It's rare that a NFL team that begins a campaign 0-6 can still think and talk about the playoffs as if making the postseason tournament was possible.
That, however, is exactly where the New York Giants are during their current Bye week. The Giants, sitting at a lowly 2-6, will begin the weekend just two games behind NFC East leaders the Dallas Cowboys. Their last two contests suggest that Big Blue is in a better spot right now than are both the Philadelphia Eagles (3-5) and Washington Redskins (2-5). With nothing to do but scoreboard watch and hope for the right results, New York fans will have to hope for a massive upset in at least one game this coming Sunday.
Week 9 scoreboard watching for the New York Giants: Dallas
Don't hold your breath here, Giants fans. The Cowboys have what has been an awful Minnesota Vikings team at home on Sunday. Dallas is a twelve-point favorite as of the posting of this piece, and that number could go up before kickoff.
Just how bad are the Vikes at this point? There are some out there who believe the franchise made a mistake by NOT dealing running back Adrian Peterson before this past Tuesday's trade deadline. Minnesota doesn't have a quarterback, and the Vikes are responsible for one of the worst pass defenses in pro football. Upsets happen, sure, but I expect that this one will get ugly and quick.
Week 9 scoreboard watching for the New York Giants: Philadelphia
It's another NFC team that doesn't have a true NFL quarterback healthy and ready to play. Michael Vick could be out for up to a month if the Eagles, who only scored on the Giants last weekend due to a botched punt, decide that 2013 is a lost cause and sit their starter up until they are off in Week 12. That lackluster offense has to go to Oakland and play the Raiders, who have been pretty solid at home.
Matt Barkley could get the start for Philadelphia this coming Sunday. He has been somewhere between poor and awful in his regular season appearances. The Giants would be rather unlucky if the Eagles took a step toward .500 here.
Week 9 scoreboard watching for the New York Giants: Washington
Just about as disappointing as have been the Giants are the Redskins. 2-5 overall and 1-2 at home, Washington will host the surprisingly good 4-3 San Diego Chargers. The suddenly again Super Chargers find themselves in the playoff hunt thanks to a Philip Rivers revival that I don't think anybody saw coming back in the summer months.
Rivers coming to town will likely mean bad times for the Redskins. Washington is surrendering nearly 274 passing yards per game. Oh yeah. Robert Griffin III dealt with a knee problem last weekend. RG3 has practiced all week, but he may have to have his best game of the season to win what could, if both offenses are clicking, be a shootout.
Regardless of what happens on Sunday, the Giants will be facing what are essentially eight playoff games after the off week. That is a bit of an overstatement in that New York probably won't have to be perfect from now until December 29 to have a shot at a division title. Anything other than a 7-1 finish, though, will likely doom New York.