NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL:
We're Playing the Eagles, But Battling Demons.
The Knock-Out Punch; Do The Giants Have It In Them?
My fellow Giant Fans, the time for our team to collectively put up or shut up is upon us. We have before us an opportunity to redeem ourselves in light of last year's season gone wrong at the hands of the Eagles, and in doing so, make this season right. After nine football games, we find ourselves in first place despite what should have been season debilitating injuries for most teams. Yet here we are. And now the Giants are down to the Seven Deadly Games on their schedule. Sunday, they'll not only be playing an old division foe, they'll be playing against their own recent history of falling short down the stretch.
The last thing the Giants want to do is let the Eagles back into the division race by losing this Sunday; not when a Giants' win can effectively eliminate Philadelphia from the playoff picture. Dallas however is another matter. Having seemingly collected themselves, they are now entering the easiest portion of their schedule. Sunday they play the dreadful Washington Redskins. A Giants loss and a Dallas win would land the two teams in a tie for first place of the NFC East.
How we got to 6-3 no longer matters. With Dallas breathing down our necks, the Giants' defining portion of their season starts...now. The relative quiet we've enjoyed this season and the time for self aggrandizement is over. Earlier wins over the Eagles and Patriots have given Giant fans confidence. And why not? We're a good team. But stay grounded people. Those two games are distant memories now. Adversity is on the way. And the true test of a team's character is how they respond when faced with such. The Cowboys and Eagles afforded the Giants early season conditions to exist relatively free of external threats because A) - the Cowboys suffered through a horrific start, and B) - the Eagles are currently in the midst of a crippling melt-down. What I'm saying is, don't get cocky! Now more than ever, it's time to keep our attention to detail. Every snap from center in this upcoming game and moving forward carries with it the weight of a Big Blue world.
Many times in my football life as a fan, a Giants' loss played into my moods for the rest of the week. However, last week's loss against San Francisco not so much. I've seen that game before. And I've seen us recover as well. So it spared me from lamenting too long over a very winnable game in the second half of the season.
Fact is, we had our chances. And that's what matters to me; that my team is capable enough to put itself into winning situations. So there's solace in my feeling that if we should take the field against San Francisco again tomorrow, the Giants can win. That's not a knock against the 49ers. They're having a great season and deserved to win. I just speak from a standpoint of confidence I have in the Giants. Quite frankly, we did many things better than the Niners last Sunday, except manage the final score.
But this week is a little different than the 49ers. Since my days watching Lawrence Taylor terrorize Ron Jaworski, the damnedest things happen during Giants/Eagles games. It didn't matter if it was Randall Cunningham, Donovan McNabb, or these days, Michael Vick on the other side. Guys like Reggie White and Harold Carmichael, to LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson, have all been part of some of the most incredulous games I've ever suffered through. Look no further than at last year's disastrous final minutes the last time Philly came to Giants Stadium. There's two things I know about Giants/Eagles games; they're never fun until the game is over, and then, only if you win.
Somehow, it doesn't matter who's on the field. These games have a life of their own. Philly will be without Michael Vick. The Giants will be missing Michael Boley this week, and Ahmad Bradshaw will sit out again. And so what... The only way I'll feel better about Sunday night prior to playing is if the Eagle's team bus breaks down on the Jersey Turnpike and they're not present for kick-off. Otherwise, I'm not listening to that nonsense about the Eagles' 3-6 record and a Philly-Fade. Talk to me about that on Monday morning.
But here we are none the less. The Giants can deliver their first truly big blow of the 2011 regular season against the Eagles Sunday evening and therefore dictate the conversation regarding how strongly, or not, they'll finish this year. It's in their hands. We're going to find out if they have enough punching power to deliver a knock-out blow, or if they are just going to rope-a-dope their way through another disappointing finish.
The first nine games of the season were merely a forward. The story on the Giants 2011 season is still yet to be written. All that starts now. But first, they must exorcise the demon of 2010 in order for them to move on.
Let's Go Giants!
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Big Blue Stadium