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New York Giants Notes: Still Hung Over Edition

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GREEN BAY WI - DECEMBER 26:  Coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants on the sidelines against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 26 2010 in Green Bay Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY WI - DECEMBER 26: Coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants on the sidelines against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 26 2010 in Green Bay Wisconsin. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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No, I'm not referring to myself with that title. I'm referring to the New York Giants, who clearly let last week's meltdown against the Eagles carry over to Sunday's critical game against the Packers. It was only a must-win for Green Bay, as somehow the Giants still have a shot to get to the playoffs. But in the span of five quarters, they have gone from a potential 1- or 2-seed to the middle of the NFC (and the outside looking in). Like all of you, I'm disgusted and disappointed. I thought we had a real shot to win this game, but once again all three phases, as well as the coaching staff, let us down. Here is some of what's being said....

Giants spending long night in Wisconsin after rout -
The Green Bay Packers set up a season finale with a playoff berth on the line. The New York Giants were 800 miles away from home with a postseason shot nearly as long. Aaron Rodgers returned from a concussion to throw for 404 yards and four touchdowns and the Packers routed the Giants 45-17 on Sunday while a blizzard blanketed New York, forcing them to spend the night in Wisconsin. "Depressing. It would've been a lot easier with a win. Nothing we can do about it though," Giants tight end Kevin Boss said. "(Usually) you go home to your family and kind of lick your wounds, but you're stuck here by yourself and it's not going to be the greatest time."

Giants' leaders, Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning, currently presiding over another late-season collapse
But they have become the Same Old Giants, putting together another late-season collapse that has been the constant theme of the Coughlin era except for that glorious Super Bowl run of 2007. Now, as much as the Giants don't want to fire Coughlin, Sunday's humiliating 45-17 loss to the Packers, when a victory would have clinched a wild-card spot, following last week's collapse against the Eagles, when a victory would have put them in great position to win the NFC East, has to make co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch question whether this team no longer responds to him. Is Bill Cowher now on their speed dial? Where was the pride? Where was this team's heart?

It's hard to argue with that, though the talk of Cowher has been and will continue to be a little overblown. I'm sure even Cowher himself is tired of hearing about it. And as difficult as it is right now, maybe we should see what happens next week before speculating on TC's fate and who might replace him.

The Giants' season is slipping away | New York Daily News
And now they only have one way into the playoffs - - through the back door. To get there, the Giants must beat the Washington Redskins in Washington on Sunday. And then they need one of the following two things to happen: 1. The Chicago Bears beat the Packers on Sunday. OR 2.The New Orleans Saints lose at Atlanta on Monday night AND the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Saints next Sunday. If that doesn’t happen, then this season will end like last year did, and the season before that - - in a disappointing, stunning, demoralizing collapse. And if that happens? All bets are off on changes to the front office, coaching staff or personnel. Because if co-owner John Mara thought last year’s 8-8 season "felt a lot more like 2-14 to me," imagine how he’ll feel if this year’s season ends with a collapse, too.

Well, yeah. If we're upset, can you imagine how upset Mara is right now?

Politi: Is Giants coach Tom Coughlin out of answers? |
So if Tom Coughlin spent 2½ hours alone in a dark room after the Giants’ epic collapse last week, what level of solitude will he seek after this one? A monastery in Tibet? A cave in Afghanistan? A snow bank in North Jersey? Coughlin’s cheeks were still rosy a few minutes after the Packers demolished his team, 45-17, yesterday, but the head coach seemed drained of life in his postgame news conference. He lacked the fire and determination he has shown after other defeats. He looked like a man who was out of answers. And, maybe soon, a man out of a job. If the collapse continues next week in Washington, the Giants must make a change at the top. Coughlin has that Super Bowl on his résumé, one of the great runs in NFL history, and nobody can take that away. But he’ll have far more seasons like this, when you’re looking at the finish and wondering the same thing: How the heck did that happen again?

You didn't really expect glowing reviews of the Giants after Sunday's defeat, did you? Well, on the flip side, the Packers deserved to win. They came prepared to play, probably knew that the Giants were mentally crushed after that loss to Philly, and they took advantage in all aspects.....

Green Bay Packers news | Green Bay Packers can go far in playoffs if they match Sunday's performance | Green Bay Press-Gazette
All week long members of the Green Bay Packers offensive line heard about the mighty New York Giants and their ferocious defense. The Giants were second in the league in sacks. The Giants had knocked five quarterbacks out of commission this season. The Giants were capable of dominating in the trenches. The Giants boasted defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, who chewed up and spit out opponents for lunch. It was all about the Giants, and the accolades about their defensive line never stopped. Outwardly, the Packers’ offensive linemen said nothing. Inwardly, they were highly motivated. "Those guys were ready to play," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. "They were sick and tired of hearing about how tough the Giants were all week, and they took it personally."

And from around the league as it relates to the Giants.....

While Eagles wait, they win East | Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/27/2010
The day started with the Eagles and their fans upset about a snowstorm-induced postponement but ended in joy: Even though they did not play, the Eagles clinched the NFC East and a postseason berth after the New York Giants lost at Green Bay, 45-17, on Sunday. The Eagles can finish with no worse than the No. 3 seed and will host at least one game in the playoffs. If the season were to end now, they would play against the Packers, a team they lost to in the opener, in the first round on Jan. 8 or 9.

That could have been and should have been our Giants hosting a playoff game in two weeks. Now, the chips have to fall a few different ways for a postseason berth. I'm trying not to think about how hard that might be watching the Eagles and Packers play each other in the wild card round.

New Orleans Saints have a lot on the line vs. Atlanta Falcons |
The New Orleans Saints missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot Sunday when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Seattle Seahawks, but they insisted all week that they didn't care what happened in that game. They'd rather kick down the front door and make their presence felt, starting with a convincing victory tonight at Atlanta.

Sure, the Saints are the defending champs. But they already lost at home to the Falcons, and losing the final two games of the season is a long-shot but not entirely out of the question for them. One thing is for sure--we have to root for the Falcons on Monday Night Football.

No matter what, these Bucs are winners again
Get this in your heads, playoffs or no: These guys are winners again. They have their ninth victory in 2010. However small it seems, it still matters.

If you think there are no moral victories, look at the Bucs, who won 3 games last season and have won 9 so far this season. Nobody realistically gave them a shot to be this close heading into the final week of the regular season.

Thomas Boswell - Redskins vs. Jaguars: Redskins put up an honorable effort in victory over Jaguars
When your season is one long soap opera of disappointments and the other team is still fighting for the postseason; when the wind chill is below freezing - in Florida - and you wonder why your job takes you away from home on Christmas, you need anything you can find for inspiration. The Redskins looked at each other and found it in themselves.

Well, geez, the last thing we want to see heading into Week 17 is a newly inspired Redskins' team. Maybe Mike Shanahan will continue to make head-scratching moves and insert Donovan McNabb back in for next Sunday's game. Regardless, the bottom line is this--the Giants are in a true must-win situation Sunday, but they also need for the Bears to beat the Packers in Green Bay. Possible? Absolutely. Likely? Maybe. A sure thing? Absolutely not. But the Bears, even if it doesn't affect their seeding, probably would revel in knocking their division rivals out of the postseason.