When I was first informed that the Giants were favored by two touchdowns against the Cowboys, I thought to myself, "man should I bet on Dallas." I have been a Giants fan since birth, so it's not like my loyalties were to Dallas, but it seems every time the Giants are counted out, they somehow win, but when they are supposed to lose, games like last Sunday happen. With NYG having a great 6-2 record while winning convincingly each week, and the Cowboys having their 1-7 record and a new head coach, any normal sports fan would think the Giants would win in a landslide, but they didn't. So what happened? Maybe they got too cocky and didn't prepare as hard, or maybe the Cowboys found themselves. Going into the game deeper, it shows that New York was just outplayed.
Both teams have suffered tons of injuries this season especially Dallas losing star-quarterback Tony Romo at the hands of the tough Giants defense, but New York is hurting also. For starters, slot receiver Steve Smith, didn't play and is getting an MRI to see how bad his torn pectoral muscle is. Fullback Madison Hedgecock has also been injured forcing third-string tight end Bear Pascoe to fill in for the team's only fullback. To add to their injury woes, backup wide receiver Ramses Barden (when drafted he was referred to as the next Plaxico Burress...if you believed that, also believe that I am starring in a movie with the Rock coming out in a couple weeks) also went down with injury and according to a blog on SBnation.com, he may be out for the rest of the year. Eli Manning may have come a long way since his rookie year but he needs some weapons to throw to as well as a healthier offensive line if he plans on having more than a nanosecond to throw the ball.
The Turnovers and Penalties
How is a team supposed to win if drives are halted by turnovers all the time? Ahmad Bradshaw has the same amount of fumbles as he does touchdowns and although he didn't lose his fumble this week, it's a problem similar to Tiki Barber's early playing days. Manning threw two interceptions also with one being returned for a touchdown. I will agree with Joe Buck (for once) that it wasn't all Eli's fault due to the fact Nicks stopped his route in his tracks on a slant causing the ball to be intercepted. Even with a receiver sharing the blame (as will be the case for most Manning interceptions), Manning still shouldn't have thrown that ball and rather than get even three points on that drive, Dallas gained seven points instead. When the Giants finally gained momentum, I thought there was a great chance they could come back and win. My thoughts were backed up even more when Manning threw a big touchdown to Hakeem Nicks in the fourth quarter. The only problem was there was a holding call on the play taking points off the board. What resulted in the next play was hard to watch. Manning snapped the ball and center Rich Seubert sailed the ball passed Manning and about 10 yards back resulting in a Dallas recovery. These mistakes are the reason why the Giants couldn't beat a weak Dallas team. They didn't display any dominance as they had in other weeks and now are giving Dallas fans something to cheer while taking away their lead in the division if the Eagles win tonight.
The Giants have a much better shot at making the playoffs this year than I could have ever imagined. I came into this year thinking they would finish about third in the NFC East but like they did in the year they won the Super Bowl they are proving me wrong. I think as long as Coach Coughlin gets through to these players as he has all year, the Giants are looking great for a bid to return to the Super Bowl this year given a much weaker NFC than expected. The Packers don't have a running game, the Vikings are all but out of the Playoffs and the Saints are injured and are not playing like a Super Bowl calibur team. How far will the Giants go?