Monday, November 4, 2013
Scoreboard-watching with the Giants
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Hey, I get it. You have to give yourself some reason to get out of bed and go to work in the morning. I'm not going to sit here and tell the men who play for the New York Giants to give up hope. They are, according to the math of the situation, still in the hunt for the division title and the postseason.
Still, there was something a little bit sad about so many Giants players Monday talking about how they spent their bye-week Sunday watching games and pulling for the teams that were playing against the Cowboys, Redskins and Eagles.
"You felt, in the Dallas and Washington games, that the opposing teams had good chances to win," Eli Manning said. "They just didn't quite come through for us."
The Giants are 2-6 and in last place in the NFC East, and all three of the other teams in the division won Sunday. The Cowboys came back late to beat the Vikings on a touchdown pass in the final minute. The Redskins stopped San Diego at the goal line to force a field goal and overtime, then won the game in overtime. The Eagles crushed the Raiders 49-20 behind seven Nick Foles touchdown passes. As a result, every team in the division gained a half-game on the Giants, who are two and a half games behind first-place Dallas with eight to play (including one against the Cowboys).
"Our division is kind of shaky right now," cornerback Prince Amukamara said. "So it's kind of up for grabs."
The reality of the situation, however, is that the Giants have to win a nearly impossible number of games in the second half to contend for the division title. Just to finish with a .500 record, they'd have to go 6-2 against a slate that includes the Raiders, Packers, Cowboys, Seahawks and Redskins at home and the Chargers, Lions and Redskins on the road. Even a 5-3 finish would leave them 7-9 and obviously extremely unlikely to win the East. Running the table -- winning all eight and finishing on a 10-game winning streak -- could get it done. But that's a tough task for a team with as many problems as the Giants have, and even that wouldn't guarantee anything. The hole they have dug for themselves makes scoreboard-watching a silly exercise.
"The way I look at it, whatever Dallas does or Washington does or Philly does shouldn't have any effect on us, even though we know it does," safety Antrel Rolle said. "We have to go out there and take care of our own business. We can't rely on anyone else."
They are certain to need help if they're to make their current playoff fantasy a reality, but Rolle's words ring true. No amount of external help will matter to the Giants if they can't win all or almost all of their games the rest of the way. So while a week off to watch football like the rest of us may have been fun, scoreboard-watching in November isn't going to do them a whole lot of good.