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New York Giants News and Notes: Over the Hump and to the Bay Edition

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Good morning fellow Giants' fans. It's a big hump we're crossing over on this hump day--the Wednesday after the Giants (6-2) upset the Patriots, and before the Sunday that they face the red hot San Francisco 49ers (7-1) on the left coast. It's also the mid-point of the season, and the G-men have a somewhat cushy two-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys. Stop me if you've read this before, and you have. The Giants always seem to have great first halves, followed by crappy second halves, under Tom Coughlin. But there is something different about this season and about this team--it began when they beat the Eagles in Week 3, and continued when they beat New England last Sunday. Let's hope the combination of solid football and Big Blue Magic stay with us a few more weeks through a brutal schedule stretch. Here is some of what is floating around the Web to get you prepared as we head toward the weekend.....

Giants general manager Jerry Reese vindicated by victories for sticking with his plan |

No, the only one who should be laughing now is Reese — except he isn’t. With a two-game lead over the Dallas Cowboys and a three-game edge over the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, he and his staff have been vindicated.....Well, for now anyway.

Giants have bridge to cross with trip to San Francisco -
The New York Giants still have 14 players left from their Super Bowl title season of 2007, and their powerful home crowd makes for a mighty home-field advantage in the biting cold of January playoffs. On the heels of Sunday's impressive victory in New England that marked the first loss by the Patriots with Tom Brady at quarterback in 31 regular-season home games, the NFC East-leading Giants (6-2) look to entrench their playoff position when they travel to NFC West-leading San Francisco (7-1) on Sunday.

Statistical tale of the tape: Giants v. 49ers | 49ers Hot Read
Manning leads the league with a 121.7 passer rating in the fourth quarter, completing 57-of-83 attempts (68.7 percent) for a league-high 803 yards, which equates to about 25 percent of his season yardage. He’s thrown 8 of his 15 touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, and 2 of his 6 interceptions. Smith, with three fourth-quarter comebacks to his 2011 name, has the fourth-best passer rating in the fourth quarter, 106.7. He is 24-of-36 for 264 yards with 2 TDs and 0 interceptions.

We all know what Eli is capable of. But did anyone expect Smith to be having this type of season?

Division, playoff races provide plenty of intriguing games in second half - Don Banks -
New York Giants at San Francisco -- They love their Giants in San Francisco, but not these Giants. You have to figure undefeated Green Bay will earn one of the NFC's first-round byes, but the other one could conceivably be settled by a tiebreaker based on the outcome of this game. The 49ers' only loss was at home to an NFC East team (Dallas), and New York happens to be playing its best ball of the year.

Jake Ballard making Giants forget about losing Kevin Boss to free agency - The Washington Post
Jake Ballard has done more than enough this season to make the New York Giants forget about losing Kevin Boss to the Oakland Raiders in free agency. The former free agent who spent most of last season on the Giants’ practice squad took it a step farther this past weekend, coming up with "a catch" against the New England Patriots that had many remembering "The Catch" David Tyree had in the 2008 Super Bowl to help knock off the-then undefeated Patriots.

Eagles' loss to Bears gives Giants an even bigger advantage in NFC East |
...after the Philadelphia Eagles' 30-24 loss to the Chicago Bears tonight, the degree of difficulty for this second half just went down. At 6-2, the Giants hold a two-game edge over the Dallas Cowboys (4-4) and now have a three-game lead over the Eagles and Washington Redskins, who are both 3-5.

Eli Manning makes it a blue town after leading NY Giants upset over New England Patriots - NY Daily News
The Giants and Jets are first-place teams in control of their destiny in their division races at the halfway point of the season. New York football fans can’t ask for much more in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, which is when the playoff races reach the home stretch and things really get serious . So, which team is better? Is it the Giants, who have Eli-te Manning at quarterback and are coming off their most impressive and emotional victory since Super Bowl XLII? Or the Jets, who have won three in a row after losing three straight, and finally have their swagger back. Sorry, Rex, but right now it’s Big Blue.

New York Giants midterm grades: Reviewing Big Blue - ESPN New York
But the Giants have won six of seven since, and storm into the second half of their schedule feeling as if they are inching closer toward being an elite team in the NFC after a stirring 24-20 win over the Patriots. Eli Manning is playing his best football and the Giants have been clutch, pulling out one heart-pounding win after another. The defense appears to be rounding into shape and the special teams has improved since last year.

Tyree enjoys another Giants ‘miracle catch’ from No. 85 against Patriots - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
On Sunday while attending a friend's birthday party in Irvington, N.J., Tyree watched the Giants again beat the Patriots, this time in a Week 9 24-20 win in Foxboro. It was billed as a Super Bowl rematch, the first time these two teams have met since that game in Arizona, and it was another No. 85, Jake Ballard(notes), who tormented New England late in the game. "It was a great game and a tremendous win by the Giants. I don't think a lot of people gave them much hope at the beginning of the year but they're surprising people," Tyree told Yahoo! Sports.

Archie upset with Fox duo's criticism of Eli - Giants Blog - ESPN New York
But the Manning patriarch didn’t agree with what he heard from the former Dallas Cowboys star about Eli’s throws. "I don’t always listen to Troy and Joe," Archie said. "They’re kind of hard on Eli. Joe’s always been really tough on Eli, and it seems this year Troy is too. But that’s OK. Sometimes I just mute them."

You guys have to read the rest of this short article about the Mannings, just to see what Peyton said about Joe Buck in a 2009 interview with Bob Costas. It's priceless. For the record, I groan every time I hear that this broadcasting team has the Giants, as they do again this coming Sunday.