- Associated Press - Friday, August 26, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - Give credit to Rex Ryan for knowing his surroundings.

The bold New York Jets coach has built a name for himself with some brash talk across his first two seasons, and who knows what’s in store for Year 3.

One thing is for sure, though, with Ryan. The preseason is the preseason, and you were just not going to get anything big out of him on Friday, one day before the Jets meet the quasi-rival Giants in newly named MetLife Stadium.

“I definitely think it’s a friendly rivalry, but it’s also very intense,” he said. “This is a fun deal. But it’ll be serious come Christmas Eve. I can promise you on Dec. 24, we’ll be trying to get after each other. And we will tomorrow night.”

The two teams will play in the regular season on Dec. 24 in East Rutherford, N.J. That will be a Jets‘ home game. The preseason tilt, a staple for both teams the last 43 years, is a Giants’ home game at the two-year-old facility, which up until Tuesday, was named New Meadowlands Stadium.

“It’ll be fun, it’ll be a physical thing,” said Ryan, who has led the Jets to consecutive appearances in the AFC title game. “We don’t game plan them, and I’m sure they don’t game plan us.”

On Friday, though, they were partners in Manhattan’s Bryant Park. In fact, a combination of 28 Jets and Giants players, coaches and executives took part in the MetLife Fan Fair some 24 hours before the game. The event was part of a public announcement of the long-term relationship between the two franchises and MetLife.

But of more importance, especially on the Giants’ side of things, was what to expect on Saturday.

“We have objectives for all three phases. If you follow our games, they are a reflection of what we didn’t do well,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “We still have to work on our tackling. Our tackling (against the Bears on Monday night) was better but it’s still not where we want it to be.”

The Giants, who went 10-6 last year but failed to make the playoffs, defeated the Bears, 41-13, on Monday in the final game before the name change in East Rutherford.

“Our special teams, we still have to get our punt-return game going,” Coughlin said. “Kickoff, we did well with that, but our punt-return game is not where it has to be for the regular season.

“Defense, we always point to stopping the run, and we are still giving up too many big plays. I think offensively, what I’d like to do is I’d like to see ball security continue, and do something with third-down production.”

Both coaches reiterated their weather-related support of moving the game to its 2 p.m. kickoff time. It was originally scheduled for 8 p.m.

“Building your itinerary was (Saturday), during the day, you were working with your players,” Coughlin said. “You were meeting and you were doing some things with chair drills, things like that. That all is pretty much out.”

What’s in, though, is a little hardware. MetLife’s Beth Hirschhorn announced the winner will receive the MetLife Bowl, along with $40,000 to be donated to charity. The loser will donate $10,000.

On Christmas Eve, though, there will be a little more at stake.

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