Avoiding a Letdown

During the course of the pro football season, certain games on the schedule loom bigger than others. Games against traditional or divisional rivals are usually surrounded by a good amount of hype and anticipation. But those games only represent a small number of games throughout the season. If teams aren't careful, those other games can be dangerous.

Trap Games: Last week, both the New York Giants and the New York Jets scored intense, emotional victories over long-time divisional rivals. The Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys in a prime time showdown; the Jets surprised everybody by beating the powerful New England Patriots. This week, the Giants played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jets played the Tennessee Titans. While those teams are tough to beat, they don't necessarily have the same emotional attachment as the Giants-Cowboys or Jets-Patriots matchups. These games are known as trap games.

The Challenge: Following last week's big victories, it can be difficult to recapture the same level of motivation for Sunday's games. The Giants and Jets players, as well as their coaching staff and fans, were very excited for the rivalry games. It is challenging to keep that excitement going for two weeks in a row, especially when everybody is still talking about the wins over Dallas and New England.

How to Handle It: As professional athletes, players need to realize that every game is important. They have to work hard in every game, no matter who they are playing against. If players let their guard down, or don't work as hard, they won't be as effective. It's a good lesson for athletes of all ages. Every time you take the field, it's important to give 100 percent.

Both the Giants and the Jets were able to accomplish this on Sunday. They didn't fall into any traps and both came out winners.

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