NFC East: John Carney
Tynes is 10-for-10 on field goals this year after a season in which he was a reliable contributor to the Giants' Super Bowl title run. His previous career high for field goals in a game was four, set on Nov. 27, 2005, with Kansas City and matched on Sept. 20, 2009, with the Giants. This is the third time he's won a Player of the Week Award, though the first two were while he was with the Chiefs.
The last Giants player to win Special Teams Player of the Week was Domenik Hixon in Week 13 of 2009. The last Giants kicker to win it was John Carney in Week 3 of 2008. The last Giants player to win any NFC Player of the Week Award was of course wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, who was the conference's Offensive Player of the Week just last week.
Owner Jerry Jones said his gut told him to remain patient with Buehler after he missed his second key field goal attempt in as many weeks against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. But now it's time to do what the Cowboys should've done at the start of training camp: bring in a veteran.
Kris Brown, Matt Stover, Shayne Graham and John Carney are all standing by as we speak. I'm pretty sure I saw Stover driving around my neighborhood the other night. We'll keep you posted.
- How will kicker David Buehler perform in live game action? There will come a time in this game when Wade Phillips will ask Jon Kitna or Stephen McGee not to get a first down, so that Buehler can get at least one or two opportunities. If Buehler struggles early in preseason, John Carney or Matt Stover will receive a phone call from special teams coach Joe DeCamillis.
- Left tackle Doug Free will need more reps than a typical starter. I'm anxious to see him in extended time at left tackle. As I've written a couple times, the other NFC East teams believe that Alex Barron will eventually take over as the starter. I believe that Free will hold his own.
- In the absence of the injured Dez Bryant (ankle), receivers such as Kevin Ogletree and Sam Hurd will have a chance to shine. And Tony Romo and Roy Williams need to find a rhythm at some point in the preseason. I think Jason Garrett will call a couple of plays for Williams during the first series tonight.
- DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer form one of the pass-rushing duos in the league, but they'll need a few plays off this season. Let's see how Brandon Williams and Victor Butler perform in live action. And I'm anxious to see how Jason Williams looks at inside linebacker. He's a player that a lot of folks have forgotten about since Sean Lee (quadriceps) was selected in the second round. I'd like to see how far Williams has come in terms of knowing his assignments.
- This is the type of game where Tashard Choice can shine. He'll get at least 10 carries, and I'd expect for him to have a strong showing.
- Phillips has asked his defense to make turnovers a priority, so it will be interesting to see how that manifests itself in tonight's game. Alan Ball should be better in coverage than Ken Hamlin, but I'm not sure how he'll do when it comes to tackling. That's something to watch.
- The Cowboys look pretty solid at cornerback, but I'd like to see how Cletis Gordon performs in this game. This is an excellent opportunity for him.
- Rick "Goose" Gosselin says the Cowboys are the No. 2 team in the NFL. Tonight we'll get our first look at this outfit against a team with some talent.
NEW ORLEANS -- Saints kicker Garrett Hartley is back from his four-game suspension, but he won't get the call today. The Saints will go with the venerable John Carney. He was one of the most accurate kickers in the league last season while playing for the Giants.
Normally, position players aren't seeking out kickers before games, but I noticed several Giants jogged over to say hello to Carney. So far this year, Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes has struggled with short field goals. The one advantage Tynes has over Carney is the ability to connect from 50 yards or more. At age 45, Carney doesn't have the range he used to.
Join us on NFL Nation Live for a live chat once the game begins.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
- The Pacman era has officially ended in Dallas, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News.
- Barry Horn has a neat story on Troy Aikman finally getting his diploma from UCLA.
- The Cowboys have season-ticket holders in all 50 states.
- The Dallas Morning News is now writing editorials about Tony Romo's leadership skills.
- A former Cowboys tight end is on the market.
- When in doubt, Sheldon Brown's a great guy to talk to. He puts Donovan McNabb's recent comments in perspective.
- Jason Cole takes a look at the quarterback situations around the league, including the McNabb and Manning contracts.
- Big Blue made some moves Monday, which included the re-signing of David Carr.
- Here's more on the Carr story in the Post.
- Here's Tom Rock with the latest on Plaxico Burress.
- It doesn't look like John Carney will return to the Giants in '09.
- Former linebacker Mel Kaufman has died at age 50.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After a drop in the first half, Giants wide receiver Domenik Hixon made a big catch on that last possession. Perfectly thrown ball by Eli Manning, and Hixon just beat nickel corner Joselio Hanson off the line of scrimmage.
McNabb is just picking the Giants apart right now. He looked off Justin Tuck, who had dropped back in coverage, and then drilled a pass to Kevin Curtis. If the Eagles score a touchdown here, they win. You heard it here first.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's rare that you see an intentional grounding call when a quarterback's arm is hit during his delivery. I guess the officials determined that no one was in the area where McNabb was attempting to deliver the ball.
Some folks in the press box were encouraging Andy Reid to challenge the call, but I don't think it was reviewable.
Again, though, the Giants weren't able to capitalize. Would you guys call that a drop by Hixon? It wasn't a great throw at all, but I guess he probably should've had it.
And that was your Pro Bowl kicker John Carney missing wide right from 46 yards.
If you were hoping for a high-scoring game, you've come to the wrong place.
Analysis: The Cowboys sent 13 players to the Pro Bowl last season, which was way too much. Witten, Davis, Ratliff and Ware all deserve to be in the Pro Bowl. They should've been joined by Bradie James, who's had an excellent season. He's become an excellent pass-rusher and he's a game-changing player. Gurode might be the most talented center, but hasn't had a great season by his standards. I think Giants center Shaun O'Hara probably deserved the starting nod over Gurode. But the offensive line is where reputation takes over. Bears center Olin Kreutz was starting in the Pro Bowl after his performance had tailed off. Gurode was truly the best center in the conference last season. And that's why he'll keep going to Hawaii unless he starts playing poorly. Left tackle Flozell Adams will probably sneak into the Pro Bowl because of Chris Samuels' season-ending injury. I hope that's not the case, though. Cowboys right tackle Marc Colombo actually deserves it over Adams.
Analysis: The Eagles didn't land a starter this year. Brian Westbrook is certainly playing better than Clinton Portis at this point of the year, but injuries kept him out of the Pro Bowl mix. Eagles defensive end Trent Cole has quietly had a solid season, but he doesn't have the sack totals that attract voters. Cole is superb against the run, and he doesn't get enough credit for that. Stewart Bradley has been playing really well at middle linebacker, but he came on too late to catch the voters' attention. And Eagles fans didn't stuff the ballots like the Redskins. I wish right tackle Jon Runyan could get a trip to Hawaii as part of a lifetime achievement award. He's played through a painful knee injury lately and last season he played with a broken tailbone. The Eagles have a top-five sack differential and Runyan's a big part of that. But overall, I don't think there were any significant snubs. I wish DeSean Jackson could make it in some capacity, but we'll put him on our all-rookie team.
Analysis: All of the guys on this list deserve to be in Hawaii. O'Hara probably deserves to be starting. I hate it that either Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield were passed over. Robbins had 5.5 sacks right out of the gates and he's an excellent run-stuffer. I think the Giants deserve more respect than they got. And David Diehl deserves to be an alternate despite the fact that he got worked over by DeMarcus Ware on Sunday night. Tuck's become one of the best defensive players in the league. He's often triple-teamed, but he still make plays. I could make an argument for Manning starting over Kurt Warner, but those eight sacks are still dancing in my head. Now that we've seen the Giants without Plaxico Burress, maybe he deserves a spot in the Pro Bowl. And one more thing: Corey Webster has been better than Packers cornerback Charles Woodson and Asante Samuel. By the way, I wouldn't have any problem with Michael Johnson and James Butler showing up in Hawaii as alternates.
Analysis: Glad to see the 33-year-old Sellers finally make it as a starter. He was brilliant blocking for Portis early in the season, and he's continued to play well as the Redskins faded. Portis was headed for an MVP before injuries and poor play by his offensive line brought him back to earth. It's hard to believe that can you leave DeAngelo Williams off the Pro Bowl team. Samuels and Cooley have both been solid. Cooley can't find the end zone but he's been Jason Campbell's most consistent target. I can't imagine how bad this offense would be without him. Leaving London Fletcher off the list is the biggest snub in the NFC East. He's been outstanding this season and he's the heart and soul of that defense. I wish all the people in Washington who rallied around marginal players had focused on Fletcher instead.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Much more to come on the Pro Bowl announcements. I encourage you to watch the ESPN announcement show in about 20 minutes.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
New York Giants (7-1) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (5-3), 8:15 p.m. ET
There are so many great story lines in this one, it's difficult to know where to start. Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo served under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson in Philadelphia. Spagnuolo has taken what he learned from Johnson and added a few concepts. The Eagles are old at offensive tackle -- and you have to think Spagnuolo will take advantage of that. Both Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan will have to square off with Giants defensive end Justin Tuck at some point Sunday. Runyan is one of the nastiest blockers in the league, but I'm not sure he's capable of dealing with Tuck's lightning-quick first step.
I'll be surprised if the Eagles are able to run on the Giants, so Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg will have to look for Brian Westbrook on bubble screens and wheel routes. If the Eagles can pick up the blitz, Donovan McNabb will have some one-on-one opportunities against Corey Webster and Aaron Ross.
On defense, the Eagles have been solid against the run. They've held opposing teams to 3.5 yards per carry, and Clinton Portis was the only back who really gashed them. Look for Giants tight end Kevin Boss to help out quite a bit on defensive end Trent Cole. Coming off a 12 1/2-sack season, Cole has only had three in 2008. He's dangerous off the edge, though, and Giants left tackle David Diehl will have to be ready.
Our friends at Scouts Inc. gave the Eagles the advantage at running back and receiver. That was baffling to me, because the Giants appear to have more depth at both positions. I understand that Westbrook is a better all-around player than Jacobs, but the Giants are stacked at the position with Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw.
The Giants also have more quality depth at receiver. Steve Smith has emerged as one of the most reliable third-down receivers in the division and Domenik Hixon has given New York another deep threat. The Eagles have a lot of weapons, but they don't have anyone in Plaxico Burress' league. Perhaps DeSean Jackson will get there at some point, but the Giants currently hold the edge at receiver.
The kickers might end up having a big say in this game. Andy Reid has stuck with David Akers through some rough times. And Tom Coughlin has stuck with veteran John Carney despite the fact that NFC Championship Game hero Lawrence Tynes has been healthy for the past month.
I think we're in for a superb football game. Something tells me the Giants will find a way to win.
A botched special teams play by the Steelers allowed the Giants to tie the game at 14 and quarterback Eli Manning led one of his patented fourth-quarter drives. On a key third-and-7 play, he found Steve Smith for a 25-yard gain. Two plays later, he connected with Plaxico Burress for an 8-yard gain and the Giants scored quickly after that to make it 21-14.
Once again, though, it was the defense that kept the Giants in the game. Ben Roethlisberger was picked off four times. He was also sacked five times. Defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka had the best game of his career with three sacks and a forced fumble. The Steelers focused on stopping defensive end Justin Tuck, and Kiwanuka took advantage of the strategy.
Burress didn't start the game as punishment for skipping a treatment Saturday for his sore neck. He played, but he was a non-factor until the end of the game. Trailing 14-9 in the fourth quarter, Manning made his best throw of the day. On fourth-and-six from the Steelers' 34-yard line, the quarterback hit Amani Toomer in stride for a 30-yard pass.
The Giants had to settle for a John Carney field goal, but the points put them in position to strike when replacement long snapper James Harrison sailed the ball over his punter's head. The victory sets up an NFC East showdown in the Meadowlands with the 5-3 Cowboys. The Giants are 6-1, and a win over the Cowboys would put them in great position at the midway point.