Any hope for a more philosophical, less mouthy Rex Ryan flew out the window Monday when he labeled his Jets the "big brother" of the New York/New Jersey football family, a declaration that didn't sit well with the Giants.
"Certainly, we were the better team the first two years," Ryan said of 2009 and 2010, his first two years in New York. "We made the playoffs and went to the (AFC) Championship Game. To say a team's better than you that never made the playoffs is ridiculous. ... We get to prove it Saturday who the best team is this year."
"Talking trash isn't going to help you out on the field," Kiwanuka told reporters Monday, before upping the ante: "... I know we're the better team. We just have to go out there and prove it. ...
"The beautiful thing about it is we're going to find out real soon. (I'm) not worried about anything that anybody says, especially somebody who's not going to have pads on."
One reporter, firing a shot at Ryan's ample figure, asked: "That's not padding?"
Belly laughs ensued, but one of these two teams will confront a grim Christmas Eve.
Through the crucible of a season in which the Jets (8-6) and Giants (7-7) have been humbled more than once, it seems fitting they now will square off in a game that largely will decide playoff fates for both -- and perhaps even quiet the loser.