New York Giants
The Dallas Cowboys’s victory against the New Orleans Saints last night made the New York Giants’ playoff chances a lot murkier. Fortunately, we were aided by a last-second comeback by the Pittsburgh Steelers, which beat the Green Bay Packers 37-36 this afternoon.
For the Giants to make the playoffs, they need to win out and also need Dallas or Green Bay to lose at least one of their last two games. Dallas finishes with against the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, while Green Bay faces the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. If both Dallas and Philadelphia win next week, their Week 17 game will be for the division. God, it would be so hard to root for the Eagles in that event. The Packers are probably gonna roll over the Seahawks. The Cardinals are two games behind in the race for a first-round bye, so it’s conceivable that they won’t have anything to play for in Week 17. So you need to expect that the Packers will win their last two games.
As for the Giants, they need to beat Washington tomorrow night, then Carolina on Dec. 27 in their Giants Stadium finale. Carolina spanked the Minnesota Vikings tonight, so that won’t be as easy of a task as we may have recently thought. Finally, the Giants travel to Minnesota in Week 17.
For a while, Giants fans felt that last game would be winnable, since the Vikings were two games behind the Saints for home field advantage, and two games ahead of the Eagles in the race for a first-round bye. The the Saints lost. Suddenly, it looked like the Vikings could be playing for home field advantage in Week 17. Not good. Then the Vikings lost to the Panthers. There hopes for home field are again pretty bleak, but now they’re just one game ahead of the Eagles (and Philadelphia would have the tiebreaker). So now the Vikings could be playing in Week 17 for a first round bye.
So this is the ideal scenario in the first two weeks + one game. I used Yahoo’s Playoff Generator to make this. You can follow this link to see the scenario and how exactly it would play out. For those who don’t want to click it, here’s what we want:
1. The Giants beat Washington tomorrow night (Considering it’s 12:10am around here right now, I guess it should actually read “tonight”).
2. The Giants beat Carolina on Dec. 27.
3. On Dec. 27, the Denver Broncos win at Philadelphia and the Saints win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the Vikings beat the Chicago Bears on Dec. 28. This would clinch home-field advantage for the Saints, and a first-round bye for the Vikings. In this scenario, the Vikings would then have nothing to play for in Week 17.
4. The Giants beat the Vikings on Jan.3.
5. Either the Eagles beat the Cowboys, or the Cardinals beat the Packers. If the Eagles and Packers both win, the Giants get the sixth seed and play the Eagles in the first round. If the Packers lose and the Cowboys win, the Giants get the sixth seed and play the Cardinals. If the Eagles win and the Packers lose, the Giants would actually get the fifth seed and play the Cardinals.
Of course, if the Giants LOSE to the Redskins, things get much worse. The Giants would then have to win their last two games, and either Dallas or Green Bay would have to lose their last two games. No, not both teams would have to lose a game, either Dallas or Green Bay would have to lose out. I guess considering Dallas’s history in December (although the Cowboys’ performance in the Superdome on Saturday night changes that reputation), that’s not completely far-fetched.
That being said, I and predicting the following:
1. Giants lose to Washington, beat Carolina, lose to Minnesota. They finish 8-8, season over.
2. Philadelphia beats Denver, New Orleans beats Tampa Bay, Minnesota beats the Bears. Minnesota needs one more win to clinch a bye, so the starters play against the Giants (which is why they win).
3. Arizona beats the Packers, and the Cowboys beat the Eagles. Dallas wins the division and gets the 4th seed, and play 5th-seeded Philadelphia in the first round. Green Bay plays Arizona in the other first round game.
I hope I’m wrong. I just don’t think I am.
By the way, I’m going to the Carolina game, so I’ll post pictures. I wish my good camera was working (the viewscreen seems to have died, so instead I’ve be using the camera with the crappy zoom.
Two years ago, on the backs of a dominant defense, the Giants shocked the world by holding the New England Patriots to just 14 points. Today, I doubt the Giants could hold a peewee team, to two scores.
The most consistent identify of the team is a shadow of its former self, getting torched in a 45-38 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last night. The offense did its best to keep the team in the game, erasing an early 14-0 deficit to taking a 31-30 lead. But the lead lasted for all of 15 seconds before the defense allowed a one-play, 60-yard touchdown drive by the Eagles.
Tom Coughlin and the players are defending defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, laying the blame on themselves and giving Sherdan a free pass. But when the real only change from last season to this is the defensive coordinator, it’s impossible not to look to him as the source of your problems.
I would be extremely surprised to see Sheridan on the sidelines next season, and I think if he does return, it will signal another disastrous defense.
On offense, there has been a lot of talk about Eli Manning’s fumble. Manning ran for the first down after a Goff interception, but dove headfirst into the ground instead of going feet first. The impact jarred the ball free, and since Eli went down on his own, it was a live ball. But it really was a non-issue. The Giants’ offense quickly got the ball back, and proceeded to take the lead on a 61-yard catch and run by Dominick Hixon.
While the offensive playcalling was solid throughout, there was one play that was very troublesome. Facing a third and five at the Eagles’ 43-yard line and trailing 37-31, the Giants tried a shotgun draw. Apparently with the Eagles’ linebackers stacked to the right, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride thought a counter left was ingenious. Eli Manning thought it was the perfect call. There was only one problem with this… it didn’t work. Ahmad Bradshaw got pulled down by an ankle for no gain, and the Giants had to punt. The defense then proceeded to allow a 91-yard touchdown drive that essentially ended the game.
Listen, I don’t care that it was the perfect call. You have a $100 million quarterback who was on fire, and an Eagles’ secondary that couldn’t tackle. Go with what works. Instead, the Giants tried to get fancy, and now their hopes for a second-consecutive NFC East title are dead. With three games to play, the Giants are two games behind Philadelphia, who owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The focus now has to turn to the wild card. The Packers appear to be running away with the fifth spot, leaving the Giants and Cowboys to battle for the sixth spot. The Cowboys are going down to New Orleans for a Saturday night game, and they’re gonna get smoked. The Giants have three very winnable games remaining against the Redskins, the Panthers, and a Vikings team that will probably have nothing left to play for in Week 17.
Apparently trying to start a blog while (a) finishing a grad class, (b) celebrating Thanksgiving, (c) Christmas shopping, and (d) getting grades in (I’m a teacher) wasn’t the best idea. Oh well…
NY Giants Report
As bad as things were against Denver, the Giants really turned it around against the Dallas Cowboys, winning 31-24. The Cowboys dominated statistically, but since this isn’t fantasy football, it didn’t really matter. The Giants won because the offense made some big plays, the defense shut down the running game and limited the big plays, and the special teams shined (especially on a 79-yard punt return touchdown by Dominick Hixon.
The Giants should have had more, but wide receiver Steve Smith dropped a sure touchdown pass from Eli Manning. It was one of Smith’s three drops in the game. On his Facebook and Twitters, Steve Smith held a contest for fans to choose his next touchdown celebration. Perhaps Smith was thinking too far ahead on that drop?
That being said, Smith is having an outstanding season. He’s second in the NFC in receptions and yards, and needs just three catches and 364 yards in the last four games to surpass Amani Toomer’s franchise season records. He also had a chance to be the first Giants wide receiver to go to the Pro Bowl since Homer Jones (the creator of the touchdown spike) in 1968. That being said, he’s currently not amongst the top vote-getters at WR. The fan voting only counts for one-third of the final results, so the players and coaches better do the right thing.
The Giants play the Philadelphia Eagles tomorrow. A win, plus a Cowboys’ loss to the Chargers, would create a three-way tie at the top of the NFC East. A loss would put the Giants two games back for the wild card with three games to play. Hate to say it, but I predict Eagles 24, Giants 13.
The LeBron Sweepstakes
Both the New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks are expected to bid for LeBron James after this season. Nets’ fans look to LeBron’s friendship with rapper and part Nets’ owner Jay-Z. Knicks’ fans hope the lure of playing at Madison Square Garden is enough to get LeBron. But both teams have something counting against them…
They both stink.
Apparently the New York Giants were not happy about playing on Thanksgiving night. They tried to get out of it. They complained about it. It showed on the field. The Giants must have eaten a bunch of turkey before the game. The tryptophan would hopefully provide an explanation why the Giants slept through the game.
The short end is this. The defense couldn’t stop the Broncos from marching down the field. The offense couldn’t run the ball. The Giants lost 26-6, yet the score doesn’t convey how thoroughly they got spanked by a team that hadn’t won a game in a month.
I’m at a lost to find any positives about the game. The only one I can find is that kicker Lawrence Tynes was 2-for-2 on field goals, including a 52-yard kick. But let’s go down the list, shall we?
Quarterback (D): Eli Manning was not impressive. He had a number of throws that landed at the receivers’ feet, or over the receivers’ heads. Andre’ Goodman had three interceptions in his grasp, but failed to pull two of them in. Eli also fumbled in the fourth quarter, but when the defense knows you’re going to pass every down in a position of desperation, that’s not a big deal.
Running Backs (C): When you’re supposedly elite running game carries the ball just 16 times and averages 3.6 yards per carry, you’re in trouble. Brandon Jacobs continued his transition into the last Giant player to wear #27. Ron Dayne has returned the Giants’ backfield, ladies and gentlemen! I don’t understand why Jacobs isn’t just exploding in the line and using his built to push the pile. It seems to take him so long to reach the line of scrimmage, and he’s going down as soon as someone tries to take out his legs. Jacobs’ biggest run of the game was for seven freakin’ yards.
Danny Ware…I mean, DJ Ware (as he insisted to be called now; it stands for Danny Jr.) was decent. He only carried the ball six times, but averaged an impressive 6.8 yards per carry. Of course, he also fumbled early in the second quarter, allowing a turnover which the Broncos converted into a Knowshon Moreno touchdown. He left the game with a concussion.
Receivers (C): You’re kind of limited when your quarterback is struggling to get the ball to you. But the receiving corp didn’t help. The Broncos were playing a lot of man-to-man, yet Manning was having trouble finding an open receiver. Kevin Boss was coming off a career game, yet Manning only threw his way twice. Considering Boss caught both passes that came at him, I have to believe that he just wasn’t getting open often enough. Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks were the Giants’ two best receivers on the field, but both caught long balls that inflated their numbers.
Offensive Line (D): Last year, the Giants’ offensive line was one of the best in the NFL. Yet this season, with the EXACT SAME LINE, they allow way too much pressure on passing games, and don’t open any holes in the running game. Manning got sacked three times and got hit six times in all. Although some of the blame lies with Jacobs, the line’s inability to open any holes for him doesn’t give Jacobs a chance to build any momentum with his runs. I hate when the Giants run outside with Jacobs, as he’s a north-south runner, not an east-west. But I can understand the reasoning. The big hitters on defense are generally the linemen, the linebackers, and the safeties. If you can successfully get outside, you have a 264-pound back going against cornerbacks. It’s a dream matchup. But it’s useless if the offensive line isn’t allowing you to get any positive yardage on those plays.