Monday Morning Hangover


When Eli Manning’s pass was tipped into the air and intercepted on the first drive of the game against the Eagles, I had flashbacks of Week 5 against Cleveland. But after the Eagles got into the end zone thanks to some generous field position, the Giants got the ball back, put up a seven spot and never looked back.

After the shaky start Eli found his groove and went 17 for 31 with 191 yards and two touchdowns in the game with only the one pick. He had some help from Brandon Jacobs who ran for 126 yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns and Derrick Ward who added 53 yards on 17 carries.

The defense did enough to win the game, but were vulnerable to the big play one too many times. But given the lack of experience in the secondary and the solid offensive line of the Eagles, that is bound to happen at some point.

But the one negative thing to come out of the game is once again the Giants inability to score touchdowns in the red zone. Once again there was another case of a game that should have been over well before it was, but coming away with field goals has been the Giants Achilles heel all season long and even with a 8-1 record, you can only play with fire for so long. The Giants need better play calls in the red zone and on third downs in general. Seeing John Carney come out after a three and out in the red zone has become an all too familiar sight and it is time go back to the drawing board and figure out hot to get the ball in the end zone.

Just like the Pittsburgh game and many other games this season, the Giants outplayed their opposition the entire game, but almost lost due to too many field goals and not enough touchdowns.

So, what does this win mean? Well, it means you will be seeing the New York Football Giants in the postseason for the fourth consecutive season and it also means they will be the 2008 NFC East Champions and receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs. As it stands now, here is the NFC East:

NYG 8-1 (3-0)
WSH 6-3 (2-1)
DAL 5-4 (1-2)
PHI 5-4 (0-3)

New York and Washington have now both had their byes and with the magic number down to six to “officially” clinch the division here is what has to happen for the Giants to blow the division to the second place Redskins. Right now the Giants hold the head-to-head advantage over the Redskins, so keeping that in mind here is what has to happen for the Redskins to take the East:

Giants go 7-0, they clinch
Giants go 6-1, they clinch
Giants go 5-2, they clinch
Giants go 4-3, Redskins have to go 7-0 to win division
Giants go 3-4, Redskins have to go 6-1 to win division
Giants go 2-5, Redskins have to go 5-2 to win division
Giants go 1-6, Redskins have to go 4-3 to win division
Giants go 0-7, Redskins have to go 2-4 to win division

Remember once again the Giants have the head-to-head advantage. If the Redskins were able to win the second game between the two teams and then tie the Giants in record, then the tie would be broken with this format:

1. Best PCT in games within division
2. Best PCT in common games

So basically it is impossible for the Redskins to gain the edge either by head-to-head or by percentage in divisional games since the Giants have not lost within the East and the have the edge in common games as well.

The Giants are now in a position where winning just four out of the remaining seven games (.571) will get them into the playoffs and they can play even worse football than that. So you can say you read it here first:


Around The League
Sunday saw the battle of two teams that are more inconsistent than anyone in the league. Those team would be the St. Louis Rams and the New York Jets. One week the Rams will get blown out by 25+ points. The next week they will show up and beat a playoff team. The next week they will barely lose on the road to a good. And the next week they will trail 40-0 at halftime. There is no doubt that the St. Louis Rams are the strangest team in the NFL. A team full of offensive weapons including a quarterback who has the potential to be among the best in the entire league and running back who when healthy is arguably the best at his position in the league. But as inconsistent as the St. Louis offense is, the defense is 100 times worse. Then again, the New York Jets are no more consistent than the Rams.

The Jets might have six wins this season, but if the Rams are the strangest team in the NFL (which they are) then the Jets are the second strangest.

The Jets have only beaten one real playoff team in the Arizona Cardinals, but you never know what Jets team will show up. Will it be the team that absolutely crushed Arizona and St. Louis or the team that lost to the terrible Oakland Raiders in overtime, or the team that needed a touchdown in the final minute to defeat Kansas City?

The Jets are a strange bunch, but right now they are in the thick of a chaotic playoff race in the AFC. In the AFC East they trail only New England who has an identical record, but holds the head-to-head advantage. But Gang Green will get a chance to even the score this Thursday night in Foxboro.

I want to talk about the Packers and what better time in this post than after a few paragraphs on the Jets and their 6-3 record. I am pretty sure the front office of Green Bay has thought about what the Packers would be like this year with Brett Favre instead of Aaron Rodgers and they are right to think so.

The NFC North is so bad that the Packers should easily have the division wrapped up, but instead they aren’t even in second place in the North. Yesterday they had a chance to beat the Vikings on the road even after Aaron Rodgers created two safeties and four points for the Vikings. But the Green Bay defense folded in the final minutes as Gus Frerotte and Adrien Peterson went the entire field for a game winning drive.

So while Aaron Rodgers has floundered in his first season at the helm of the Green Bay Packers (but was still given a contract extension), old man Favre has led the Jets back from the basement and towards a postseason berth.

The Titans are still undefeated and I don’t think anyone expected them to lose today, though they very well could have. Being 9-0 is a great accomplishment. Beating the Chicago Bears with Rex Grossman at quarterback is not. Nevertheless, the Titans are 9-0 and along with the Arizona Cardinals, are locked into a playoff spot this season.

The Jaguars got the win against the Lions who are now 0-9 and are still the only winless team in the NFL. The Jaguars were another big pick from the “experts” this year to go to the Big Dance, but instead they have been a major disappointment. Losing last week against Cincinnati put their playoff chances on ice, but if you lose to Cincinnati (not to mention Cincinnati without Carson Palmer) you don’t deserve to go to the playoffs.

I am still amazed at how the New England Patriots are winning football games. Do I now think they are a good team? No. I still believe that they are just an average football team and their play has shown it. Obviously you have to give the team a lot of credit for winning even one game with Matt Cassel as their quarterback, but the Patriots haven’t beaten a good team. Not one. Their six wins have come against the Chiefs, Jets, 49ers, Broncos, Rams, and Bills. Maybe, maybe, one of those teams will make the postseason. Maybe. And out of those teams, the team with the best chance is the Jets and we know how good they are. Then again what does this say for how bad the AFC East is?

I like Peyton Manning and always have and I am not sure how you can’t (unless you live in Massachusetts or are a fan of the New England Patriots), so it was good to see the Colts get back on track with the win against Ben Roethlisberger and the overrated Pittsburgh Steelers. The Colts offensive line hasn’t held up like it has in the past, the defense has been sloppy, and injuries have plagued the entire team including Peyton this season, but they are still 5-4 and very much in the playoff race. In the second quarter against Pittsburgh yesterday, Peyton threw a pass down field to a wide open Marvin Harrison who was the only person in the picture on the entire television screen and it was six points waiting to happen and Harrison just dropped the ball. Now, when was the last time you saw Marvin Harrison drop a wide open, guaranteed touchdown pass? I can’t remember one time. Things just aren’t right in Indy and they are one spot out of the AFC playoffs. They will be the AFC representative in the Super Bowl.

I would like to sit down across from Norv Turner and the San Diego Chargers front office personnel and then just burst out in laughter. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever has a team had so much hype, so many so-called “weapons” and been so bad in the history of professional sports. And I am sure many of you are trying to think of other examples, but there aren’t any. The San Diego Chargers aren’t a bad football team, they are an awful one, and given the players on their roster they could really be the worst team in the league. I mean the Lions have no wins and the Raiders and Rams would be better suited to just forfeit the rest of the season, but no team is as bad as the Chargers and I don’t care what anyone says.

If you have read this blog before you have probably noticed my negative talk about the Chargers. I don’t not like the Chargers, I could really care less if they win, lose, or tie given the fact they play on the other side of the country and aren’t even in the Giants conference, but I do care about the coverage they get and the time wasted by the major media outlets talking about them. Mike Francesa (and for those of you who don’t know him he is half of the former show Mike and the Mad Dog) said on WFAN the other day he can see the Chargers going 7-1 to finish the season at 10-6 and win the AFC West. Not only did I slap myself in the face to make sure I wasn’t having a nightmare, but I nearly threw up from the words coming out of his mouth.

If the Chiefs weren’t 1-7 (now 1-8) and were playing the game yesterday for something other than to knock off a divisional opponent, then the Chargers season might have come down to a coin toss in overtime. But instead Herm Edwards went for the jugular and did his best Mike Shanahan impression, going for the two-point conversion and the win. But Tyler Thigpen was chased backwards and the San Diego Chargers came away with a nail biter against a one-win team. Congratulations on the win San Diego!

If the playoffs started today…

1. New York Giants (East)
2. Carolina Panthers (South)
3. Arizona Cardinals (West)
4. Chicago Bears (North)
5. Washington Redskins
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1. Tennessee (South)
2. Pittsburgh (North)
3. New England Patriots (East)
4. Denver Broncos (West)
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. New York Jets

Thomas Jones, RB, New York Jets – Jones absolutely demolished the St. Louis Rams defense and led the Jets to a blowout victory to keep pace with the New England Patriots and set up a huge game on Thursday in which both teams are 6-3.

26 carries, 149 yards, 3 TDs

Jake Delhomme, QB, Carolina Panthers – There was no easier pick for this award than Mr. Jake Delhomme who put up the following numbers in a game that the Panthers almost lost to the Raiders because of his efforts.

7 for 27, 72 yards , 1 TD, 4 INTs

The picks are 10-3 right now entering Monday Night Football tonight with Arizona hosting San Francisco and the pick is Arizona -9.5. The season record is 79-64 (.552).