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Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Big Blue Morning: Time to step it up

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Your daily morning check-in on news and notes about and of interest to the New York Giants.

The news of the day: The Giants return to work after a couple of days of rest and begin preparing for Sunday's big game against the Dallas Cowboys. The mathematical fact is that a win would move them within a game of first place, even at 5-6. So the opportunity for improbable contention is a real one. The question remains their ability to take advantage of it. And as Rivers McCown points out in an Insider piece, significant problems remain Insider even during the current win streak that they will have to overcome if they're going to beat the improved competition they'll face the rest of the way. Rivers lists the continued problems of the offensive line and Hakeem Nicks as concerns big enough to sink the Giants' hopes. And remember, "sink" doesn't even mean they have to play that badly the rest of the way. They could go 4-2 in their remaining games and still finish 8-8. The margin for error is small enough that they will absolutely have to play better than they have during their four-game winning streak if they want to keep hope of a miracle alive. Could happen, but it's worth noting that not all is yet solved.

Behind enemy lines: Perspective can easily be overlooked when you're locked in on your own team and living and dying with them week-to-week. But in an NFL in which so many teams crowd around .500, a lot of teams find themselves in similar positions. The Cowboys, like the Giants, are looking at what they have left as a six-game season. And while the Giants are trying to maintain momentum, the Cowboys are trying to bury the memory of their most recent game.

Around the division: It hasn't been the smoothest rookie season for Eagles coach Chip Kelly, but he seems to have things humming now, and Phil Sheridan writes that Kelly deserves credit for his play calling in the second half of Sunday's victory over the Redskins.

Around the league: Case you missed it, the Giants are up to 22nd in the latest ESPN Power Rankings. See where the rest of the league stands, and check out the Spreecast video with me and fellow voters Mike Sando and Jamison Hensley.