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Giants will play for division title in Week 17

New York Giants Cruz celebrates in front of the New York Jets bench after making a pass reception in East Rutherford

New York Giants Victor Cruz (C) celebrates in front of the New York Jets bench after making a pass reception in the third quarter during their NFL football game in East Rutherford, New Jersey December 24, 2011. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)


The Giants were obviously tired of hearing that they were the little brother in New York.

They took out those frustrations on the Jets at the Meadowlands on Saturday afternoon. Buoyed by a pass rush that made Mark Sanchez look even more skittish than usual and a renewed running game in the second half, the Giants took the Battle of New York 29-14 and set up a Week 17 brawl with the Cowboys for the NFC East crown.

It wasn’t a particularly attractive game to watch and the Giants made it much harder on themselves than they needed to by throwing the ball up 13 in the fourth quarter after the Jets fumbled away a chance to get closer on a snap from the goal line. David Harris picked off an Eli Manning pass and the Jets scored a touchdown, but they couldn’t get any closer with Sanchez misfiring before a sack and safety by Chris Canty took the game out of reach.

Tom Coughlin, who preaches toughness to his players at every turn, showed some of it himself after he took a Sean Payton-esque shot to the knee from running back D.J. Ware on the sideline. Coughlin stayed on the sideline to the end and then trotted to midfield for what must have been an awfully satisfying handshake with Rex Ryan.

The Jets are going to have a hard time making the playoffs and, frankly, haven’t done much of anything this season to lay claim to a spot in the postseason. They need to win in Miami and get a bunch of help from outside to mount a third straight run to the AFC Championship Game. If they can’t pull it off, it will be interesting to see what, if anything, it does to change Ryan’s approach in years to come.

After two years ruling the town, he’ll have to figure out how to move forward after the Giants made it clear that they aren’t taking a backseat to the Jets any longer.