New York Football Giants:
The Time To Be Great Has Passed, Now We Must Go Into Survival Mode.
With last week's loss to the Eagles, this season can no longer be great. It can turn out well. This season can still be called a good one when it's all over. We'll see. It just stopped having the potential to be great and the Giants have no one to blame but themselves. The Giants have 6 games left to separate themselves from the also-rans of this League. They must get healthy and correct their propensity to turn the ball over quickly in order to re-enter the conversation regarding the Conference's best teams. But last time we looked, "Great" was leaving the building.
The playoffs are another matter. Of course a playoff run can always be great. I'm talking about the scheduled games in hand. And this year's tablet has officially been depreciated. All is not lost; not by a long shot - not yet anyway. However, the question I'm starting to ponder is will 10 wins be good enough to make the playoffs? If you answered no, then 11 and 12 total wins are needed from this moment out. We currently have six wins with six to play. Going 4-2 over the next 6 games gets the Giants to 10-6. You can start driving yourself crazy trying to figure out the win-loss-win-loss game............Now.
Turnovers have been this team's downfall. Eli Manning has his name attached to a great many of them. But he isn't likely going to be asked to sit now is he? No. With Ahmad Bradshaw however, turnovers have now cost him his starting job. Brandon Jacobs will return to his long-lost role as the feature back. Fans aren't coming down too badly on Bradshaw because..., well, we like his maximum effort. But he's coughed the ball up too many times this season, (six times), and we all recognize the change is warranted. What this really means is questionable. Just because Jacobs is getting the start doesn't mean Bradshaw still won't get the majority of the carries. Ahmad Bradshaw has been doubling the touches given to Brandon all season.
Brandon Jacobs has only been averaging about 8 carries a game. I've long been calling for Coach Gilbride to increase Jacobs' rushing attempts because as December neared, he'd be more important to the over-all running game and cold weather ball control. We are now about to see how well or how badly Coach Gilbride has managed Brandon Jacobs' playing time. Whether Coach is about to double or even triple Brandon's carries still remains to be seen. Maybe Coach Coughlin is maintaining a bigger say in this situation than I currently understand. Maybe Coach Coughlin will be sending a rather intense message to Ahmad Bradshaw this Sunday and restrict his touches. Again, we'll see. My overwhelming question is, has Coach Gilbride finally met his mistake in the face by under utilizing Brandon Jacobs, in my opinion, and left him under-prepared to carry the load this Sunday? It seems my obsessive compulsion to champion Brandon Jacobs' cause this season is coming to a head this week. I hope everyone who's been following me on this realizes this hasn't been a Man-Crush type Brandon push. It's what I thought all along was necessary for the Giants. With all that said, there is no escaping Jacobs and Bradshaw combined, only ran the ball 17 times for 39 yards against the Eagles last week.
Now that Brandon Jacobs is going to be the starting back again, it really couldn't come at a worse time as the Offensive-Line is riddled with injuries. Last game there was nothing to turn to. I credit Coach Gilbride for trying to establish the run against the Eagles, but is was clear to all, the Giants were getting ineffective run blocking from the Line.
To compound the Giants injury woes, the receiving corps. are now equally decimated. Eli Manning's true go-to guy, Steve Smith, is out. Ramses Barden is now out for the year also. Mario Manningham isn't enough to detract attention away from Hakeem Nicks like Smith was. Nicks can now be double-teamed with confidence. Reflective of the struggles it's been for the deep and talented bunch of receivers and Eli is the fact he is tied for the League lead in TD passes and also has the 2nd most INT's in the League.
...And silly me, Hakeem Nicks is out too.
I said the loss to the Eagles was survivable. But I hope Big Blue has been practicing their skills this week. Their fight for life starts Sunday afternoon against a different kind of animal in the Jaguars.
Only the strong survive.