Through 1/4 of the NFL season, the Giants’ chances to make the playoffs are very bleak. Virtually every aspect of the team deserves blame for their 0-4 start, and there’s little reason to be optimistic at this point that things will turn around.
Except for this: The rest of the division. Despite their 4 losses, the Giants sit only 2 games out of first place (!) in the NFC East behind the Dallas Cowboys, who narrowly beat Big Blue in Week 1. Every team in the division has struggled this year, and most experts would agree that the NFC East is the worst division in football. They’re probably right.
What that means for the division is that a 9-7 or 8-8 team could easily win it. What that means for the Giants and their fans is that, shockingly, we’re not out of it quite yet. But if the Giants want to make a run for the division title, there’s no doubt that it has to start this weekend at home against Philadelphia. A win could potentially put the Giants just one game back of the division-leading Cowboys if Dallas loses to the Denver Broncos at home, which seems likely considering the way each of them has been playing of late. And after the Eagles’ impressive offensive showing in their Week 1 win over Washington, they’ve suffered 3 straight losses to the Chargers, Chiefs, and Broncos.
Not that beating the Eagles is going to be easy. Despite their struggles, Philadelphia has the #2 offense in football in terms of yards per game (behind only the undefeated Broncos), and the #1 rushing attack led by Michael Vick and the over-capitalized LeSean McCoy. Their problem has been on defense, where they’ve allowed the most yards of any team in football through 4 weeks.
If one thing is clear, it’s that neither of the two Wild Card teams in the NFC are coming out of the East. A loss this week would leave the Giants at least 2 games out of the NFC East lead, with 2 division losses and a firm hold on last place. A win could change their whole season. If you squint your eyes a bit, you can see flashes of competence in the Giants’ play – particularly on defense – amid their general awfulness on all sides of the ball. But if they can find some success this week, against the league’s worst defense, then 1-4 won’t look so bad.