The New York Giants continue their Jekyll and Hyde act after a convincing win over the Jets on Christmas Eve. So that leaves just one more decisive game before the postseason begins. Which version of the Giants will show up on Sunday? Your guess is as good as mine.
SI.com ranks the Giants at number 11, up 7 spots from last week. Where else do they fall as the last week of the regular season begins?
The Giants Across the Board
The Giants need to get better on first down and second down so that they aren’t always trying to convert on third-and-long. There won’t be many times when a quarterback only has nine completions but throws for 225 yards. I guess that is what happens when Victor Cruz catches three passes for 164 yards, one of which was a 99-yard touchdown.
Not a great day for Eli, and this time around we can’t blame the receivers quite as much as we could in recent weeks. True that Hakeem Nicks had a couple drops, but for that unit, that’s a good day. Eli has played well all year so I can’t imagine he would let one or two poor showings get to him at this point in the season.
They have a one-game playoff Sunday against the Cowboys. Is coach Tom Coughlin coaching for his job?
If the Giants lose, I think Coughlin’s job will depend more on how they lost. The team as a whole played well against the Jets, so if we see a game like that come down to the wire, but they are simply outplayed by a better team, Coughlin might be safe. But if we see any signs of a team that just doesn’t want to be there, like they appeared against the Redskins a couple weeks ago, then Coughlin and some of the other coaches will probably find themselves on the unemployment line.
NFL Mocks: 7(17)
I still don’t trust them to win this game against Dallas at home. But that’s me being a cynical Giants fan. Prior to Sunday’s game Mike Garafolo at The Newark Star Ledger wrote a piece on how the Giants defense was getting back to basics instead of having complicated last second scheme checks. Why did it take that long to change that? I realize they held Mark Sanchez in check, but still. How many blown coverages have they had all year? They’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off much of the season. They probably should have done that weeks ago. Eli Manning has struggled two games in a row now can he have a big bounce back week?
We heard weeks ago that there were serious communication issues amongst the defenders, and the amount of blown coverages and bad route-running made these problems pretty obvious. Saturday’s game was a definite improvement, but regardless of what happens this weekend and with the playoffs, unless we see a complete 180-degree change out of this unit, I think Fewell needs to go. This isn’t his first season with this unit, and we have to expect much better by now, regardless of the injuries.
Brandon Jacobs will get a chance to “shut up” another “fat boy” this weekend, when the Cowboys and their defensive coordinator come to town.
In general I do not cheer trash talk because it usually leads to future retribution by the ones who were attacked. This is especially true, and a bit irritating, when the talking comes from a guy who, up until recently, was consistently underperforming and could still lose his job after the season. But when you’re Rex Ryan, you pretty much ask for it.
Dallas Cowboys: 13 (8-7, week 17)
Well, the big game, the one we have all been anticipating for weeks now, is upon us. The showdown for the NFC East will take place this Sunday night. But which two teams will take the field? Both have been inconsistent all season, and now injuries are hitting the Cowboys at the worst possible time. Or is it? Yes, losing your starting quarterback in week 16 is a bad blow no matter who it is. But let’s be honest, how often does Tony Romo come through in the clutch in December or January? I’m not going to go so far as to say Stephen McGee would be the savior of this season if he gets the start, but he did not have a terrible outing against the Eagles, completing 24 of 38 for a touchdown and no interceptions. The bottom line is he, or any quarterback, cannot be taken lightly by the Giants, who have struggled mightily on defense against pretty much everyone. This will be an interesting game for sure on many levels.