Giants expect Brett Favre to play

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Even though Brett Favre didn't practice for two straight days with the Minnesota Vikings, the New York Giants are still preparing to play against him and not backup Tarvaris Jackson.

"I expect to see Brett Favre," defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. "He's answered the bell every time. There is no reason for him not to answer the bell unless he just can't do it. Brett has always answered the bell."

Cornerback Terrell Thomas said he didn't see any convincing reason to keep Favre out, even if he doesn't practice during the week.

"We're preparing for Brett, foremost," Thomas said. "He's a future Hall of Famer. He has 300 [straight] games riding on the line. I think he's at 297 right now. I don't see him not playing."

The Giants won't soon forget the beatdown they got at the hands of the Vikings the last time they played. It was Jan. 3 and the Giants ended last season with a 44-7 loss.

"I remember everything they did," defensive end Osi Umenyiora said. "The blowout, them trying to run up the score, the different things they did out there. It's a big game for us this week. We have a lot to play for. No matter what they did last year, this is a game we need to win."

He wasn't the only player who used that phrase: running up the score. Not that Umenyiora blamed them, the Giants were on the field at the time and should've found a way to put a stop to it.

"They kind of took advantage of us," Thomas said. "We were low on numbers, [and they] kind of beat us into the ground. NFL is all about respect. We'll remember that. We don't care for it but in the back of our mind we're going to take that up there."

Justin Tuck was one Giant who said he wasn't going to let last season's final loss affect his preparation for this game.

"Last year was last year and I'm not going to be bogged down on last year," he said. "I'm going to go out there and try to avenge that loss obviously, but last year is last year."

The 5-7 Vikings are struggling this year, with a quarterback who has days where he has a hard time throwing the ball. Last season, the win over the Giants propelled the Vikings all the way to the NFC title game, a 31-28 loss to the Saints.

Since then, Favre has had a litany of injuries -- from his head (stitches for a facial gash) to his ankles. The Giants have a history of getting to quarterbacks, and Favre might seem a vulnerable target.

"I wouldn't say we could take advantage of him but definitely go at him as hard as we can," said safety Antrel Rolle.

This year, its the 8-4 Giants in contention for a playoff spot. The team is getting back a number of key players who had been injured, and a win this weekend would go a long way toward taking the team full circle.

"I think I've been here long enough to know that every game from here on out is a playoff game," Umenyiora said. "We have no room for error."

Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.