Who could have guessed that being the best 3-6 team in the NFL would actually mean something outside of where that particular side picks in the next draft?
That the New York Giants won ugly against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday means little to Big Blue the day after. Beating Oakland landed the Giants back to within two games of the top spot in the NFC East standings, and New York has three more chances to earn victories over division opponents. They have only won a third of their games this season, but the G-Men are very much so in the playoff hunt.
It continues to be a strange NFL season.
Sober thoughts on Giants beating the Raiders: That defense
Before everybody goes too crazy gushing over the thought of the Giants pulling off the impossible and hosting a home Super Bowl game this coming February, everybody needs to take several steps back and remember that New York has hardly beaten the best of the best over the team's past three contests. Now that I've gotten that wet blanket comment out of the way, praise must be given to the defense of the Giants, a unit that has stepped up and in a big way.
Throw any and all team defensive stats from Weeks 1-6 out the window. New York's defense has not been responsible for an opposition touchdown since that loss to the Chicago Bears on October 10. This, of course, is going under the notion that you can't blame the Giants for giving up six points in the first quarter of yesterday's game after a Jerrel Jernigan fumble on the opening kickoff gifted Oakland with possession at the New York five-yard line.
Antrel Rolle thinks the team's defense has turned a corner, telling reporters on Monday that he believes “when it all comes together, that's when things become miraculous.” That's an appropriate word, because New York even having a chance at a postseason berth after a 0-6 start may be a small miracle itself.
Sober thoughts on Giants beating the Raiders: Special teams concerns?
Placekicker Josh Brown has been reliable throughout 2013. Outside of Brown, though, there are some worries to be had about New York's special teams play as of late. The Jernigan fumble provided another reminder that the Giants are seriously lacking a play-maker on kick/punt returns. Everything is clearer in hindsight, of course, but maybe the Giants let the wrong New York team pick up Josh Cribbs.
Don't look now, but Steve Weatherford has had a rough couple of weeks. He averaged 35 yards per kick in the team's past two games, and he was responsible for holding onto the ball too long when he had a punt partially blocked.
Teams that are weak on special teams don't make runs. Weatherford and the New York kick coverage, in particular, must do better going forward. The Giants losing field position battles to the likes of the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks will result in New York losing games.
Sober thoughts on Giants beating the Raiders: NFC East
What can be said about the Giants is also true of the Philadelphia Eagles and Cowboys: None have earned what can be deemed to be a so-called “quality win.” The Eagles took care of business on Sunday against a Green Bay Packers team that didn't have Aaron Rodgers. Big deal. Dallas was thoroughly humiliated by the New Orleans Saints on Sunday Night Football.
All things considered, current form included, the only thing separating the Giants from both Philly and Dallas is the two-game gap in the standings. This roster is really starting to believe that it is on the verge of making history. There are a lot of champions in the Big Blue locker room.
If any team is going to pull this off, why not the 2013 Giants?