The Jets have the best defense that the Giants face this season.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -The Panthers give up the third fewest points in the NFL and the second fewest yards, so they are the best defense the Giants will face. Don't sleep on the Vikings defense either. They give up the second fewest points in the league and are top ten in yards allowed as well. I would put the Jets third on the list, given they are third in the NFL in yards allowed, third in takeaways and tops in Red Zone defense. If Darrelle Revis was playing I would probably leap frog them over Minnesota, but without him, I'll take the Vikings. The Giants will have their work cut out for them against some very good defenses the rest of the way.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -Cam Newton isn't the only reason Carolina is last undefeated team standing. The Panthers are first in the NFL with 28 takeaways, second in yards allowed per game, third in points allowed, tied for third in sacks, and the list goes on.
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -The Jets defense is certainly one of the best units the Giants will face this season. The numbers across the board back up that claim but I'm giving the edge to the Panthers. Based on the eye test alone, Carolina has the one of the most well-disciplined and opportunistic defenses in the league. The group showcases several strong candidates for NFC Defensive Player of the Year including corner Josh Norman and linebackers Thomas Davis and Luke Kuechly. Entering Week 13, the Panthers are ranked number two in total defense. They're second against the run (89 yds), fifth against the pass (224 yds), 3rd in scoring defense (18.6 pts) and first in takeaways (28).
Giants vs. Jets is the biggest rivalry in the metro area.
Check out players who have played on both the Giants and the Jets
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction -The teams play once every four years. The local teams in all the other sports play multiple times a year, and the baseball teams have met in the World Series. This isn't even close and doesn't require further explanation.
DAN SALOMONE: Fiction -If you're in the middle of that one week that comes every four years, then sure. But it comes and goes quickly. That's why I'm going with the Yankees and Mets. The fan bases are always tuned in to the balance of power between the two sides. But I was born in Ohio and grew up in Minnesota. So what do I know?
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -The Giants and Jets meet once every four years. That's not often enough to be classified as the biggest rivalry in the metro area. You need to go head to head at least once a season to own that title. While bragging rights are always on the line and the buildup is intense, the Mets and Yankees and Islanders and Rangers have a lot more substance behind their rivalries.
The Jets have the best wide receiver corps on the Giants' entire 2015 schedule.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -There are better individual WR's on the Giants schedule but the Jets have the best group. In terms of duos Marshall and Decker have the 4th most receptions in the NFL (122), the 5th most yards (1,631), and the most touchdowns (17). What makes them especially dangerous is that both guys have size, speed and the skill set to hurt you in different ways. The Giants cornerbacks will have their hands full on Sunday.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact -They're one of three teams on the Giants' schedule with multiple wide receivers in the top 50 in yards. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are tied for seventh and 27th, respectively. They're both on pace for 1,000-yard seasons as well as 25 touchdowns combined.
LANCE MEDOW: Fact -The combination of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker as their top two wideouts gives the Jets the edge. That duo has combined for 122 catches highlighted by 17 touchdowns in the first 11 games. Then you throw in the speedy Jeremy Kerley and rookie Devin Smith and the Jets have some depth. I'd put the Bucs as a close second with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson but Jackson didn't play against the Giants in Week 9 due to an injury and Evans was plagued by numerous drops. Those are the only two teams on the Giants' schedule that have two legitimate number one wide receivers.
The NFC is a currently a better conference than the AFC.
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact -This is a tough question. I'll allow the NFC East and AFC South cancel each other out. The Cardinals and Panthers match up well against the Patriots and Bengals as the best teams in each Conference. The Broncos and Vikings aren't that dissimilar either. The Packers and Seahawks, on whole, are probably better than the top wildcards teams in the AFC, but the NFC is not as deep in playoff contending teams. I'll swing it the NFC's way since they have the league's only undefeated team and because the Patriots are very banged up.
DAN SALOMONE: Fact -Overall, the NFC is 24-26 against AFC teams this season. Here is a look at the inter-conference records: AFC East is 6-3 vs. NFC East; AFC North is 6-6 vs. NFC West; AFC South is 6-8 vs. NFC South; and AFC West is 6-9 vs. NFC North. The NFC also has the last undefeated team, the 11-0 Panthers.
LANCE MEDOW: Fiction -Entering Week 13, eight of the 16 AFC teams have winning records including three with at least nine wins. In comparison, just six in the NFC including two with at least nine wins. In the NFC East, all four teams are below .500. While the AFC South was in a similar position at one point, both the Colts and Texans have regrouped and are now over .500. The NFC boasts the lone unbeaten team in the NFL but there's a bit more depth in the AFC.