The New York Giants are about to host the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium in a must-win game? I've seen this movie before, and it ended with Tom Coughlin and then Eli Manning hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. It's obviously far too early for any Giants fan to even dream about the team playing a home Super Bowl game in February, but New York did exactly what needed to be done in knocking off a Green Bay Packers team that did not have Aaron Rodgers. Big Blue is undeniably in it, and no side in the NFC East is hotter.
Sober thoughts on Giants beating the Packers: Continuing to roll
Critics are quick to point out that fate has been kind to the Giants over the past month. The Minnesota Vikings are terrible, the Philadelphia Eagles and Oakland Raiders were hurting when those teams faced New York, and the Packers aren't even half as good without Rodgers as they are when they have the best quarterback in the league on the field.
That out of the way, no defense in the NFL is playing better right now than that of the Giants. The New York defense has, in its past 16 quarters of play, surrendered only two touchdowns. One of those came after a fumble on the opening kickoff gifted the Raiders with possession at the five-yard line of the Giants.
Picking up Jon Beason earlier in the season continues to look like one of the best moves of the year. He had another solid outing on Sunday, and there's no doubt that he was an injection of life into a defense that wasn't getting the job done. His numbers won't match up with the top players in the league, but Beason has been as valuable a defensive player as any other in the league.
Sober thoughts on Giants beating the Packers: What's going on?
Hakeem Nicks could possibly be having the worst contract year I've ever seen from a star player. 42 grabs for a total of 620 receiving yards and zero touchdowns at this point of November is a fine season, but it certainly isn't one that is landing Nicks a massive deal during the winter months. Nicks caught four of five passes for 50 yards against the Packers, and he again ended a game without having found the end zone.
One of two things is happening: Either Manning isn't targeting Nicks on potential scoring plays as much as he has in past seasons, or Nicks isn't doing enough to get open in those scenarios. He, simply put, must be more aggressive in his route-running, because Manning having to look for Louis Murphy in the red zone is something that, no disrespect meant, shouldn't happen.
Sober thoughts on Giants beating the Packers: Feeling it
Seek out some of the comments made by those on the New York roster over the past 24 hours. The Giants aren't merely winning games against lousy opponents. They are confident that they've turned a corner, and several guys who also happen to possess Super Bowl rings are playing their best football of the season.
A side that started 0-6 is now the third-hottest team in the league. Only the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks are currently in the middle of longer winning streaks than are the Giants. The G-men now have what is essentially a home playoff game against Tony Romo and the Cowboys. Romo and company can end New York's postseason hopes in about three hours.
I'll take Manning over Romo in such a situation ten times out of ten.