Fear the Giants. That’s a serious warning for Super Bowl contenders.
That’s not a holiday present served with some eggnog for Big Blue Nation. That’s reality.
The Giants have a dominating defense front to back capable of short circuiting the most high-powered offenses and they have Odell Beckham, who not only is always the best player on the field, but comes equipped with Eli Manning, who can get him the ball in the tightest windows or put it out there for one-handed catches with OBJ’s right or left hand.
All of a sudden, the Giants are a team nobody is going to want to play in January — or even the first Sunday in February.
When you reach Christmas week with 10 victories with a good chance to get to 12 by New Year’s Day, it’s time to go for the whole thing. The Giants are not playing with house money because they have a rookie head coach or the $200 million spent in the defensive makeover has worked much quicker than even the Giants could have imagined.
The Giants must take advantage of where they are right now. There is no guarantee they will be back next year. Remember, they won the Super Bowl in 2011 and have missed the playoffs the last four years.
Are the Giants a flawed team?
They are averaging fewer than 20 points per game and the field often looks 200 yards long.
Are the Giants the only flawed team looking to secure extra hotel space in Houston leading up to Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5?
Not even close.
Dak Prescott gets sacked by Romeo Okwara.
There is not one dominant team.
Not the Cowboys, whom the Giants have handed their only two losses. Not the Patriots, whose coach has a habit of dumping his best defensive players for no return (Chandler Jones, Jamie Collins), acts like he really believes he’s a genius (don’t get me started on his dumb game management decisions) but is regularly saved by hanging desperately onto the coattails of Tom Brady, the greatest QB in NFL history. The Raiders are fun, but not good enough yet to win in Foxboro in the playoffs. KC’s Andy Reid is a miserable playoff coach. The Steelers and Ravens are incomplete teams.
This is not a prediction the Giants will make it to the Super Bowl. It’s more: Why not the Giants?
They first have to clinch a playoff spot, which will happen Thursday night in Philly if they beat the Eagles. Philly is 5-9 after starting 3-0. The Eagles have lost their last five games.
Imagine how fun it will be for the Giants to clinch at The Linc and then hop on the team bus as it gets egged on the way out of the parking lot before hitting the Jersey Turnpike.
The Giants are still in the NFC East race, although it will take a collapse by the Cowboys to avoid Big Blue taking the long route to Houston. The Cowboys (12-2) maintained their two-game lead over the Giants by matching their victory over the Lions on Sunday afternoon by defeating the Bucs on Sunday night. The Giants and ‘Boys beat the two hottest teams — the Lions and Bucs each had a five-game winning streak snapped.
The Cowboys’ magic number to win the division is just one — one Dallas victory or one Giants loss. But if Dallas losses at home to the Lions and at Philly and the Giants win in Philly and in Washington, then they are tied at 12-4 and the Giants win the tie-breaker based on the season sweep.
But getting stuck in the wild-card round and needing to win three playoff games to get to the Super Bowl, has not been a problem for Manning.
In 2007, the Giants had to play the extra game on the road and beat the Bucs before defeating the No. 1 seed Cowboys and No. 2 seed Packers on the road. In 2011, the Giants won the NFC East and beat the Falcons at home and then the No. 1 seed Packers and No. 2 seed 49ers on the road.
Each time, they went on to beat Belichick and Brady in the Super Bowl.
((Evan Pinkus via AP)/AP)
Unless the Cowboys fall apart, the Giants are going to have to win three road playoff games to get to the Super Bowl. The oddity in Manning’s career is other than the 8-0 record in the two Super Bowl years, he has not won a playoff game. He is 0-3. The 2007 team was 10-6 and tied for the worst regular season record ever for a Super Bowl champ. The 2011 team was 9-7 and broke the record.
That was in the Tom Coughlin era. Ben McAdoo’s offense was better when he was the Giants offensive coordinator the last two years, but he has created a new culture in the locker room, the players talk all the time about how they are a family and he relates better to the players, which you would expect. He is 39 years old. Coughlin is 70.
“Coach McAdoo has done a great job,” Giants co-owner Steve Tisch told the Daily News. “His connection with the players is fantastic. He has total respect in the locker room. We’ve seen him make great calls on fourth and 3, fourth and 4. You hold your breath. When they move those chains, it’s a nice time to exhale.”
Who will the Giants have to beat to get to Houston?
Here’s my prediction on The Flawed Five:
— Cowboys: Dak Prescott completed an incredible 32-of-36 and Ezekiel Elliott ran for a career-high 159 yards and jumped in one Salvation Army cup against the Bucs. The rookies are really good. But no rookie QB has ever taken his team to the Super Bowl. Jason Garrett has two playoff victories but never been past the divisional round.
— Seahawks: The 12s make it tough on visiting teams and the ‘Hawks are a playoff-tested team. But how about their offense? They’ve been held to six, five and three points in games this season. If the Giants get outside contain on Russell Wilson, they can beat him.
— Lions: The Giants just held them to two field goals. But Detroit is a different team indoors and unless the Giants win the NFC East, they would have to play them at Ford Field. Detroit has not won a playoff game since 1991.
— Falcons: Matt Ryan is having a career year, but is 1-4 in the playoffs and lost the NFC title game at home in 2012 as the No. 1 seed. Falcons receiver Julio Jones missed the last two games with a toe sprain. Giants corner Jackrabbit Jenkins went out Sunday with a back injury. If the Giants and Falcons meet in the playoffs and both these guys are healthy, it should be quite a show. Why not the Giants? They’ve won eight out of nine and they’re rolling.
— Packers: They are the scariest team for the Giants even though Manning beat Brett Favre in the playoffs at Lambeau in 2007 and then beat Aaron Rodgers there in the playoffs in 2011. The Giants lost at Lambeau in the fifth game this season. After a mid-season lull, Rodgers is hot again and he’s dangerous.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News