Will the calendar, for all intents and purposes, turn to 2014 for the New York Giants today? That is what happens if the giants lose to the Philadelphia Eagles, falling to 1-7. Or, will the Giants win a second straight game and continue believing, or at least trying to convince themselves, that they still have a chance in the NFC East?
Accuse me of drinking the Kool-Aid coach Tom Coughlin and the Giants' players have been peddling if you must but I think the Giants go into the Linc today and come out with a victory.
The 1-6 Giants are 5-point underdogs Sunday afternoon. They have lost eight straight road games. They are playing an Eagles team that is 3-4 and beat them 36-21 in their own building three weeks ago. The Eagles have allowed just 19.3 points per game the past three weeks after giving up 34.5 per game in their first four games. Philadelphia gets starting quarterback Michael Vick back for the first since the first half of that Week 5 victory over the Giants.
Look at those things and you think this is a game the Giants aren't going to win. Yet, there are reasons to think otherwise.
The Eagles have stunningly lost nine straight games on their home turf. They may be only one game behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East, but they are hardly a juggernaut. They have a questionable defense. The fast-paced offense has been brilliant at times this season, and brutal at other times.
The Giants have shown some signs of improvement the past two weeks. There was a narrow loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football. Then there was a victory over the Minnesota Vikings which, while it might have been an awful game to watch, was still a game in which the Giants made enough plays to win.
The Giants have run the ball better in recent weeks. They have been giving Eli Manning time to throw more consistently. They have been defending the run well. They have given up only 25 pass plays of 20 yards or more, a pace that would lead to giving up 57 of those, after surrendering 73 last season. The pass rush showed signs of life last week.
Do I really believe this team is capable of some type of magical turnaround that would lead to a playoff run? Hardly. The Giants have a lot to prove before anyone should drink that Kool-Aid.
I can't, however, believe that the absolutely brutal football we have seen from the Giants throughout much of the season will continue. Maybe it will just be a tease, but I think the Giants play a solid game Sunday in Philly and came away with a win.
Prediction: Giants 27, Eagles 21