No matter how many ways you slice it, the New York Giants remain in the playoff hunt. At 3-6, the Giants are just two games behind the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, who share first place with 5-5 records.
But just for a second, let’s gather up the confetti and cork the champagne bottles. For a moment, let’s take a magnifying glass to the three Giants wins.
Over their last three games, the New York Football Giants have beaten the Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles (sans Nick Foles) and the Oakland Raiders. Out of this group, the Eagles own the current rights to the best record at 5-5. That’s right, not one of these teams is hovering above the .500 mark.
Back in Week 7, the Giants erased the goose egg from their win column with a win over the Vikings. Newly-acquired Josh Freeman made his debut for Minnesota and turned in one of the ugliest performances in recent history. Credit the Giants defense for keeping Freeman under duress, however, New York only managed 257 yards of total offense of their own. For as bad as Freeman played, the Giants won 23-7. A polished and fundamentally sound football team could have dropped a fifty-spot against the Vikings that night.
New York extended their winning streak to two with a 15-7 victory over the Eagles. Michael Vick was forced to leave the game in the first half when his injured hamstring flared up. Since Foles was sidelined with a concussion, Philadelphia was was forced to throw rookie Matt Barkley into the fire for the second time in his young career.
Barkley was rendered ineffective and the Giants pulled out the win without scoring a single touchdown. The Giants nearly gave the game away after long snapper Zak DeOssie air-mailed a snap over punter Steve Weatherford‘s head and into the end zone, which actually made it a one possession game late in the fourth quarter.
And then there’s this past week, or Exhibit C if you will. Coming off a bye, New York clawed out a 24-20 win over the Raiders in a game so ugly that it could have been passed off as a victim of botched plastic surgery.
The Giants spotted Oakland seven points after Jerrel Jernigan fumbled the opening kickoff. Terrelle Pryor scored on a one-yard touchdown run two plays later.
Here’s the most troubling statistic: For the game, if you factor in quarterback sacks, New York’s running game accounted for 15 more yards than their passing game did.
If that’s not a sign of the apocalypse, I don’t know what is.
Now, I’m sure this hardly resonates with the Giants or their fan base because, at this point, they’ll take a win no matter how it’s conjured up; and rightfully so. However, as New York begins to face tougher opponents (not next week), mistakes they previously got away with may end up proving costly.