8:00 PM ET, December 31, 2005
NY Giants (10-5) at Oakland (4-11) Saturday 8:00 pm EST
OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- The New York Giants are in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. On New Year's Eve, they hope to celebrate an NFC East title.
The Giants can clinch the division crown for the first time in five years with a win against the Oakland Raiders in an interconference contest on Saturday. They had a chance to do it last week, but lost at Washington, 35-20.
"It's great to make the playoffs, but it's important for us to win the division and get a home game in the postseason," Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi said. "We have it in our hands and it will be disappointing if we can't get it done."
A loss by the Giants, coupled with a win by Washington (9-6) at Philadelphia would give the Redskins the division title.
Ironically, the Raiders' last win came at Washington on November 20. Since then, they have lost five straight, scoring a total of 51 points in that span.
But this game holds special significance for Raiders quarterback Kerry Collins, who was released by the Giants after Accorsi made a trade for Eli Manning on draft day 2004. Collins led the Giants to their last division title and a trip to the Super Bowl in 2000 as well as their last postseason appearance in 2002. He played five years in New York and threw for 16,875 yards.
Collins was not thrilled with being dumped after the 2003 season when he passed for 3,110 yards and 13 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.
"I understand it's a business, but it left a bitter taste," Collins said. "I was proud to say I went to the Super Bowl with the Giants."
Instead of serving as a temporary mentor to Manning, Collins signed with Oakland. But Collins has come nowhere near leading the Raiders to the playoffs, despite the additions of superstar wide receiver Randy Moss and running back LaMont Jordan before the 2005 season.
Collins is the 13th-ranked quarterback in the AFC (75.5), completing 53 percent of his passes for 3,428 yards and 17 touchdowns with 12 interceptions. But the Raiders have one less win than last season, which may spell the end for coach Norv Turner.
Moss has been a major disappointment. After setting an NFL record for most receiving yards (9,142) in the first seven years of a career, Moss has 53 catches for 889 yards in his first year with the Raiders.
Jordan, who missed last week's loss at Denver with a toe injury, has rushed for 1,025 yards and caught 70 passes for 563 yards.
Manning has a slightly lower rating (75.1) than Collins, completing just under 53 percent of his passes for 3,558 yards and 23 touchdowns with 17 interceptions.
Matchup to watch: Giants left end Michael Strahan, who has 11 1/2 sacks this season but was held without one last week, lines up against right tackle Robert Gallery, the second overall pick in the 2004 draft after Manning.
Series: The Raiders lead, 7-2, and have won the last four meetings.
Next week: The Giants will play in the wild-card round, January 7 or 8.
More from ESPN.com
Goodell: Long-term fit vital for move to L.A.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters at the conclusion of the league owners meetings here on Wednesday that speed is not driving the process in the inevitable return of professional football to Los Angeles.
NFL delves into stadium, relocation details
As momentum builds toward an NFL return to Los Angeles, Eric Grubman, the league's point man on relocation, addressed the assembled owners on what's happening in Los Angeles, St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego on Monday morning.
Mara: Expanded playoffs likely, but not in '15
As NFL owners gather in Phoenix this week for their annual meeting, the consensus seems to be that an expansion to the current 12-team playoff format will happen at some point, but not this year.
Sources: Giants OK letting Manning play out deal
The Giants are comfortable letting QB Eli Manning play out the final year of his contract, two sources close to the situation told ESPN.com on Sunday.
Collins hoping for payback
The Giants have everything to play for in this game and the Raiders have nothing to play for, as they close out a nightmarish season. The Giants have been an up and down team in recent weeks. For all the playmakers they have, they just don't seem to be able to put the perfect game together. A win in this game can give them the NFC East division and some momentum heading into the playoffs.
Even though the Raiders look like they have just been going through the motions in the last month, they could really hinder the Giants' playoff plans, and it would be a satisfying way to end an unsatisfying season. No player would be more satisfied than QB Kerry Collins, who was cast off by the Giants two seasons ago. There are plenty of stars in this game for the Giants, and the Raiders still have WR Randy Moss, though he's been nothing more than an afterthought during the second half of the season.
Recent Blog Posts
|Avg Points Allowed||19.6||23.9|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||NYG|
|Rush Yds Allowed||NYG|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Series tied 1-1|
|Nov 25, 2001||NYG 10, OAK 28|