Of course we’ve been down on the Giants recently, and rightly so. A so-called Super Bowl contender cannot afford to lose four games in a row. Actually that’s not the case. Not at all. In the topsy-turvy NFL world where anybody can come out of the parity-ridden NFC, all bets are off. These Giants, fresh on a meager one-game winning streak, have just as good a shot as anybody.
Yes, we’re serious here. Big Blue is starting to get most of its injured players back and starting to better resemble the club that began the year 6-2. Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Bears? Surely not many in the lesser conference. The Seahawks and Saints? Formidable foes but hardly unbeatable. The scariest team the Giants need to worry about right now is the Cowboys – and that’s because they entered their Sunday night matchup with New Orleans on some kind of roll. Yet the Giants already beat the Boys once and came awful close in their disappointing Dec. 3 Dallas defeat.
The four-game losing streak? That’s a thing of the past. The Giants are looking forward – with the same thought process they started the season with: why not us?
Brandon Short was asked after the game if the Giants were relieved to have broken the skid. “No, not relieved, because that would imply that we were afraid or rattled,” he answered. “We weren’t.”
“We won the game,” Tom Coughlin added. “I don’t have any relief. I’m happy for our players.”
No one was happier than Short, who returned to haunt his former team for the second time in less than a year. Last year, Short was a member of the Carolina defense that blanked Big Blue in the playoffs.
“It feels really good to come back down here and get this one,” he smiled. “It feels like there’s a monkey off our back.”
Antonio Pierce, ever the team spokesman, was happy for another reason.
“It’s good,” he said. “It keeps you all off our backs for a week, hopefully, and we can move forward and talk about some positive things.”
“It puts us one step closer to the playoffs,” R.W. McQuarters said. “Winning on the road says a lot about your team. A win streak starts with one win. We never lost sight of how good we are.”
McQuarters has been on some pretty bad teams in his career. That’s why he knew that a .500 club was still very much alive for the ultimate prize.
“At 13 weeks into the season, I’ve been 2-10 and 3-9,” he said. “So to be 6-6 I knew we still have opportunities.”
Now at 7-6, the Giants are probably only one win over Philadelphia away from all but officially clinching one of the NFC’s two wild card spots. The Giants know they control their own destiny as the season’s final month unfolds.
“It’s do or die right now,” Pierce said. “We’re trying to fight to keep our playoff hopes alive. Keep our own destiny in front of us. The only way to do that is to control it yourself.”
With three weeks to go, it’s all up to the Giants.
“We definitely needed this,” wise-beyond-his-years rookie Kevin Dockery said. “It was a tough November. But teams that win in December play in January.”
“December is the most important month in football and whoever excels and gets better is the team with the advantage,” Jeremy Shockey said. “Let’s build on this, go watch some films, fix some mistakes and get ready for next week.”
Pierce echoed the team’s rallying cry as they prepared to face Carolina.
“We’ve got four playoff games to get us to the playoffs,” Pierce said. “We’re 1-0 right now. We’ve got a tough challenge with Philly. They are playing well and they’ve got a tough defense. They are very dangerous.”
Now the hated Eagles come into town for what Short described as “this week’s game of the century.” A win, for all intents and purposes, would pretty much guarantee the Giants a postseason spot – and a legitimate chance to make a run at this crazy thing.
Good for DT
There aren’t many players easier to root for in the entire Giants locker room than David Tyree. That’s why it was very nice to see him contribute with a couple catches and the Giants’ final touchdown.
“I’m feeling good,” Tyree said afterward. “I know I can go in there and compete and take advantage of my opportunities.”
Tyree’s first play was enormous – a 12-yard catch to convert a fourth-and-10. Tyree said that the coaching staff was rewarded for its confidence.
“That’s sending a message,” he said. “We’re going for it. We have the players to get things done.”
His next play was just as big, a three-yard TD grab in the back of the end zone that gave New York its biggest cushion.
“I knew the play had to work,” Tyree said. “It was a quick pop pass and they bit the cheese (on Manning’s play-fake). It worked perfectly. That’s the way we like it.”
“It was just a little play-action and Tyree did a good job of coming in,” Manning said.
Besides sharing the same birthday (January 3), Manning and Tyree appear to have an on-field connection. The Giants signal-caller seems very comfortable seeking out Tyree when he’s on the field.
“I think me and Eli have a little thing going,” Tyree said. “Even going back to the Dallas game during his rookie year (when Tyree had seven catches for 71 yards and his first career TD, a 15-yarder). He knows I’m a guy he can trust. We have a trust factor.”
It’s nice to see good things happen to good people.