The bye week is over for the New York Giants. Now the six-game season begins.
The Giants have, unquestionably and characteristically, made the sprint to the finish line much more difficult than it had to be. Losses the past two weeks in games they should have won -- they led the Pittsburgh Steelers by 10 points entering the fourth quarter and they are a better team than the Cincinnati Bengals -- have given the 5-5 Dallas Cowboys hope, and a chance, in the NFC East.
The Giants, despite all their warts, could be 9-1 right now. Don't forget the game against the Philadelphia Eagles they lost largely because they horribly mismanaged their final drive, ending up forcing Lawrence Tynes to try what would have been a career-long 54-yard field goal.
Despite what really are some self-inflicted wounds, and the fact that they are reeling a bit and have a difficult schedule the rest of the way, the Giants should win the NFC East.
Paul Schwartz of the New York Post asked this simple question over the weekend: "How the heck do they not" win the division?
Well, they don't win the division if they can't find their passing attack. Or their pass rush. Or if they don't figure out how to stop giving up huge chunks of yardage on defense. Or if they don't figure out how to make a tackle in punt coverage.
Cool Standings gives the Giants a 49.7 percent chance of winning the division and 56.4 percent shot at making the playoffs, compared to 37.4 and 29.4 for the Cowboys.
The Giants, obviously, are hardly a shoo-in as the stretch run begins. They have only themselves to blame for that. This, though, has historically been the type of situation the Tom Coughlin-led Giants have thrived in.
Sunday against the Green Bay Packers we begin to find out if they can do it again.
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