Wednesday, November 20, 2013

N.Y. Giants: Showdown At The Met-Life Corral

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE

Jerry's World Enters The Land of Giants

Facing Third And Very Long.  Can They Convert?
I - First Quarter of Season; 0-4
II - Second Quarter of Season; 2-2
III - 2-0 Entering Clash with Cowboys.
IV - The Final Four.

For this season, and this 2013 troubled season only, the time has come to take the New York Football Giants seriously again.  They've earned it.  Despite still being two games under .500, four straight victories have somehow propelled them back into NFC East contention.

Consider which teams were predicted to be players and pretenders this season.  The Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons ran headlong into adversity and fell apart like wet toilet paper, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants, two of the league's ancient sentinels, have weathered their respective 0-6 tempests.  Team fortitude such as that displayed by these two inter-connected franchises emanates from the top, and works its way down to the field.  People know who own the Giants and Steelers.  They know who coaches them.  Quick!  Who owns the Falcons and Texans?  My point exactly.  Thus, on Sunday, the Steelers and Giants stand poised to make December meaningful again.

Everyone knows who Jerry Jones is too.  He's the famous football owner of America's (most overrated) Team, who may just now be realizing what so many have known all along - Jerry Jones is an awful general manager.  Despite a 3-0 record against the division, his team is reeling.  The Cowboys are now 28th in offensive rushing yardage, and rank 29th defending the run.  How much did Jerry Jones spend on cornerbacks last off-season?  Answer - the Cowboys currently rank 32nd, or dead last in passing yards allowed.  So, it doesn't matter what he spent except to Cowboys season ticket holders.

The Giants have made just enough adjustments, improved their situation just in time, and regained just enough confidence and momentum, to make Sunday's clash against the Dallas Cowboys not just relevant, or even a huge deal.  This game is now set up to join the all-time great clashes these teams have ever engaged in.

At present, the teams appear to be passing each other by, heading in opposite directions at high speed.

After beginning the season 0-6, this conversation shouldn't even be taking place, but the rest of the NFC LEAST has made all things possible again.  A victory by the Giants this Sunday would give them a 5-6 record, tying them with the 'Boys for second place in the division.  The Philadelphia Eagles won last week, and will sit out this week's bye in first place, with a secure 6-6 record.

Big Blue still has the same flaws and deficiencies which got them into this mess in the first place, which no doubt will require GM Jerry Reese's immediate off-season attention.  But at the same time, there's no arguing the locker room is still filled with skilled, good character professionals.  Many of them have been to both the top of the mountain, and the bottom of the valley together, among them obviously, is Coach Tom Coughlin.

Defensively, the Giants have only allowed 46 points in their last four games, or 11.7 points per game during this current winning streak.  By comparison, they allowed 146 points in their first four games of the season.  Then for good measure, they gave up another 63 points in weeks five and six, thus allowing over 200 points during their six game skid.

They are now 7th in the NFL against the run, and 15th against the pass.  Three big reason for that are, 1) - Jon Beason, who has turned into an exceptional acquisition by GM Jerry Reese, 2) - Jason Pierre Paul is showing signs of emerging into a dominant lineman again, evidenced by a sack against the Raiders, and his remarkable, point-blank pick-6 against the Packers, and 3) - Antrel Rolle continues to be a relentless leader, and the team's undisputed MVP.

Offensively, the revamped front line is coming along.  They allowed four sacks last week.  That must change by this Sunday.  Otherwise, the situation is far from being the calamity it was earlier this season.  Justin Pugh continues to play effectively as a rookie, Jim Cordle is providing a considerable upgrade at center, while David Diehl has undoubtedly become a stabilizing presence since his return to action.  With the return of Andre Brown, the overall running game is breathing with life again.  Make no mistake, things are progressing slowly, but progressing nonetheless.

Eli is still throwing picks, albeit less frequently.  Interception #17 against the Packers was due to an incorrect rout again by the receiver.  Despite the miscommunication, and because the running game is making strides, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and even Ruben Randall can potentially be aggressive big play makers for the Giants again.  The numbers say Big Blue should win a shoot-out against the Dallas Cowboys.

Last word - Never underestimate guile, experience, winning cultures, and great organizations.  And never, overestimate the Cowboys, especially this time of year.


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