There is no "happy hump day" notebook this week, folks. And that's because of a few things. One, because we were supposed to beat the Redskins this past Sunday, despite all of the injuries. Two, because the Giants are clinging to the sixth seed in the playoff race, and these next four games are just about all must-win, no matter what every other team does. Three, because the opponent Sunday is an Eli Manning nemesis, the Minnesota Vikings, once again on the road. (By the way, who makes the schedule, and how is it the Vikings haven't been to the Meadowlands since 2005 but this will be our fourth straight trip to the Dome?)--update, Landeta correctly pointed out that the 2007 debacle was at Giants Stadium. More coffee awaits me...and my apologies for the miscue.
Seriously, it's time for the Giants to get their game face on early in the week this week. The Vikings do not really have a playoff pulse, but they have a new coach who has inspired them the way that Jason Garrett inspired the Cowboys. And it doesn't matter if it's Brett Favre or Tarvaris Jackson--each is capable of heaving it up there to Sidney Rice. Heck, I could heave it up there to Sidney and he'd catch it. With that, let's see what's going on around the Web.
Eli Manning is to the Vikings what the Twins are to the Yankees. The Giants' QB is 0-4 as a starter against the Vikings. And he's been a big reason they haven't won. He's completed just 51.8 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and 10 interceptions, four of which were returned for touchdowns. He also has lost a fumble, so that's 11 turnovers in four games. Even the year Manning's Giants won the Super Bowl, he was atrocious in a 41-17 loss to the Vikings. He threw four picks that day, including three that were returned for touchdowns. Two of Manning's games against the Vikings have resulted in passer ratings in the 30s (33.8 and 39.5).
Most of those horrid stats stem from that 2007 game. Lucky for us we can look back fondly on that based on what happened later. Well, sort of fondly....it still makes me nervous. Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News also touches on the subject of the Giants' struggles in Minny lately.
New York Giants may talk about facing Tarvaris Jackson, but everyone knows Brett Favre will suit up
Tom Coughlin and his coordinators will go through the necessary charade this week, pretending that Brett Favre might not start against the Giants in Minnesota on Sunday, that maybe it will be Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback inside the dome. But really we all know the deal, or at least have a very good idea how this will play out. Favre almost certainly will be on the field again for the first Viking snap, because nobody will stand up to the aging fellow and tell him finally to sit down with his sprained sternoclavicular joint, his fractured ankle, his misdirected missiles, his whole messy tale.
If Favre was in a wheelchair, then maybe, because they'd need an extra man out of the 11 allowed on the field. But if he can limp or crawl under his own power, he'll be the starter. And don't rule Favre out for 2011 either--as beat up as he seems, come August Favre decides to play just like the sun always rises.
Giants' David Diehl: 'I'm playing this weekend' against the Vikings | NJ.com
During his weekly interview with ESPN Radio today, David Diehl became the subject of a bit of ribbing by host (and my SNY colleague) Brandon Tierney, who reminded Diehl the Giants have been running the ball well without him in the lineup. Diehl went along with the joke, though one could almost hear his pride bubbling up inside once again, especially since he’s been itching to get back in the lineup after missing the last four games with hip and hamstring injuries. "That’s fine, that’s fine," Diehl said in response to Tierney’s joke. "I think over the last eight years that I’ve been here we’ve won a lot of games with me playing. So I’m ready to go, I’m feeling great. I’m just excited to be able to go out there, help my football team in this stretch and win football games."
I don't know about you guys, but Diehl coming back and playing left tackle makes me worry. The Giants have not allowed a sack in five straight games, and now they go up against Jared Allen and Ray Edwards.
Grand Rapids, MI | wzzm13.com | Sports - NFC East: Another fine mess being made in Washington
Haynesworth, by the way, was a healthy scratch for the game as apparent punishment for sitting out Friday's practice session and reportedly arriving late to a meeting earlier in the day. The highly-paid two-time All-Pro also won't be suiting up for the Redskins any time soon, with the organization suspending him for the final four contests of the regular season for what was termed "conduct detrimental to the team" on Tuesday. The move came one day after Comcast Sports Net Washington broke a story stating Haynesworth was hung over on Friday morning after staying out late the previous night, and marked the latest sordid episode in a long-running feud between the underachieving lineman and Shanahan that's been simmering since offseason training activities.
This article is interesting not because it summarizes what's going on in the NFC East, but because of how bad the situation continues to be with Albert Haynesworth in Washington. There is no way that dude plays for the 'Skins again, and hopefully he'll get traded back to the AFC South so the Giants can avoid him for four more years.
Paul Domowitch: Eagles need to shore up red-zone defense | Philadelphia Daily News | 12/08/2010
THE EAGLES won another football game Thursday night, even as their defense lost three more red-zone battles. If you're counting, and both Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott most certainly are, the Eagles have given up 14 red-zone touchdowns in 17 challenges over the last five games. For the season, they have allowed 26 in 33 opponent trips inside the 20, which is a league-worst 78.8 failure rate.
I'm not looking ahead, I promise. I am just trying to bring you news from around the NFC East, and I was pleasantly surprised to read that this morning. Now let's hope the Cowboys can take advantage of that on Sunday (it isn't easy to say that, but....)
New York Giants wide receiver Derek Hagan a season savior - trentonian.com
A month ago Derek Hagan was an unemployed ex-Giant wondering if his NFL career was over before it ever got started. Today he is being hailed as one of the season-savers for a Giants offense that despite a rash of injuries that have put five starters and two key backups on the sideline with injuries have helped keep the G-Men in the playoff chase and tied for the NFC East lead heading into the final four games.
I'm with Ed on this--I have no idea how this guy was cut in camp. For that matter, how did no one else pick him up?
By the way, I have Adrian Peterson on my fantasy team. I have clinched a playoff spot already, so I hope he either doesn't play Sunday (come on man, doesn't your ankle really hurt?) or that the G-men shut him down. Truth be told, I would hope they shut him down even if I was in the fantasy championship, because rooting for the Giants trumps everything. Are you with me?
Oh, and here's a good reason to pause the game Sunday every time you make a pitstop or a trip to the fridge for a cold one. You don't want to miss the Vikings' cheerleader shots coming back from commercial breaks.
Enjoy your Wednesday, everyone ... just like last week, I'm starting to get fired up for Sunday. Bring on those pesky purple dudes!