Plenty of reasons to start getting excited about the Giants

We got the Giants back last Sunday afternoon. They won another close game, which good teams are supposed to do. They kept putting the other team’s quarterback, Andy Dalton in this case, on the ground, which is what the greatest Giants teams used to do. And then they waited for Eli to make plays, usually to Odell Beckham Jr., the most talented position player they’ve ever had.

The Giants got to 6-3 against the Bengals. They have a big chance to get to 7-3 against the Bears on Sunday and keep the Cowboys in sight, so that Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t run away from them the way he ran away from the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, as he continued to be the MVP in the league so far this season. The job these days is keeping contact with the Cowboys, whom they play on Dec. 11 at MetLife, and whom they’ve already beaten this season. Another win against Dallas means that if the two teams end up tied, the Giants win the NFC East.

And they would be back in the playoffs for the first time since they won their last Super Bowl, in Indy. That was five years ago. They haven’t been back to the playoffs since. They had one winning season under Tom Coughlin after Indy. Even with the 6-3 record this season, the record since Indy is 34-39. Just because they played a throwback game against a mediocre — at best — Bengals team doesn’t mean they are all the way back.

But right now, today, going into the Bears game at MetLife, I believe they are one of the three best teams in the NFC, unless you believe in Carson Palmer and the Cardinals a lot more than I ever do. For the first time in a long time, maybe since Indy, guys like Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul honestly reminded you, at least for one Sunday, of the way Strahan and Tuck and them used to chase Tom Brady around and smack him around in Super Bowls, when the guys doing the chasing and the smacking were the biggest reason that Brady and Bill Belichick aren’t 6-0 in Super Bowls.

Rising Giants star Landon Collins living out his big dreams

And backing them up was Landon Collins, who is as much a star of the defensive backfield as any New York Giant in recent memory.

So the Giants have set themselves up to make a run. It is a good thing. Here is the schedule the rest of the way: Bears, Browns, Steelers, Cowboys, Lions, Eagles, Washington. The last two games are on the road. The Steelers game in a couple of weeks is on the road. You look at the season that has been played so far, by the Giants and by those teams, and tell me where the Giants will be a big underdog in any of these games.

“No. 10 always gives us a chance,” John Mara has often said of his quarterback over the years.

He does. And Beckham, out of Eli’s old high school in New Orleans, gives No. 10 a better chance. The Giants still need Victor Cruz, they do. They still don’t run the ball well enough, even though Rashad Jennings got such big yards for them at the end of the Bengals game, when you started to worry, if you were a Giants fan, that this year might start to look like last year, and the year before that. And the year before that. We all know how many close games they have kicked away since Indy.

Odell Beckham ‘doesn’t know anything’ about reported loss of ring

You still don’t check as many boxes with them as you do with the Cowboys, as complete a team as there is in the league even with a rookie quarterback. The Giants got Dak Prescott early, first game of the season. But the Giants won the game.

Is there a long way to go? A month is as long in sports as it is in politics and if you don’t believe that, look at what we thought of the Giants a month ago. Does Eli still turn it over, out of nowhere? He does. He did it last week. He still runs for his life way too often. You know he wants Cruz back, because you know how many times this season he looked for Cruz when he couldn’t find Beckham. There are other receivers.

Jerell Adams caught a touchdown pass against the Bengals, one of three that Eli threw.

But it is the defense that gives you hope. Pierre-Paul once again looks like the player he was before the Fourth of July. Finally last Sunday, Vernon looked as if he is worth the money Jerry Reese threw at him.

Collins makes plays. Steve Spagnuolo has them taking chances all over the field, and has watched his defense turn into one of the toughest outs in the league in the red zone.

The best quote from Spagnuolo about the red-zone defense was this one:

“They don’t flinch.”

There were seasons after Indy when Giants’ seasons were over in the middle of November. This time is different, the way this team might be different.

Odell Beckham and the Giants have injected some energy into MetLife Stadium this season.

Odell Beckham and the Giants have injected some energy into MetLife Stadium this season.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

This time it is as if the season is just beginning. Is this defense as good as the ones that won Super Bowls? Come on. But it could turn out to be good enough. And when the Giants were winning Super Bowls, Eli didn’t have Beckham.

They are 6-3 trying to get to 7-3. But there is hope again for Giants fans. It hasn’t been much of a sports year around here, let’s face it. The Rangers went out early and the Mets got beat by a home run in the 9th inning of a wild-card game. The Yankees were sellers instead of buyers and the Jets have turned into scrubs. The Giants aren’t all the way back, just back to feeling like the biggest game in town, at least for now. Four in a row working on five in a row. Yeah. A good thing. A real season at MetLife, at last.

Porzingis, Pence & Jets quarterbacks…

-Here is my idea for a pretty nifty triangle offense, check it out:

Throw it to one point, then to another, then throw it to Porzingis.

It’s a variation of the triangle offense that had the ball ending up in Michael’s hands, and then Kobe’s later.

If you don’t think baseball has come back in a big way, check out how worked up people got over the Cy Young Award in the American League.

Starting with Justin Verlander’s girlfriend, Kate Upton.

Ms. Upton really did dial up standing by her man to a whole new — and descriptive — level, right?

Who thought Brandon Jennings was a good idea?

-Mike Pence probably now wishes he’d gone to see “Wicked” on Friday night instead of “Hamilton.”

But Sam Stein of the Huffington Post is right:

We don’t really have to spend a whole week talking about what the actor playing Aaron Burr, Brandon Victor Dixon, said from the stage as Pence was leaving, do we?

I’m just kind of glad the Giants don’t have to play Alabama the rest of the way.

-Here is what Dwight Howard said after throwing an elbow at Cody Zeller and getting ejected in the fourth quarter of the Hawks-Hornets game on Friday:

“It wasn’t like I tried to hit him in the face. But my job is to protect my house at all costs.”

And here is what you wanted to say to Howard: Please shut up.

Your house? Really?

I’ve ordered that book “Mindfulness on the Go” that Phil Jackson gave out to the Knicks, just because I’m constantly trying to tap into my own mindfulness about Phil.

-The Jets were wrong about Mark Sanchez and, even despite the fact that Sanchez was the quarterback in two AFC Championship Games, their belief in Sanchez set them back years.

He was a No. 1 pick.

Geno was a No. 2 pick, and they were wrong about Geno, and that has set them back years.

Now we are going to find out about Bryce Petty and may or may not ever find out about Christian Hackenberg.

Maybe it’s time for the Jets to take another quarterback in the first round.

But only, you know, if they’re finally going to be right.

The last time the Jets came close to being right with a quarterback they took in the first round of the NFL draft was Ken O’Brien.

-Mike Trout is already one of the greatest baseball players of all time, at the age of 25, which makes you wonder all over again why he signed that six-year contract extension with the Angels — worth $144 million — that runs through the end of the 2020 season.

It really does feel like March Madness every single weekend in college football, doesn’t it?

Colin Kaepernick didn’t vote and Nick Saban swears he forgot it was Election Day, and that is your Civics lesson in football this November.

By the way?

It is no easier stopping Porzingis from squaring up and getting his shots than it is with Kevin Durant.

And it is always worth remembering that the kid didn’t turn 21 until this past August.

John Calipari to Don Imus the other day:

“Look, I tell kids if you’re drinking, you’re smoking, you’re chasing, you’re clubbing — you can’t come here. It’ll be a (ESPN) 30-for-30 (documentary). It’ll be on the ticker. You come here because you wanna get better. It’s a different deal.”

-Finally today: Happy Birthday to my mom, Lee.

She had a birthday this week, not a big round number, but close enough, I can tell you that without getting into trouble with her.

She has had some health problems lately, my mom has, and scared us all in the process.

That was before she reminded my Pops and my sister and her grandchildren and me just how much heart she really has.

My mom has spent so much of her life cheering on everybody else in her family.

Now she makes us cheer.

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Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News

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