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Possible playoff berth

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Tiebreakers? It’s not even Thanksgiving!


But that’s what you get when you’ve had a great season – a possible playoff berth before that mad NFL holiday rush.


That’s where the Arizona Cardinals and undefeated Tennessee Titans find themselves this week – on the cusp of clinching a postseason spot.


That’s great. But the real assignment this week? Just beat the next opponent. The rest will take care of itself.


“We’re in a good position, but it’s not a done deal yet,” says Arizona head coach KEN WHISENHUNT. “The players are only talking about playing the Jets on Sunday,” says Tennessee coach JEFF FISHER. “That’s the challenge right now.”


The Cardinals (vs. the Giants) and Titans (vs. the Jets) play the two Week 12 games that pit division leaders against each other. Group these four teams together and you get an .825 winning percentage.


But, says Giants head coach TOM COUGHLIN, “There are many, many big games to go.”



STORYLINE: Mississippi vs. Tennessee!


In other words, the Jets’ BRETT FAVRE, from Kiln, Mississippi, against KERRY COLLINS and the Titans. Two of the oldest QB starters in the league (Favre, 39; Collins, 35) have shown this year that experience tops age by taking their teams to two of the three best records in the AFC (Pittsburgh, 7-3).


They will be tested. Favre, who has not thrown an interception in two games, will confront a pass defense that will


continuously change during the game, from man-to-man to zone coupled with mixtures of each. The Titans with 15 tie Baltimore for second in the league in interceptions to Green Bay’s 16. And Favre – sacked only four times in the past four games – will face a defensive tackle that has DE/LB quickness in ALBERT HAYNESWORTH and his seven sacks.


The Titans lead the league in turnover differential (plus-10), with a lot of credit for that going to Collins, who has been picked off only four times this season. He gets plenty of protection, being sacked the fewest times (5) among the league’s top-20 passers.


Matchup to watch: Jets marauding DT KRIS JENKINS has told FOX analyst TONY SIRAGUSA that he is definitely looking forward to going against former Jets C KEVIN MAWAE.



STORYLINE: Hey, Eli -- it’s Kurt!


The two starting QBs know each other well. As a matter of fact, Arizona’s KURT WARNER played the Giants’ first nine games of ELI MANNING’s rookie year (2004) before Eli finished the season’s final seven.


Both Super Bowl-winning QBs and MVPs, the two have excelled this year. Warner leads the NFL in passer rating (105.5), has posted a club-record four consecutive 300-yard games and has taken the Cards to a four-game division lead.


Manning has led the Giants to their best start since their Super Bowl XXV season of 1990 (10-0), to 30-or-more points in their past three games, and the No. 1 rank in points scored, 292 (Arizona ties the Jets for second-most, 289).


Even with those strong arms, the real battle could come on – where else? -- the ground. The Giants, with their three-pronged rushing attack of BRANDON JACOBS, DERRICK WARD and AHMAD BRADSHAW, lead the league in rushing and come off their third 200-yard rush game in a row, giving them a team-record five such games in a season. They go against the NFL’s No. 7 rush defense.


Home in domes: The Giants have won six consecutive games in domes, including at the site of this Sunday’s game in University of Phoenix Stadium when its roof was closed for Super Bowl XLII.

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