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The Homestretch

How many of you sports degenerates remember racetrack announcer Dave Johnson?  He had a great voice and a signature call: “..and down the stretch they come!”  Well, Giants fans, 13 out 16 games are in the books, AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME!

I did not like this horse race at the start, because I did not like our horse.  That changed in Week 5.  Since Week 5, I joined the bandwagon and am not giving in to Steve Smith’s injury.  I saw the Giants win with less than stellar offense in 1986 and 1990.  Our WRs were so average in ’86 that a second year TE named Bavaro led the team through the air.  Of course this 2010 team does not have the defense of ’86, but the offense in ’10 WITHOUT SMITH is still far more capable.  The game is different, but the point is that we have Super Bowl possibilities this season.  As we come down the stretch, there are so many ways this team can get over the top:

1)  Nicks and Manningham are more than capable of giving this team the firepower through the air.
2)  Boss is getting his legs under himself after being clobbered at the beginning of the year.
3)  Jacobs is as fresh at this time of year as he ever has been.
4)  Bradshaw’s roll in the offense is as expanded and meaningful as it ever has been.
5)  Pascoe is a gem who improves every game.
6)  Eli has not even touched the surface of his potential for stronger play.
7)  With O’Hara coming back this weekend, the OL is back to full strength and is very deep.
8)  Justin Tuck has emerged from halftime of the Jaguars game as the unifying voice of this team.
9)  Stopping Purple Jesus for 26 yards is a signature event which sends a message to our competitors in Dec/Jan in the Northeast.
10) Perry Fewell has shown at least some tendency to use less Cover2 and Off Coverage against better opponents.
11) Goff has emerged as a more seasoned LBer who can get the job done and put the team in the appropriate set.
12) JPP is no longer the green rookie; he is making impact plays on a regular basis.
13) Phillips/Grant/Rolle give the Giants defense a veteran presence and playmaking ability.
14) Barry Cofield, Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard are healthy and playing well.
15) Unlike 2008, the DL is not run down, so the pass rush in the playoffs will be there.
16) Dodge’s punts and Tynes’ FGs are more consistent.

Are there problems?  Of course there are.  But there are no great teams this season in the NFL, so the Giants just have to be better than good.  As they come down the stretch, a Super Bowl title is not a dream.  Our Giants are one of about 5 to 8 horses who have a realistic shot.  It is up to every player to bring it into a higher gear to make it happen.