I’m spoiled – I admit it. I expect the Giants to win every time they take the field. As a fan, I’ve never gone into a game expecting the Giants to lose.
So when they took the field last Sunday in Atlanta, I felt the way I always do before a game. I expected the Giants to win and start their string of big wins leading into the playoffs. That didn’t happen and it was a disappointing blowout loss. Still even after that, we still controlled our own playoff destiny. Just win the last two games and you’re in. Not only did they not do that but they lost to the Ravens in real disheartening fashion.
Now we enter Week 17 and we’re somehow not yet out of it. Eli and company need four different results to go our way. It’s a tall order but it’s far from impossible. Let’s look at each one individually…
Giants need to beat Eagles. Obviously if you are the team that is relying on help to get into the playoffs, you must first make sure you do your part and win. Something about this game just rubs me the wrong way. I think the Giants are going to win (as I always do) but there’s a lot of factors that worry me. First, the Giants haven’t beaten the Eagles at the Meadowlands since 2007. Philly has won 8 of the last 9 meetings overall including the heart-breaker Miracle at the New Meadowlands. It’s likely Andy Reid’s last game as head coach and although the Eagles haven’t done much of anything right this season, it would be fitting for Reid to end his rivals’ playoff chances.
Aside the recent history between the Giants and Eagles, the recent history of the Giants is something to worry about as well. We have played two pretty pitiful games the last two weeks at the most inopportune time. It’s been an up and down season to say the least. Remember how bad we made San Francisco, Green Bay and New Orleans look? That’s as bad as we looked against Atlanta and Baltimore. It can’t continue. I don’t know what happened to our pass rush or secondary or the offense but the wheels came off on all aspects of the team and they need to right the ship fast.
Finally, Michael Vick starting this game for the Eagles is a complete wild card. No matter what he says, this isn’t your regular Week 17 game when your team is out of playoff contention. Vick is wisely using this game as an audition for other teams. After getting medically cleared to play, he was benched and thought he wouldn’t get another chance this season. Now his chance is here and it’s against a team and in a building where he has had success. As a Giants fan, that scares me.
Having said all of that, I still think the Giants are going to win the game because that’s what they do and that’s what I’ve become accustomed to as a fan. (See the admission of how spoiled I am at the top).
Packers need to beat the Vikings. Green Bay is favored in this match up, which is good news for the Giants. But Minnesota is in a win-and-in scenario which makes the game a little more interesting. Also Peterson is chasing history and has been inhuman
the last couple of games all season. Green Bay is playing for a first round bye which should be enough incentive. Both teams have something on the line and I feel the Packers are the better team and will win. It will definitely be a closely contested divisional contest but give me Aaron Rodgers over Christian Ponder every day and twice on Sundays.
The Lions need to beat the Bears. Here’s the good news about this matchup. The Bears are in a tailspin. Chicago did beat Arizona last week but who hasn’t beaten the Cardinals this season? That win doesn’t mean much. Prior to that, the Bears had lost 5 of their last 6 after starting the season 7-1. Their last road win was in Tennessee (another sub-par team) on November 4th. So maybe winning in Detroit is not such a sure thing. The problem is that The Bears can get into the playoffs with a win and a Minnesota loss. They will be motivated and the Lions have not proved to be too formidable of an opponent this season. Calvin Johnson is having a record season and he looks to add to those numbers on Sunday but will it be enough to win? Detroit doesn’t have anything left to play for except boosting those Johnson numbers. It won’t be easy but I’m an optimist and I can see it happening.
So far we’re 3 for 3 with Giants, Packers and Lions wins. Now onto the last hurdle…
Redskins need to beat the Cowboys. I really hate that there is a game being played in Week 17 that will decide the NFC East and the Giants are absent. Since we split with both Washington and Dallas, those teams get to play for the division and we have to rely on others. Even if RGIII is 75% I think the Skins are the better team. The Cowboys just don’t win these games and I admit to schadenfreude when it comes to Dallas (and Jerry Jones). This scenario unfolding would be fantastic (and not just because it could potentially help the Giants get in). The Cowboys have a win-and-in divisional road game in Week 17. NBC flexes that game to Sunday night and national TV. Dallas loses and misses the playoffs. That is exactly what happened last year and the Giants were the team sending Dallas to their golf clubs instead of January football. And this is exactly what’s going to happen again this year. The Redskins can beat the Cowboys and if they do (along with Giants, Packers and Lions victories) the Giants will make the playoffs and have a chance to defend their title.
Like I said, it’s a tall order but it’s not that far fetched. Three out of the four are favorites and have something to play for. We all know who to root for and hopefully the Giants return to form with a Week 17 win. I’m expecting nothing less.