By Scott Verlangieri
We will be seeing that title prior to each Giants game as long as the the hated Philadelphia Eagles keep winning and the NFC wild card picture stays ultra competitive. There is not much wiggle room for mistakes going forward as one loss could put the season on life support. Injuries or not, the Gmen cannot come out and play like they did in the first half last week. Against a better offensive team they would have not had the chance to stage a comeback like they did.
More after the jump…
The Giants have not scored a touchdown on any opening drive this season and last week was the first time they put up any points period to start a game. They have actually turned the ball over 5 times on their opening drives. This especially can no longer happen. With their injuries to their wide receivers, they can not afford to be get down early because they do not have the explosiveness outside to consistently play from behind. They need to play smart and take what the Redskins give them. Washington is last in the league in total defense so there should be plays to be made. Their make shift offensive line has played extremely well by not allowing a sack the last 4 weeks and have opened consistent running lanes. The key this week is to be committed to being balanced on offense and to play to your strengths. I thought Gilbride did a great job last week, especially in the second half, using both backs effectively and letting Eli manage the offense without forcing plays that weren’t there. For the first time all season they did not commit a turnover last week. Needless to say, this needs to continue by keeping turnovers at an absolute minimum.
I love what Perry Fewell has done with the defense this year. However, I do have one criticism of his game planning and last week was a perfect example. I feel that he waits entirely too long to start bringing any type of pressure. There are multiple examples of this (Houston, Seattle, 2nd Dallas game, Jacksonville) He rushes the front 4 almost exclusively early in games to see if he can get there without bringing blitzes. As soon as he started bringing pressure last week the defense became more stout both on the pass and the run. With the emergence of JPP, he should be trying to get after the QB more. Go back and look at last weeks final drive. He had Rolle or Thomas coming off the edges to overload one side with Tuck, Osi, JPP moving around all over the line to create confusion. This needs to happen much, much earlier. Donovan Mcnabb still can beat you but he clearly is not the same player that has beaten the Giants 11 out of 18 times in his career. He does not move the same and has never been the most accurate QB. If you let him sit back there without any pressure he can still beat you which is why its imperative pressure is brought much early than in past games. The Skins running game is not an overly impressive group that is down to their 3rd stringer. I think last weeks early run defensive effort was more of an anomaly than a trend. They have overall been very good against the run this season. I see that continuing this week.
A look at the playoff scenario
We all know the easiest way is to finish ahead of the Eagles but looking at the wild card picture we definitely want Tampa to lose to Atlanta today. Chicago losing to Detroit seems unlikely however the Lions should have beat the Bears in Week 1 if not for the ridiculous Calvin Johnson (non-catch) catch. I don’t see us getting any help from San Fran as they will probably lose in Green Bay.
Its going to be a cold, windy day at the NMS so we should start to see for first time how the December winds at the new stadium will affect the game.
Antrel, please just shut up and play the game. I love you as a player because you’ve brought a dynamic that this defense has not had in a very long time. Sooner much rather than later you must realize that you are not in Arizona and that the things you say will have repercussions. I don’t mind you speaking your mind but use your head when you do it.
Jon Goff, last week was your mulligan. You got caught up in the wash way too much or you were just flat out of position especially in the first half.
Both kickoff and punt coverage has been exponentially better the last few weeks because of the decision to play more starters on ST. I like DJ Ware returning kicks as he was pretty decent, but he missed a truck sized hole last week when we cut to the middle of the field instead of going to the outside. It either would have been 6 or a very long return.
Its going to be nice to get some of these injured guys back in the next few weeks to improve our depth. However, Andrews’ injury doesn’t sound good. Given his history, I wouldn’t be holding out any hope that we see him again this season with the distinct possibility that we never see him again in NYG uniform.