Big Blue has cut a swath through the NFL. Four opposing quarterbacks have gotten crushed and fled the game with injury so far this season. (Matt Moore of the Panthers, Jay Cutler of the Bears, Drew Stanton of the Lions, and Tony Romo of the Cowboys). You can basically add Charlie Whitehurst of the Seahawks to the victims list as he was grossly humiliated and emotionally traumatized as he got ground under the heel of the Giants defense in Sunday’s 41-7 slaughter, even if he was allowed to walk off the field under his own power.
While the Giants have been blossoming into an elite power behind their fearful defense, the Cowboys have of course nosedived into negative-land. The wheels that begun spinning when the Giants put Tony Romo’s clavicle through a pepper grinder ultimately resulted in Wade Phillips losing his job amid evidence of his players quitting on the team. While it may be overstating the point to say that the Giants next take aim at ending the season for Jon Kinta and imperiling the job of new coach Jason Garrett, they certainly will be looking to feast on these Dallas fill-ins.
No reason to think that Giants will slow down in any way against the Pokes. Last week I said the “real Giants” would face the Seahawks coming off the bye week, and boy do I hope that proves true. The Giants now have that most valuable asset an NFL team could possibly have – confidence. And the Giants, to a man, seem to have the best type of confidence, the type borne out of a great distribution of pressure among multiple players. It all starts from the game-changing D, which has a host of playmakers and is so solid up the middle. The defense controls the game and clock and gives Eli Manning has had the luxury to fling the ball around and get into a groove, and not stress about interceptions too much. The Giants youthful receivers have had plenty of chances to learn from their mistakes and get stronger… and the receivers increasingly excellent performances have kept opposing defenses honest to open holes for Bradshaw and Jacobs running the ball.
Strange things can happen when a team changes its coach, and its not outside the realm of possibility that the Cowboys could raise their game dramatically to attempt to prove that it was Wade Phillips fault that they’ve been stinking up the field every week, and not their own. But seriously the Garrett/Kitna domination storyline really seems like a longshot. The much more likely scenario if the Cowboys do end up stealing a victory is that the Giants “beat themselves” with sloppy mistakes and turnovers.
Intensity rises and falls for most teams over the course of the season and its up to Tom Coughlin to make sure that there isn’t the start of a fall on Sunday. If ol’ Tom has his troops ready it’ll be no contest, and the Cowboys can only hope for the “moral victory” of a somewhat close score.
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Written by Mark Reichman