Eli Manning and the New York Giants could be in second place by Sunday evening.
That’s just how fast the standings can flip on you. When the Giants travel to hostile Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia this weekend, they need to move the ball effectively and keep the Eagles’ offense off the field by forcing as many three and outs as possible.
The Eagles are always a dangerous team, and it is not uncommon to see them go from worst to first in a matter of weeks. It happens every season. The Giants’ defense should put their focus on Eagles’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who had both rushing touchdowns and passing touchdowns against the Redskins in week 7. Both of those scores were plays that were over 50 yards, so it will depend on the Giants’ secondary to keep up with him.
The offensive gameplan for the Giants needs to be based around short passes mixed in with the run. In the past two weeks, the Giants have thrown bombs down the field on first and second down, putting all the pressure to execute on third down. Had the Giants just gained a handful of yards on each down, they would have kept moving the chains and would have avoided three and outs.
The winner of this game will most certainly have the edge heading down the stretch. With that being said, the Giants have yet to play their fair share of divisional games. The Giants have made the most of their divisional opportunities by beating the Redskins and Cowboys, but the real tests start coming later in the season.
The schedule down the road isn’t looking so easy for Big Blue, but in my opinion that is great. If the Giants are able to capitalize on the tough games and push their way to the postseason, they will enter the playoffs as a proven and balanced team who beats the teams the need to beat and wins the big games. If they don’t, they could risk missing the playoffs.
The Giants are used to these situations, though. Eli Manning has led this team to victory in many big games, and I don’t just mean the playoffs. In 2006, the Giants were 0-1 and were down by several touchdowns against the Eagles when Manning led the team to overtime. Manning lobbed a pass to then-receiver Plaxico Burress for the game-winning score.
The Giants should act like this week’s game is the fourth quarter of the game in 2006. Or better yet, fourth quarter of the Super Bowl against the Patriots. As long as they take care of business, they will escape Philly unscathed with a 6-2 record.