By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - Bragging rights in the Big Apple will once again be at stake when the New York Giants and New York Jets hold their annual preseason grudge match at MetLife Stadium, though the rivalry between the two teams isn't what's been drawing the most attention leading up to Saturday's clash.
The game will mark the home debut of Tim Tebow in a Jets uniform, with the headline-making backup quarterback set to relieve starter Mark Sanchez at some point while possibly receiving additional snaps if the team decides to unveil its Wildcat package that's caused another major stir in the media lately. The Jets ran plays in the formation in front of reporters this past week, but requested that no information be released regarding any specifics.
Tebow was under center for the second quarter and part of the third in the Jets' 2012 exhibition lid-lifter at Cincinnati, with the heralded offseason acquisition completing 4-of-8 passes for 27 yards and an interception during the club's 17-6 loss to the Bengals. He also led the Jets with 34 rushing yards on four attempts, and saw time as the protector in punt coverage as well.
Sanchez directed the Jets' initial two possessions and went 4-of-6 for 21 yards, but it's believed he and the first-team offense will play all or most of the first half against the Giants.
Both quarterbacks will be working with a receiving corps that will be a bit short-handed for a second straight week. Top target Santonio Holmes is still dealing with bruised ribs that also kept him out of the opener, while slot man Jeremy Kerley remains sidelined with a lingering hamstring injury and newcomer Chaz Schilens sprained an ankle versus the Bengals.
The Jets, who will serve as the home team, are expected to have starting right tackle Wayne Hunter available after he missed last week's contest with a sore back, but regular nose tackle Sione Pouha (back) and safety Eric Smith (sprained knee) are out for the entire preseason. Smith suffered his injury in the second quarter of the Cincinnati game.
The Giants enter Saturday's skirmish with their share of health issues as well, with wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (broken foot), linebackers Michael Boley (hamstring) and Jacquian Williams (hip), cornerback Terrell Thomas (knee), defensive tackle Chris Canty (knee) and tight end Travis Beckum (knee) among the notables who won't participate on Saturday. All were inactive for last week's 32-31 defeat at Jacksonville, Big Blue's first outing since its victory over New England in Super Bowl XLVI back in February.
Canty is one of several ailing Giants on the interior of the defensive line. Veteran reserve Shaun Rogers will likely miss the remainder of the season after recently developing a blood clot in his leg, while fellow rotation member Marvin Austin hurt his back in Monday's practice and is out indefinitely.
While Saturday's showdown won't have a number of key contributors on both sides, there will be a few rookies that performed well in their first preseason action that will be worth watching.
Giants running back David Wilson, the team's first-round choice in April's draft, had a club-best 43 yards on seven carries against the Jaguars and added two receptions for 26 yards, while second-round wide receiver Rueben Randle had a touchdown catch in the loss. Jets defensive lineman Quinton Coples, the 16th overall selection, stood out for Gang Green by compiling five tackles, one sack, a forced fumble and two stops for losses in the opener.
The Giants came up with six sacks in last week's tilt and built a 24-7 first- half lead over the Jaguars on the strength of a pair of touchdown passes by No. 2 quarterback David Carr, but were outscored by a 25-7 margin the rest of the way.
Super Bowl XLVI Most Valuable Player Eli Manning worked the first quarter for the Giants and finished 4-of-8 for 60 yards.
The Jets hold a 23-19-1 advantage on their fellow MetLife Stadium tenants in the all-time preseason series and dealt the Giants a 17-3 loss in last year's matchup. The Giants got a measure of revenge, however, with a 29-14 triumph in a regular-season encounter back on Christmas Eve, a result that helped propel the eventual world champions into the playoffs for their Super Bowl run.
08/16 10:02:41 ET
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