Despite 11 wins in 13 games, the Buffalo Bills still suffer from the weak-sister syndrome - an AFC team feeling it has to prove itself every time it plays an NFC team.
Never mind that Buffalo has won both of its matchups against NFC teams this season."Everybody here is so fired up," Bills defensive end Bruce Smith said. "To play the New York Giants, the legendary New York Giants, it's a big opportunity for us and one we don't want to let slip through our fingers."
The Bills can't afford to let it slip away. Going into Saturday's game against the Giants, they hold only a one-game lead over the Miami Dolphins in the AFC East.
The Giants (11-2) also have work to do before the end of the season.
They won their second straight NFC East title with a 23-15 win over Minnesota last weekend but have yet to clinch a first-round playoff bye. That can be done by winning two of their final three games, provided one of those wins is against Phoenix.
"We're in good position, and we know what we have to do," Giant Coach Bill Parcells said.
What the Giants have to do against the Bills is stop the league's most potent offense that boasts top-rated quarterback Jim Kelly. Buffalo has scored 373 points, 48 more than the Philadelphia Eagles, the second-highest scoring team in the league.
"These guys are one of the top two or three teams in football," Parcells said. "We've got our work cut out."
Kelly isn't the only weapon. Thurman Thomas has rushed for 1,083 yards and Andre Reed leads the AFC with 63 catches for 834 yards and six touchdowns.
"Everything they do is difficult to defend," Giant defensive coordinator Bill Belichick said. "That's part of the problem. I think it's the best offense we've seen this year."
The offense becomes even more troublesome when the Bills switch to a no-huddle offense, which they used with great success against Philadelphia.
The Giants aren't buying the weak sister idea. "We're preparing for the Buffalo Bills, not the AFC," Giant linebacker Carl Banks said.