BIG BLUE PREVIEW ~ Part II
NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS:
Done playing in the snow? Tell Brett the Fossil to suit-up and
Let's Play Some Football!
In two hours and twenty minutes, the bizarre weekend for the Giants will finally gain some normalcy and Football will be concern number one again. Tonight's odd 7:20pm Monday Night start against the Minnesota Vikings in Detroit's Ford Field (Home of the Detroit Lions) now unfortunately follows the Eagles defeat of the Cowboys in Dallas. So, once again, we must play follow the leader, win, and keep pace with Philly.
Around the League in games that can have an affect on the Giants as the season draws to a close in three weeks, the Bears got their claws clipped by the New England Patriots in a snow-driven blow-out, and the Packers had a woeful losing effort against the Lions. The Saints continued to gel and now the Bucs have crept back into the NFC Wild Card picture.
And so, due to unsettling losses against the Cowboys and the Eagles earlier this season, tonight is a must win for the G-Men against the Vikings. The Giants must achieve at least 11 wins to have a realistic chance of making the play-offs in what's becoming an increasingly tightening race. There are only four more chances including tonight, to max out at 12 wins. That's assuming we win out. Going three 3-1 in the final four may be cutting things too close.
The last four games on the Giants' schedule poses a daunting task in trying to win-out. After tonight we play the Eagles at home in a rematch and most likely a game that will decide the NFC East Title. Then we must play the Packers who are vying for the same playoff spot we currently are. The season finale is against the 'Skins in Washington.
The road ahead will be hard to negotiate. But we can only begin by winning tonight on our first stop.
These two teams have played feast or famine contests in the past. Some games were memorable for all the right reasons. Some games were horrendous and completely forgettable.
*Phil Simms has told his story hundreds of times, how the 1986 Giants' Offense was really sputtering along and playing relatively ineffective Football that season until they went to Minnesota. The Giants were behind 20-19 with 1:12 left in the 4th quarter. Faced with a 4th down and 17 to go, Phil Simms connected with Bobby Johnson for a first down. That pass enabled the Giants to kick a field goal and win 22-20. That play propelled the Giants all the way through to a victory in Super Bowl XXI.
*For the 1993 season, Dan Reeves took control of the Giants after the team floundered after Bill Parcells retired and the Ray Handley years that followed. Coach Reeves, made life as a Giant fan much more bearable as we ALL thought our lives were ruined after 1990. But Coach Reeves squeezed every last bit of Football glory out of the remaining veteran Giants and with some newer guys, Coach guided us to a playoff appearance against the Minnesota Vikings. Phil Simms kept our heads on straight one last time and Rodney Hampton rumbled us home to victory in front of the home crowd; 17-10.
*THE FASSEL YEARS:
**In 1997, Jim Fassell took the "new" Giants back to the top of the NFC East Division. Behind an inspired defense that achieved an insane turn-over ratio and Coached by a wily Defensive Coordinator; John Fox, this Giants team re-emerged as a Big Blue playoff contender. That wild, but undisciplined bunch faced off against the Vikings in a first round Playoff Game on December 27, 1997. In one of the most bizarre four minutes of Football I had ever seen to that point, the Giants were directly responsible for making Dennis Green appear to be a good coach. The Giants had the game in-hand, then all of a sudden, the Defense started fighting....WITH EACH OTHER! - ON THE FIELD! - DURING THE GAME! No one could believe the melt-down that ensued at the hands of Randal Cunningham, Dennis Green and the Vikings.
The Giants would lose that playoff game 23-22. Ponderous!
**The National Football Conference Championship Game ~ January 14, 2001 ~ Giants vs. Vikings:
The Giants won 41-0. Kerry Collins had one of the more spectacular games a Giants' quarterback has ever had. The Giants Offense was Perfect that day. The Giants Defense pitched a shut-out in what amounted to be one of the most dominant Championship Game victories in all Football history.
Then we have matters more related to today's Giants and concerns about tonight's game.
You see, Eli Manning has never beaten the Vikings. He's 0-4 against them with only 2 TD's and a whopping 9 INT's. There is also the matter of last year's season final when the Giants were resoundingly beaten by the Vikings 44-7. That precipitated some very harsh words by the Media as the Giants were dubbed one of the biggest disappointments in Football, and also by NYG Owner John Mara regarding their disappointing season. The team started 5-0 and finished 8-8.
For Giants fans tonight, this game is as important to them as any they've played against the Vikings and any they will play this year. It's not being spoken of that way...much. But the Giants' playoff hopes rest in the balance. The Vikings on the other hand are collapsing like......Doh! Their season hasn't gone well at all, and quite honestly, Brett Favre is at the root of their matter.
Last year Brett Favre helped orchestrate that 44-7 Giant debacle in Week 17 that put us out of our misery. This game, he may not be so sure to play. But if he does, I'd like the Giants to return the courtesy and put him out of his misery. While Brett is struggling, beset by injuries, he is called to action, faced with his chase for the now elusive 300th consecutive start of his career. He's listed as questionable and remains a game time decision.
He'd be doing us a favor by stepping out on the field tonight and attempting to QB the Vikings.
C'mon! Play! Please?!
As far as the game itself, the Defense needs to keep Adrian Peterson under wraps. Stop him and you stop the Vikings Offense. He needs to be stopped on first contact. We can't have him bouncing off tacklers and busting out for big plays. Stop Adrian Peterson and limit Viking first downs. And most of all, make sure we control third down. They must be forced to punt by owning 3rd down. I do not want to get into a shoot-out with this team.
But if it's a shoot out they want, then it's a Shoot-Out they'll get. Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith are returning to catch Eli's passes and David Diehl will be back on the left side to fortify the Offensive Line. Center-Shaun O'Hara still looks like a scratch. While I always choose to grind the ball on the ground with a 20/20 mix of Jacobs and Bradshaw, I have a feeling Coach Gilbride and Eli will have to fling that Pigskin around tonight.
More power to ya Coach. Give em hell.
It's almost game-time.