Will The Real Giants Please Stand Up

When the Giants are going right, the opposing quarterback – not Eli Manning – is the guy facing the big pass rush.

Since their Thanksgiving Day debacle in Denver, the New York Giants have had 10 days to figure things out; 10 days to try and save their season.

The Giants, pre-season picks to win the Super Bowl in some circles, showed why they are the NFL’s most overrated team in that  26-6 drubbing by the Broncos. .

They looked like turkeys against the Broncos. It was their fifth loss in six games following a 5-0 start.

Even during their bad times, the Giants have almost always played their trademark smashmouth football style. Put pressure on the quarterback and stop the running game on defense. Maintain ball control with a strong running attack on offense.

Not lately. These Giants have been imposters in blue.

“Well to be honest with you, I don’t even know what is going on.” defensive end Osi Umenyiora, left, said earlier this week. That was before Tom Coughlin decided to bench both Osi and Fred Robbins — at least in certain situations — when the Giants play their divisional rival, the Dallas Cowboys, on Sunday.

The Forgiving NFL
The National Football League can be very forgiving. In spite of their prolonged slide, the Giants have a chance to turn their season around against their hated rivals.

A win over the Cowboys would put the Giants just a game behind Dallas in the NFC East. And the Giants would own the tiebreaker over the Cowboys by virtue of a 33-31 win that spoiled the opener of Cowboys Stadium.

Following the Dallas game, the Giants host another divisional rival and playoff contender, the Philadelphia Eagles.

The G-Men wrap up their season with road games at Washington and Minnesota, sandwiched around a home tilt with Carolina.

Amazingly, if they can figure things out in time, the Giants could still make a playoff run. They have the talent — less than two years ago they won the Super Bowl, and last year they started out 11-1 before losing four of their last five games, including a home playoff loss to the Eagles.

“We can deal with being 6-5,” said quarterback Eli Manning. “We’ve got to play better football. That’s our concern. That’s what we go to worry about. We’ve got five games left. Let’s see what we can do with those five games.”

So which Giants team will show up against the Cowboys — the Super Bowl contender or the club that’ has lost nine times in its last 16 games?


Top 10: The Best of the SportsLifer

1. Woodstock: Better Late Than Never

“The thing the sixties did was show us the possibilities and the responsibility that we all had. It wasn’t the answer. It just gave us a glimpse of the possibility.”

– John Lennon

Well, I finally made it to Woodstock, 39 years too late.

2. Empty Seats at Yankee Stadium

As the Yankees get set to open their final season in the original (albeit renovated) Yankee Stadium, look ahead to what I predict will be the toughest ticket in New York sports history — Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium in 2009.

Yankee tickets weren’t always tough tickets. Even during the great championship runs and dynasties, an SRO crowd in the Bronx was a novelty, not a daily occurrence.

3. NFC East Is NFL’s Beast
Historically, what’s the best division in the NFL?  If you use Super Bowl titles as the ultimate criteria, then it’s the NFC East, hands down.

4. Running Backs Once Ruled at Syracuse

Just like USC is known for producing tailbacks and Penn State linebackers, Syracuse University was once a football factory for running backs.

5. Celtics-Lakers Would Be Historic NBA Final

They’re the Lennon and McCartney of basketball, the Rogers and Astaire of hoops, the Batman and Robin of the hardwood.

6. All-Star Game: The Price Ain’t Right
The last time the All-Star game was held at Yankee Stadium in 1977, tickets were priced $10-15 for box and reserved seats. That’s a far cry from the $150-725 price range for the July 15 midsummer classic, and roughly two-three times the cost of tickets for last year’s game at San Francisco.

7. The Lifeline That Is Football

On a November afternoon in 1963, five days before President John F. Kennedy is assassinated, a 12-year old with this mother, father and cousin sees Y.A. Tittle and the Giants pound the 49ers in Yankee Stadium.

 

8. The Best of Yankee Stadium: Post-Season

As Yankee Stadium closes its doors, this is the final of a three-part retrospective on the moments that shaped Yankee Stadium, New York and the world of sports.

9. Top Ten All-Time Quarterback List

1. Johnny Unitas (Colts, Chargers, 1956-73)
A three-time champ with Baltimore, nine times an All-Pro, seventh all-time with 290 touchdown passes. Holds the NFL equivalent of Joe Dimaggio’s streak, 47 straight games with a TD pass.

10. Bidding Adieu to The House That Ruth Built

It’s been compared to the Colosseum, been called The House That Ruth Built.

Mel Allen, the late Yankee broadcaster, once said, “St. Patrick’s is the Yankee Stadium of cathedrals.”


NFC East Is NFL’s Beast

Historically, what’s the best division in the NFL?  If you use Super Bowl titles as the ultimate criteria, then it’s the NFC East, hands down.

NFC East teams have won 11 of the 42 Super Bowl championships; no other division in the NFL has won more than six.

Here are the standings by division:

NFC East — 11 (Cowboys 5, Giants 3, Redskins 3)
NFC West — 6 (49ers 5, Rams)
AFC East — 6 (Patriots 3, Dolphins 2, Jets)
AFC North — 6 (Steelers 5, Ravens)
AFC West — 6 (Raiders 3, Broncos 2, Chiefs)
NFC North — 4 (Packers 3, Bears)
AFC South–  2 (Colts 2)
NFC South — 1 (Bucs)

Three teams — Cowboys, Steelers and 49ers — have won five Super Bowls apiece.

Surprisingly, in a world of parity, 15 teams, nearly half of the NFL’s 32, have yet to win a Super Bowl.

In fact six teams — Texans, Jaguars, Browns, Saints, Lions and Cardinals — have never even made it to Super Sunday.