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SEATTLE -- Justin Tuck would rather avoid the comparisons.
The defensive captain knows there is so much season left to play, so many things that can go wrong.
But 2010 is beginning to feel an awful lot like 2007. There was the bad start to the season followed by the nonstop criticism and questioning. Now, the Giants haven't just turned their season around. They are building a tidal wave of momentum that has a very quaint feel to it for Tuck.
"Yeah, I think so," Tuck said when asked if this is feeling like the Giants' most recent Super Bowl season again. "I think this team just knows each other. It is tough, we came in here this year and had a new defensive coordinator and new pieces to the puzzle and we needed time to jell."
The streaking Giants are making an argument that they are the best team in the NFC after demolishing the hapless Seattle Seahawks, 41-7, at Qwest Field. The Giants (6-2) have won five straight games since a shaky 1-2 start and continue to take advantage of every break that comes their way.
|Eli Manning and the Giants have all the ingredients to make a deep playoff run this season.|
On this Sunday, they destroyed a team that was playing with a quarterback making his first NFL regular-season start. Charlie Whitehurst threw for just 113 yards and was picked off twice playing in place of the injured Matt Hasselbeck.
"It doesn't matter who was in the game, could have been Hasselbeck," safety Antrel Rolle said. "We played ball. We had a great defensive scheme intact."
Rolle was right. They paid no attention to who was in front of them or what had happened in their past -- such as the fact the Giants had lost four straight in Seattle and hadn't won here since 1981.
These Giants displayed plenty of "poise in the noise" as Tom Coughlin wanted his team to do.
Coughlin's team is showing a lot of qualities required to make a long postseason run. It has versatility, depth, resilience and chemistry. Coughlin shuffled his offensive line and surprised everybody by starting guard Rich Seubert at center in place of the injured Shaun O'Hara. He slid left tackle David Diehl to left guard and gave Shawn Andrews his first NFL start at left tackle.
Adam Koets was expected to start at center for the fourth time this season in place of O'Hara but Coughlin wanted his most experienced line to handle Seattle's notorious 12th man. After all, the Giants once committed 11 false-start penalties in Seattle in a 2005 loss.
Typically, making three different moves on the offensive line with just one week of preparation could be a recipe for disaster. But the Giants are cooking at the moment, with the ingredients that make up a contending team.
Offensively, the Giants continue to look unstoppable at times. Eli Manning orchestrated a solid attack with 290 yards and three touchdowns. He and Hakeem Nicks are now one of the most potent combos in the NFL as Nicks finished with six receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown. Steve Smith and Kevin Boss added touchdowns and Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for two more.
The Giants reached the end zone three times in less than four minutes in the first quarter to go up 21-0. By halftime, the Giants led 35-0 and the game was over.
"We're the ones who can stop us," Smith said of the Giants' offense.
The offense also committed just two false-start penalties this time in Seattle as the 12th man sounded like a crowd of 12 fans by the second quarter.
"Obviously you can see we shut the crowd up pretty easy," Rolle said. "The crowd was still loud but I think it was more Giants fans cheering more than anything."
Defensively, the Giants failed to register a sack on Whitehurst but they finally gathered an interception off a deflection when Terrell Thomas picked off a pass that hit off Mike Williams at the goal line to stop a Seattle scoring threat. Whitehurst was so raw the team that has knocked out five different quarterbacks probably wanted the Seattle backup to stay in the game.
The biggest upset of the afternoon was that the Giants' defense didn't shut out the Seahawks (Whitehurst hit Ben Obomanu for a 36-yard strike early in the fourth quarter). The Giants' defense was dominant, holding an opponent to under 65 yards rushing for the fifth straight game as Seattle gained just 49 yards on the ground.
In all, the Giants outgained Seattle 487 to 162.
With the way the NFC is right now, the Giants look as pretty as a supermodel. Look at the teams who are supposed to contend in the NFC: Minnesota has more issues than a celebrity in rehab and could have a new coach soon. New Orleans and Green Bay have looked vulnerable. Atlanta has been tough but the Falcons aren't unbeatable. The NFC East race may as well be between the Giants and the Eagles. Washington has its own world of problems (see McNabb and his alleged cardiovascular issues).
The NFC is wide open and the Giants continue to push forward full steam ahead. If they can keep the turnovers to a minimum -- they had just one on Sunday when Boss lost a fumble in the first quarter -- the Giants are hoping they can finish 2010 the way they did in 2007.
"I feel like if we play our best football and we don't make mistakes, we can beat anyone in the NFC," said defensive tackle Barry Cofield. "I am not saying we are the best team, we haven't always played the best. But if we play our best football at those times, I think we are the best."
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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