New York Giants Notes: Offensive Line Draws Praise

Eli Manning celebrates a touchdown with Kevin Boothe, one of the substitute linemen who has been forced into action for the Giants due to injuries.. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Good morning, New York Giants fans! Here are some of the stories floating around the Inter-Google this morning as our Giants prepare for Sunday's key game against the Washington Redskins.

I know that what I'm about to do is probably the kiss of death for this streak, but we have to begin with the fact that Giants' quarterback Eli Manning has been sacked a league-low 12 times this season. In fact, Eli has not gone down in any of the Giants last four games. That is outstanding under any circumstances, but absolutely amazing considering the Giants are down to their third choice at center, left guard and left tackle.

Manning gave props on Wednesday to the makeshift group that protects him.

"They've done a good job. A lot of it has been if we can run the ball - we haven't had a whole lot of third-and-long situations where you have to hold it until receivers get open," Manning said. "It's a lot of things that contribute to that, but they've done a good job of understanding what we're doing, how we're going to block things, picking up stunts and tendencies of the defense. Hopefully we continue to do that."

Coach Tom Coughlin put the offensive line's work in perspective as it seems only he can.

"It has allowed us to continue to function, let's put it that way," Coughlin said when asked about Manning not getting sacked while throwing 137 passes the last four games. "And I think that the guys have done a really good job of that and Eli has done a good job - he has been able to step up and maneuver and get rid of the ball quickly. He's done any number of things to help that as well."

"We just go out there and play," said Rich Seubert, who has moved from guard to center. "Coach is calling some good plays and Eli's calling the right protections out, and we're just picking guys up right now. But it's not just the O-line. It's the running backs, it's the tight ends, it's whoever is blocking. So that's our goal every week. That's our goal every pass play is to make sure nobody is around Eli, and that's our job."

We will have to see if the line can continue to play well. The Giants have figured out how to pass protect, decimated line or not. Remember, though, it wasn't that long ago we were wondering if this rebuilt line could open any holes for the running game.

All of that quality pass protection has afforded Manning to continue to display what Redskins corrnerback DeAngelo Hall considers to be a playmaker's mentality.

"As a corner, you gotta love it, you gotta love playing against a guy like that," said Hall, the Redskins' defensive co-captain. "He does throw it up there and give you a chance to make a play.

"But he's doing what any good quarterback does. He throws it up there and lets his receivers make a play on ya. That's why he has big plays. He has some turnovers, too. But he definitely has a lot of big plays."

The Giants' leading receiver, Hakeem Nicks, aims to begin practicing next week. He promises that when he gets back to action he won't be thinking about the Compartment Syndrome that has him sidelined.

"When I hit the field, I am not going to think about it anymore," he said. "It is what it is. It’s in the past. I don't think it will really bother me because I don’t feel it that much walking around now. It’s just the fact that they want the scar to heal. I think I’ll be fine. I just look forward to getting back out there."

NFL predictions for final five weeks of the season - Don Banks - SI.com
The teams ahead of the 7-4 Giants at the moment are the Falcons (9-2), Bears (8-3), Saints (8-3), and Eagles (7-4). New York holds down the No. 6 slot in the NFC, ahead of Tampa Bay (7-4) and Green Bay (7-4). But I don't like New York's chances of finishing ahead of the Packers, even though Green Bay has the tougher remaining schedule in terms of opponent winning percentage (.537 to .509).

The Giants struggled to beat Jacksonville at home on Sunday, needing 15 points in the fourth quarter to squeak out a 24-20 season-saving win. But their defense has been getting run on of late (the Jaguars rushed for 207 yards) and New York's offense has been turnover-prone and sluggish at times. Then there's this fact: Since head coach Tom Coughlin's arrival in 2004, the Giants have always been a shaky second-half team, winning fewer games in the back half of its schedule than the first half each year.

New York at least should have the ability to control its own fate. The Giants play at home against Philadelphia in Week 15, and at Green Bay in Week 16. The Eagles beat New York in Week 11, and the Packers are the team New York must hold off to protect its current No. 6 playoff seeding.

I looked at the NFC playoff picture on Wednesday. It isn't an easy road, and as I have said repeatedly a couple of good football teams are going home without playoff berths. But, let's just keep the faith and see what happens. A win this weekend against Washington would push the Giants to 8-4, and you would have to feel good about that.

Heading into the Giants game, the Redskins are running the ball - and going nowhere
The Redskins are in the midst of one of their worst running seasons in franchise history. Averaging barely 90 yards a game, they're on pace to post their worst rushing season since 1994 and the second worst in the past 40 years.

Let's hope the Giants can keep it that way. If they can that means they will be able to tee off on Donovan McNabb, and you know we would love to see that.

Here is a great look at Shawn Andrews, courtesy of a video series being run on a weekly basis by NFL.com.

Finally, Matt Bowen of the National Football Post is a former NFL player and one of the most informative writers out there in terms of explaining the game and its nuances. He offers up a great look at the Cover 2 defense through the eyes of a safety, and it's appropriate for Giants fans since it's a defense Perry Fewell does utilize.

SI.com has put together a fun list of the Top 10 Dynasties That Never Happened. The 1956-63 Giants are pretty high on the list.

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