Sunday, December 7, 2008
Giants Clinch NFC East Despite Loss
The New York Giants are the NFC East Champions despite losing their second game of the season on Sunday. The Giants did not look sharp in a 20-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at home. The cold weather and swirling winds as well as the loss of Plaxico Burress helped lead the Giants to a loss. Brandon Jacobs and Aaron Ross injured themselves during the game and has to be pulled.
The difference in this game was only 6 points and early on in the game Plaxico's replacement, Domenik Hixon, dropped a wide open pass in the middle of the field which would have eventually resulted in an easy TD. Could that play have been the reason the Giants lost by 6 instead of won by 1? Possibly. The Giants even had 2 blocked field goals in the game, one of which was returned for a TD, and they still lost.
The Eagles blocked a Giants FG as well. It is quite rare to see blocked FG's and to see 3 in one game is quite amazing. That of course is irrelevant to everything.
Despite the Giants loss, they clinched the NFC East anyway with the help of the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys loss to the Steelers put the Giants through. A late Tony Romo interception which was returned for a TD put the game away.
Do I think the Giants can run the table without Burress? As long as the weather is good. Good weather = good play. Bad weather = bad play. This is why the Giants getting home field was not necessarily a good thing.
The Giants certainly have the weapons though. Although Burress is a big presence on the field and almost always draws double coverage, the Giants have plenty of other ways the screw with the minds of different defense's. Manning can throw to Domenik Hixon, Amani Toomer, Steve Smith, Sinorice Moss, Mario Manningham, Kevin Boss, Michael Mathews, Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Madison Hedgecock. All of these players have shown they know how to catch a football and can make clutch plays when called upon.
If Eli can find at least 8 of those 11 players at least 3 or 4 times early on, the defense will not know who to cover. That mixed with run plays and play action can help the Giants run the table.
Miscues like all the dropped passes and some penalties they had today during the Eagles game will not help them. The Giants even got away with some calls.
Predcitions moving forward:
Giants 24 Dallas 21
Carolina 13 Giants 14
Giants 30 Minnesota 31
The Giants will make it to the NFC Championship game. What happens from there? Watch FOX
Mark Elliot Wishnia
SportsTalkNY Blog Team