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Hurricane Irene, Burress take center stage in Jets-Giants game

Tim Heitman/US Presswire
Plaxico Burress, the former Giant and current Jet, will be a focal point in Saturday's preseason game.


Week 3 of the preseason is considered a dress rehearsal for most teams since starters tend to play through the first half, providing a glimpse of what's to come in the regular season.

NFL Network will now carry live coverage of Saturday's 2 p.m. ET preseason meeting between the New York Jets and New York Giants.

» NFL Network schedule

For the Jets and Giants, Saturday's preseason game in the Meadowlands will be a dress rehearsal for a Christmas Eve game that could be for more than bragging rights in the region. The Jets have already stolen the headlines in what used to be Giants country. They might even snag a few more after this hyped exhibition. None of it will matter until the late season matchup that could -- and should -- have serious playoff implications for both teams.

That's hardly the only simmering storyline, though.

Kickoff had to be accelerated to 2 p.m., from the evening because Hurricane Irene is threatening serious damage along the East Coast.

The Giants may have felt she blew through their defense over the past week or so with the harm that's come to key players. Big Blue will be down three cornerbacks -- Terrell Thomas (season-ending torn ACL), Brian Weatherspoon (season-ending torn ACL), and first-round pick Prince Amukamara (broken foot, two months). It's also going to be missing defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee scope, four weeks) and second-round draft pick Marvin Austin (season-ending torn pectoral), who spurred some early excitement with his impact along the front four.

So if there were a time for Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez to look good in this regular-season tuneup, this is the stage.

Then again, the stage will belong to wide receiver Plaxico Burress, the former Giant and current Jet, who helped the Giants capture a Super Bowl with his game-winning catch in Super Bowl XLII. Burress will get his chance to extract a little blood from his former team, which didn't want him back when he was available to play this summer. He's working as the Jets' No. 2 receiver and hopes to be what he once was for an offense that plans on throwing the ball more than at any point in the Rex Ryan Era.

Besides Burress's personal sidebar, what will be most important for him is continuing his progress from a nice Week 2 showing -- his first football game since November 2008. He didn't look like he lost much during his two-year incarceration on gun charges in New York, which also included him shooting himself in the leg.

However, that was just one preseason game. A lot of players have looked good for one game thus far only to come back to Earth the following week(s). This is still a time for working out the kinks and shortcomings that should be well ironed out when these teams meet for real in Week 16.

Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89

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