A Guide to Choosing Sides in Sunday's Football Faceoff

Yom Kippur creates a viewing conundrum for local football fans

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    A big topic on New York sports radio this week has been the unusual dual 1 p.m. kickoffs for New York's two football teams. The Jets were supposed to play at 4 p.m., but an outcry from Jewish fans about conflicts with Yom Kippur caused the NFL to shift the game forward. It hasn't happened since 1984, and that's caused some callers and hosts to reach a panicked state about how to cope with the inability to watch both games live from start to finish. The fact that the Yankees and Red Sox also take the field at 1 p.m. (it was briefly moved to 8 p.m., but also switched back because of the holiday) doesn't help matters for New York's beleagured sports fans.

    It's a bit surprising that this has caused such a reaction. Most people tend to favor one team over the other which would make for a pretty easy decision about which channel to put on and the existence of the DVR and Tivo would seem to make finding a way to watch both games at home pretty simple.

    We don't judge people around here, though. In the interest of making sure that those remaining indecisive fans make the right decision, we've come up with a handy way to guide yourself through the process.

    I want to watch the best game. It's Jets-Titans for you. The Titans had the AFC's best record in 2008, but have somewhat surprisingly stumbled to two straight losses out of the gate. A third would put them on the fast track toward a playoff-less finish, which means they're going to do everything in their power to avoid that outcome. That pressure adds something to the contest that the 0-2 Buccaneers don't bring to their game with the Giants. A third loss would be bad for the Bucs, but they don't have anything close to the expectations the Titans have for this season. 

    As far as the New York team angle, the continued maturation of Mark Sanchez and the Jets defense's eight quarter touchdown-less streak are more compelling than anything the Giants bring to the table. It doesn't mean that it will turn out to be the better game, of course, but if you're picking one to watch at the start, it's the Jets.

    I like a good comeback story. Giants-Bucs. Bucs running back Cadillac Williams is believed to be the first player to return to the field after tearing the patellar tendon in each of his knees. He's looked good thus far in 2009, a remarkable recovery that could only be outdone if Williams does the same for the company that makes the cars that gave him his nickname. 

    I'm a sucker for referees in silly uniforms. Jets-Titans. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the AFL, the Jets and Titans will be wearing throwback uniforms from their days in the upstart league. That means the refs will be sporting these numbers while simultaneously selling Toasted Almond bars to hungry spectators. There's another interesting AFL twist in this game. The Jets began their history as the New York Titans and will be wearing uniforms from those days. It won't be a Titan vs. Titan civil war, however, since Tennessee is the team formerly known as the Houston Oilers. They'll be wearing Oilers uniforms which means that if the Titans win, they actually lose and if the Titans lose, they actually win. 

    I like baseball more than football. Just watch the Yankees game. We're aware the Mets are also part of this extreme sports faceoff, but you said you like baseball.

    Hey, I'm a Mets fan and I deserve something to watch too! Pesky bugger, are you? In your case, we recommend watching the Giants-Bucs game. The Giants will be without starting safety Kenny Phillips, cornerback Aaron Ross and will likely be without star defensive end Justin Tuck because of injury. A handful of other useful players will also miss the game because of aches and pains, which should make for a familiar state of affairs for fans of this year's Mets intensive care unit. The big difference is that the Giants still have a good team to put on the field, something that might make for a pleasant change of pace. 

    I want to get fired up before going to temple. Skip the football and go to an early showing of "Inglorious Basterds." No better way to celebrate the high holy days than by watching a platoon of Jews scalp some Nazis. 

    Hope this helps solve any issues with the difficult choice that's coming on Sunday afternoon. And if you make the wrong choice, the good news is that you can immediately atone for it. Some of you can, anyway. For the rest, don't sweat it, change channels and enjoy whatever game you watch.