This time of year gets harder to be an objective NY Giants fan. I remember making my only call ever into Mike and Mad Dog in January 2008, because I believed that the Giants were “live” to win the game. They poo-poo’d my bullishness and of course we know what happened.
So where does the objectivity end and the subjectivity begin in assessing the Giants’ chances? I honestly do not know. One thing that jumps out at me is that in the past 4 games, Janoris Jenkins has been active in 2 1/2 of them. In those games, the Giants held DAL to 7 pts, DET to 6 pts and WAS to 0 pts. This is the Janoris Jenkins Factor. That is the objective part of me screaming out how good the Defense can be, hence how far the Giants can go this year in the playoffs. The subjective part still wants to come up with an excuse for what happened in Pittsburgh.
Let’s try to objectively list the Pros and Cons of a NY Giants Super Bowl run this postseason.
Demonstrated ability to beat good teams
#1 Fewest allowed TDs in NFLLast 4 games of season Defensive performance
Eli has the potential to play a lot better than what we have seen
Eli historically has played better in the playoffs
Perkins’ elevation on depth chart to starter, first 100 yd gainer all season
Tune Up: went out strong with road win in Washington
Run game improvement last 3 games
No dominant teams in the NFL- everyone has warts
Locker room leadership/cohesiveness
Special teams stuffed Crowder, got it done this year (Jenkins return of blocked FG vs Saints)
Play up to the level of their opponent
Team is relatively healthy
Road record 4-4
OL still has same problems in pass protection
No-huddle has problems on road
Still needs to prove can defeat a gameplan heavy on TE/RB usage (Pittsburgh)
McAdoo Offensive playcalling/with a lead
No margin for safety: can be vulnerable to a bad ref’s call or bounce of the ball
No Offensive TE threat/Red Zone failure
So which one is it? “It’s time to ask yourself, what do you believe?”
Do you believe in the Giants? Do you believe they are playing their best football right now? This blogger painstakingly remains as objective as he can be. The past 2 seasons, I was negative and the Giants underperformed. This season, in our preview, we were positive, eyeing 9 to 10 wins with an outside shot at 11 wins. They got 11 wins. What has surprised me is not that the Defense would be good. The preseason DL was terrific. What has been surprising is instead just how good they became. I did not see Jenkins as a shutdown corner. That helps big in the playoffs, because you need to shut/slow down the biggest threat. Defense is portable. It travels. Nobody knows this better than Giants fans, who watched 3 of their 4 Super Bowl runs accomplished because of terrific defense on the road. We are counting on Jenkins to match up well vs any and all #1 WRs he lines up against. This allows the rest of the Defense to get more aggressive and force turnovers. In the first half of the season the Giants were -7 on takeways, and in the second half of the season they were +5. It is how you are playing right now that matters. So the Giants are ‘live’ for having a respectable shot in the 2016 playoffs. Call me subjective but I think the Giants can beat the Packers. Play the game.