winning "in our stadium" and sending Jets fans home disappointed on Christmas Eve.

"It is one of those cross-town rivalries," Tuck said on his weekly appearance on WFAN radio. "There's two teams, even though we haven't played each other a lot, there is kind of bad blood between the two."

"(Ryan) has made the Jets relevant again," Tuck continued. "But we still feel as though we got the best team. Like he said, you get an opportunity to prove it on Saturday. But the best trash talker is not going to win the game. My goal is to get the Giants to have more points and have Giants fans leaving the parking lot happy and Jets fans leaving sad."

Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said the Giants are not concerned with what Ryan says.

"I know we're the better team," Kiwanuka said. "We just have to go out there and prove it."

"The beautiful thing about it is that we're going to find out real soon," Kiwanuka added when told about Ryan's comments. "I'm not worried about anything anybody says, especially somebody that's not going to have pads on."

The reeling Giants (7-7) enter this all-important game looking to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Giants have lost five of their last six games, including a dismal 23-10 home loss to the Redskins. They have lost their last three at MetLife Stadium and are just 3-4 at home.

"Our focus definitely needs to be on the Jets," Tuck said. "I am looking forward to getting a win in our stadium."

So perhaps it will be a good thing that the Giants will be the road team on Saturday in the stadium they share with the Jets. The Giants tend to focus better when their backs are against the wall and they are in hostile territory like two weeks ago in Dallas where they pulled out a 37-34 win.

The Giants looked lifeless at times and in dire need of a spark against the Redskins. They shouldn't have any problem getting up for this game with all that is at stake and Rex and the Jets on the other side.

"It's one of those environments that is electric," Kiwanuka said of playing the Jets in a regular season game, which last took place in 2007 when the Giants won, 35-24. "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."

Giants coach Tom Coughlin's team can still win the NFC East by beating the Jets and then taking care of the Dallas Cowboys at home in the season finale on New Year's Day.

If they lose to the Jets, who are fighting for their playoff lives as well, the Giants still could win the East but would need help. They would need Dallas to lose to Philadelphia on Sunday and then have to beat the Cowboys in the season finale while having Philadelphia lose to Washington next week.

But first up is the Jets, who seem like the perfect medicine for a team that struggled to find intensity against the Redskins.

"I certainly hope it can be good," Coughlin said of the Giants-Jets rivalry hype sparking something in his team. "Let's face it, you have a city that has certainly divided. Half the city, or you would think half would be in favor of one team, half the other. Certainly you're going to sense it. The excitement I would hope would be even more stimulation to make this an extremely important game, more than it is. I don't think you need any more, quite frankly, to understand how important the game is to both teams."

Eli Manning said neither team wants to see the other having success when sharing the area and same stadium.

"It makes things worse," Manning said.

But the franchise quarterback said he is not also going to hang on every quote and headline from Ryan this week, either.

"I am not going to pay attention to it, my focus is getting ready for their defense," Manning said. "You hear bits and pieces, but I am not going to go get the paper and read every quote that Rex Ryan is saying and take it to heart. I am sure some people will respond to it but it is not going to be me."

Coughlin said no matter what talk transpires this week, the only thing that matters is which team will have the final word.

"The game will be settled on Saturday afternoon at one," he said.

Until then, there is one thing both teams probably agree on.

"I'm excited about it," Tuck said. "Bart Scott would say, 'Can't wait.'"

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com.