In their victory over the New England Patriots in week 9, and their 38-35 loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday, the Giants showed how good they can be when at their best.
Unfortuantely for them, in losses to the Philadephia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks, and Washington Redskins, teams with a combined record of 13-23 after 12 weeks, the Giants showed just how bad they can play when they are not focused.
Some people will call for the job of head coach Tom Coughlin if the team does not make the playoffs. Coughlin does have to take some of the blame for his team not coming out prepared and with consistent energy and effort, but, ultimately, the players have to maintain their professionalism and bring the same effort every game.
Some people will call for the job of the General Manager Jerry Reese. That, too, would be incorrect. The team has suffered a lot of injuries, inlcuding losing Michael Boley, Ahmad Bradshaw, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Knicks, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora, to name a few, and any NFL team that suffers those types of injuries is going to struggle more than expected.
The Giants have experienced breakthrough seasons by a few players, led by quarterback Eli Manning. Manning is in the top six in the NFL in Quarterback Rating, Passing Yards, and Touchdowns. He is certainly continuing the tradition of Manning greatness started by his father Archie and continued by his older brother Peyton. Wide receiver Victor Cruz has also had a spectacular season, appearing in the NFL Top 10 in Receiving Yards, Receptions, and Touchdowns. Jason Pierre-Paul is also having a breakthrough season, and leads all Giants with 10.5 sacks, good for fifth in the league.
The New York Giants still have a shot to win the division, and, with four games left, including two against division rival Dallas Cowboys, and a matchup against co-Met Life Stadium tenant New York Jets, their destiny is in their own hands. If the Giants show up with the same effort they played with last night against the Cowboys twice, they have a great shot at winning the division. If, however, they show up with the intensity they had when playing lesser teams, the New York Giants will miss playoff football for the fourth season in a row.