There have been other times over in Jersey when the Giants felt as much like a big game as they do on Sunday night when the Cowboys come into MetLife Stadium, the Cowboys now having won 11 games in a row since the Giants got them on the opening Sunday in September, when it turns out the getting was good.
There was the Saturday night nine years ago against the Patriots, last Saturday in December, when the unbeaten Patriots came into Jersey and the Giants gave them all they wanted, in a game that turned out to be a preview of coming attractions when Tom Coughlin beat the Patriots in University of Phoenix Stadium and kept them from going 19-0.
There was the Christmas Eve game against the Jets in 2011, when the Giants were 7-7 and on the 1-yard line before Eli threw this little pass to Victor Cruz that turned into a 99-yard touchdown play that changed that day and the whole season and even Giants history, because before you knew it the Giants were beating the Patriots in another Super Bowl, this one in Indianapolis. And the next week the Giants played a winner-take-all game for the NFC East with the Cowboys and won it.
Oh, and there have also been games that were complete calamities in MetLife, like the one six years ago against the Eagles, when the Giants were winning going away, and on their way to winning the NFC East, before the Eagles scored 28 points in the last seven minutes and change, and it was really the same as the Giants losing their season that day and not just that one game.
You remember it the way, if you’re old enough, you remember Joe Pisarcik trying to hand the ball to Csonka about a hundred years ago. The Giants punted the ball to DeSean Jackson with 14 seconds to go, and before long Jackson was running away from everybody, on the day that some people called “The Miracle at the New Meadowlands.”
And there was another wonderful Sunday night game against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, the year of the 99-yarder from Eli to Cruz, that was another preview of coming attractions even though the Giants lost to Green Bay in Jersey, because they’d get the 15-1 Packers later in the playoffs at Lambeau. Even last year when the Giants were 5-4 and thinking they were still in play, the Patriots beat them on a field goal at the end.
So there have been some big days and nights in Jersey, just in the last 10 years. But this one on Sunday night, 11-1 Cowboys against the Giants, feels as big as any of them, even though the loss in Pittsburgh last Sunday probably finished any realistic chance for the Giants to win the East. This one has all the trimmings, Cowboys and Giants and Sunday night on NBC. The Giants did get Dak Prescott early, in Texas, before he’d figured things out. Now they try to get him again. They try to get to 9-4 and knock the Cowboys back to 11-2, and maybe even convince themselves that they can get on the kind of run in December that they have in the past.
Yeah. This is a big-game night in New York sports, even over on the other side of the river, a little after 8 on Sunday night, even without Jason Pierre-Paul in the game, even with the way the Giants slopped around — and got pushed around — at Heinz Field last Sunday afternoon. Over all the Sundays — and Monday nights — since the last Super Bowl when the Giants stopped making the playoffs and Coughlin finally stopped coaching them, Giants’ fans have waited to have a game like this again, against an old rival like the Cowboys, at this time of year. And now they have one. Man, do they.
Eli Manning and Giants have had plenty of big night games at MetLife Stadium.
(Aaron M. Sprecher/AP)
It was against the Cowboys, when Odell Beckham Jr. was a rookie, when he first put his name up in lights by seeming to reach all the way into the lights to make a one-handed catch as famous as any regular-season catch in pro football history. Now he goes up against the Cowboys again, knowing that there will be another receiver in the house — Dez Bryant — who doesn’t think that Beckham is the top guy anywhere because he, Dez, thinks he’s the best receiver in the world.
So we have that on Sunday night in Jersey. We have the kid, Prescott, the story of the year in the NFL even if Ezekiel Elliott might turn out to be the MVP, trying to outplay Eli on Eli’s field. Once Eli was the hot kid in the NFC East. He is 35 now. And is somebody else who has waited a long time for another night like this.
You know who else gets the lights turned up tonight? Landon Collins is who. He has been one of the best and most important defensive players in the league so far this season, intercepting passes and making sacks and making tackles all over the field. There were no big games for the kid last season. There sure is one Sunday night.
Pierre-Paul, who just had surgery for a sports hernia, who was again playing like a star after what his fireworks accident did to his hand a couple of years ago, really is a huge loss for the Giants. They needed him to chase Prescott around on Sunday night, and they needed him to get after Elliott. Another Giant who had waited a good long while for a moment like this.
We knew the schedule got harder for the Giants, even when they had a winning streak of their own going. We all could see the Steelers sitting there, and at home, before the Cowboys were coming to town. Eli didn’t get enough protection and finally made a big mistake and they didn’t put enough pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, and the Giants couldn’t cover Antonio Brown and, let’s face it, the Steelers were able to get away with a lot against Beckham.
That was last Sunday. This Sunday it is the Cowboys, at night, eleven wins in a row looking for 12. The Giants think they can again be a big team. They play one on Sunday night. Been too long in Jersey. Way too long. Giants can’t win the NFC against the Cowboys. They just want to win the night.
Phil’s Mr. Potter impression, Kap’s stance & Chapman’s deal . . .
(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
— The more Phil Jackson talks, the more he’s going to turn Carmelo Anthony into a more popular figure this Christmas than George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
And you have to know the deal with the 33 Melo dropped on the Kings Friday night.
Phil thinks he did it.
But then Phil, bless his heart, probably thinks the same thing when he sees the lights get lit on the tree at Rockefeller Center.
— From the time he took his first knee, Colin Kaepernick was less than his ardent supporters said he was, and more than his severest critics said.
He was never Ali, or Curt Flood, or Tommie Smith or John Carlos, no matter how hard people tried to make him into some hybrid of them.
He also wasn’t an enemy of the military because he chose not to salute a symbol of the freedoms for which our military has always fought.
But if you take Kaepernick at his word, he originally stood up — by kneeling — because he’s a young African-American man who thinks we’re working off two sets of books with the justice system in America.
A justice system that just acquitted a white cop who last spring shot and killed a black man named Walter Scott running away from him in Charleston.
Doesn’t make Kaepernick more of a hero because he wanted to start a conversation about a death like that.
Maybe it does make you take a second look at him, at least while you still can in San Francisco.
— Rudy Giuliani taking his name out of consideration for Secretary of State, is like me taking my name out of consideration to be the next coach of the Knicks.
Bobby Valentine is allowed to be the next ambassador to Japan but, hey, no disguises over there, I mean it.
I know guys covering golf are happy to have Tiger Woods back, even briefly, but they have to stop acting as if him finishing that tournament in the Bahamas is something comparable to planting the flag at Iwo Jima.
— There is absolutely nothing wrong with people, all over town, from newspapers to radio to blogs, wanting somebody other than Todd Bowles to coach the New York Jets.
But then what?
Does firing this coach solve everything with this roster, and this organization?
— Aroldis Chapman’s contract at the back end will look like CC Sabathia’s.
But you know what?
If all Brian Cashman had to do was spend money to get him, there was no down side in that.
The only cautionary note on all of this is that Theo Epstein, the best baseball executive on the planet, decided in the end that he didn’t want, or need, Chapman for the Cubbies.
If the other night against the Colts was the low point in recent years for the Jets, what was the Butt Fumble Game?
I’m probably not as interested in Kanye as I should be.
Have you ever heard a coach or manager question his own team’s effort the way Gregg Popovich questioned the effort of the Spurs the other night?
Chris Herring’s work with ESPN is as smart as it was when he was still with the Wall Street Journal.
Maybe Giuliani and Christie and Newt Gingrich can form the bust-out pols version of the First Wives Club.
Like their own support group!
Do you think Kellyanne Conway’s filibuster, so often about Kellyanne Conway, is going to end anytime soon?
When your farm system is as deep as the Red Sox farm system has been, you’re allowed to go in big on Chris Sale.
— If the Packers can beat the Seahawks on Sunday, I believe they’re going to win out, and win the NFC North.
By the way?
Reports of Aaron Rodgers’ demise sort of turned out to be exaggerated, right?
Unless a season when he’s thrown 29 touchdown passes against seven picks is supposed to be some sort of marker that he’s on the back nine.
— I don’t know about you, but I thought that LeBron sort of enjoyed his visit to the big city this past week.
By the middle of the third quarter, the Knicks probably wanted to make sure all the banners were still hanging from the ceiling.
There’s so much state-run doping going on with Russian athletes, you wonder how they even found the time to hack our Presidential election.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News