NFC East: rapid reaction 9

2014 Predictions: New York Giants

September, 2, 2014
Sep 2
7:59
AM ET
video 
ESPN.com New York Giants reporter Dan Graziano makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.

Week 1: at Detroit Lions

The Giants are coming off a mess of a preseason, undermanned and overwhelmed, with the offensive line still a mess and the new offense not clicking at all. No one will pick them to win this game. Except me. Prediction: Win


Week 2: Arizona Cardinals

This one's a comedown off the Week 1 surprise, as Arizona's banged-up defense still manages to flummox Eli Manning and collect a few interceptions. It's a bummer of a home opener as reality begins to set in. Prediction: Loss


Week 3: Houston Texans

Houston's defense is as liable as Arizona's to make life miserable for Manning and the offensive line. But Houston has bigger questions on offense than even the Giants, and this is a win for the New York defense against Ryan Fitzpatrick. Prediction: Win


Week 4: at Washington Redskins

The short week and Washington's stellar crew of offensive weapons prove too much for the Giants to overcome. Will Beatty still sees Brian Orakpo in his nightmares. Prediction: Loss


Week 5: Atlanta Falcons

The pattern continues, and the Giants overcome two Osi Umenyiora sacks to outscore the Falcons with a furious Manning comeback in the final minutes. The Giants poke their heads over the .500 mark as they make the turn into the most brutal stretch of their schedule. Prediction: Win


Week 6: at Philadelphia Eagles

The Giants don't have Matt Barkley to kick around this time when they visit the City of Brotherly Love. Chip Kelly and the Eagles show them what a truly innovative offense looks like. Prediction: Loss


Week 7: at Dallas Cowboys

The season-long debate about what gives when an anemic Giants offense meets a pathetic Cowboys defense tilts in Dallas' favor in the first meeting. Tony Romo & Co. have more than enough weapons to outscore Manning and his bunch, and the Giants hit the bye with a 3-4 record. Prediction: Loss


Week 9: Indianapolis Colts

After a long break before the Monday night home game, the Giants get taken apart by Andrew Luck, Hakeem Nicks & Co. at MetLife Stadium for a third straight loss. The offense is starting to run more smoothly, but it still doesn't have enough playmakers to outscore one of the league's better offenses. Prediction: Loss


Week 10: at Seattle Seahawks

You're kidding, right? Prediction: Loss


Week 11: San Francisco 49ers

The Giants have obviously handled the Niners in recent years and in some high-profile situations. But by this point in the season, San Francisco's defense is back to full strength, and the 49ers can't afford to lose ground to the Seahawks by failing to beat the team Seattle just beat the week before. Prediction: Loss


Week 12: Dallas Cowboys

A sixth straight loss is by no means out of the question here, as Romo and his crew still have the potential to outscore anyone in a given week. But from this far out, I'll forecast that something goes wrong for Romo late in this game, and the Giants get a gift. Prediction: Win


Week 13: at Jacksonville Jaguars

This is where the schedule starts to soften up, when the Giants start playing teams that insist on not starting their best quarterback. It's unfortunate they're 4-7 at this point and just about out of the playoff hunt, but they will get it going against the bottom-feeders. Prediction: Win


Week 14: at Tennessee Titans

I think the Titans are going to be dreadful this year, and by December they won't be very difficult for anyone to beat, even at home. A third straight victory keeps the Giants' hopes alive. Prediction: Win


Week 15: Washington Redskins

Have to be honest: The NFC East is so unpredictable that, when doing these predictions, I just decided to give the Giants a 3-3 division record with victories in all three home games and losses in all three road games. It's as fair a way as any to do it, I believe. Prediction: Win


Week 16: at St. Louis Rams

After moving back to .500 with four straight wins, the season falls apart at the hands of the St. Louis pass rush. An offensive line that has once again been the Giants' biggest problem all year can't protect Manning in a must-win game. Prediction: Loss


Week 17: Philadelphia Eagles

Tom Coughlin's teams can always find a way to play for pride. The Giants' playoff hopes are extinguished, but they still manage to end the season on a high note and with a .500 record. Prediction: Win


Predicted Record: 8-8

 

Rapid Reaction: Steelers 23 Redskins 6

November, 3, 2008
11/03/08
11:55
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

LANDOVER, Md. -- The Steelers put their AFC pride on the line Monday. Pittsburgh had lost to the Eagles and Giants from the NFC East, and a loss to the Redskins would have invited even more doubters.

But it didn't come to that because the Steelers' defense held the Redskins to two field goals early in the game. The Redskins were dreadful on third down. They were 0 for 9 before finally converting one in the second half. The stretch running play that had been the Redskins' calling card all season wasn't there against the relentless Steelers defense.

Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell threw his first two interceptions of the season and wasn't particularly efficient at any point in the game. Even when the Redskins finally sustained a long drive midway through the fourth quarter, they stalled inside the Steelers' 10-yard line.

Coach Jim Zorn has been praised for his motivational ploys and imaginative offense this season, but the play he called on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter was a head-scratcher. Campbell rolled right and tried to throw it to defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander, who had reported as an eligible tackle. Linebacker James Farrior made a nice play on the ball, but you still have to wonder why they didn't try to smash it in with Clinton Portis from the 1-yard line.

The Redskins have mixed the West Coast offense with a smashmouth running game for much of the season, but they were all finesse against the Steelers. Portis had his streak of five games with 120 yards or more interrupted.

The Steelers made the Redskins one-dimensional in the fourth quarter and linebacker Lawrence Timmons ended any hope of a rally by sacking Campbell for a big loss with just under four minutes left.

With two minutes left, the only fans left at FedEx Field were wearing black and gold. The Redskins defense feasted on Ben Roethlisberger in the first half, but he wasn't able to return for the second half because of a right shoulder injury.

It didn't matter, though, because backup Byron Leftwich was rock solid. He stepped away from pressure and completed a 50-yard pass to Nate Washington to set up the Steelers' second touchdown. After going up 16-6, the Steelers defense caused a three-and-out and then Campbell's first interception of the season. It was Campbell's first interception in 271 attempts, a franchise record.

Campbell never looked comfortable in the pocket. When he dropped his arm down to try to find different passing angles, the Steelers did an excellent job of knocking the ball down. The Redskins head into their bye at 6-3, a record they most certainly would've embraced at the beginning of the season. But while the loss was disappointing, Zorn will quickly try to put it in perspective for his players. The loss makes the Dallas game in two weeks even more important.

Zorn was still working the officials after the final gun sounded, but the Redskins have only themselves to blame for this loss. Campbell was sacked seven times and he rushed throws on the few occasions when he had time in the pocket. Zorn always talks to his team about now "flinching."

That will be a tough assignment after this effort. The Steelers pushed the Redskins around in the second half. And for one night, they struck a blow for the AFC.

Rapid Reaction: Giants 35, Cowboys 14

November, 2, 2008
11/02/08
7:24
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Before Sunday's game, several Giants players expressed regret that they wouldn't face the Cowboys at full-strength. But it's not like they displayed any benevolence in a dominating 35-14 victory that improved their record to 7-1 at the midway point.

A week after beating the Steelers in an absolute slugfest, the Giants had little trouble with the Brad Johnson-led Cowboys. Quarterback Eli Manning led his team on an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive to begin the game and the injury-ravaged Cowboys never responded.

Johnson was picked off twice in the first half, and both interceptions led to Giants interceptions. Cowboys coach Wade Phillips provided comic relief by ordering Johnson and backup Brooks Bollinger to put on their helmets before each drive in an attempt to deceive the Giants defense. They never seemed to notice.

Giants defensive end Justin Tuck and linebacker Danny Clark were dominant in the first half. Tuck finished with 2 1/2 sacks and put constant pressure on Johnson, who hit the deck at the first sign of trouble. The Cowboys briefly got back in the game when rookie Mike Jenkins stepped in front of an Eli Manning pass and returned it 23 yards for a touchdown.

But Johnson served up another interception on a "deep" out, and Corey Webster picked it off. The Cowboys will now head to the bye, and hope that quarterback Tony Romo and several other reinforcements arrive. They now trail the Giants by three games in the loss column. The Cowboys only hope of making the playoffs will be one of the wildcard spots.

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