If you thought the 14 point home-favorite Giants could only beat themselves Sunday, then they just delivered a self-smackdown, a boomerang beatdown, a masochistic monstrosity of confidence-deflating football.
Suddenly, the high flying Giants have to pick themselves up off the carpet and rebuild their self esteem from scratch. Their dominant D has been a wellspring of optimism all season long, with a 15-points-allowed per-game average over the five game winning streak that ended Sunday. Its the D that has keyed success for the whole team, which is why nothing could be more disastrous than this poor showing. Where is the Giants strength to win going to come from now? Or perhaps a better question is how can a Giants D that couldn’t control the mighty Jon Kitna and the Dallas offense possibly contain the revitalized Michael Vick this coming Sunday night?
Yes, the Giants chose the worst possible time to lay this stinker on their fans, coming into the homestretch of the season with a schedule weighted with late season divisional opponents. And now the injuries are slowly beginning to mount…David Diehl, Shawn Andrews and Shaun O’Hara are all hurt and look like they could be missing from the offensive line this week. And receiver Steve Smith likely wont play, which further compromises the passing game.
The time has come for the “Book of Eli” to be written. Without his normal protection, without his full range of targets, and possibly without a commanding defense to set the tone for the game, its up to Eli Manning to step up and sprinkle a little magic on the field Sunday. Eli’s passing game is a variable with a wide range of outcomes, but if he nails some big gains and some important first downs in key spots, then maybe the ball control clock-crunching strategy can work again as a compliment.
Right from the outset Sunday the Giants played as if they were protecting one of their big leads from one of the previous weeks. Conservative, boring football which is supposed to be effective, but suddenly isn’t when the defense isn’t keeping up their end of the bargain. The best Giant fans can hope for in this teardown of confidence is a less complacent strategy for winning the game, a hungrier, more ruthless, more desperate approach as opposed to the way they coasted through the Dallas loss.
About the Author
Written by Mark Reichman