|The Ultimate World Cup of Hockey Preview||LeBron James: A Performance for the Ages||RIP Muhammad Ali: The GOAT||Steph and the Warriors came out to play|
You know when we should have all turned off the TV? After the safety. Watching injury sub DJ (Danny? Who cares.) Ware get walloped in his own end zone should have been the signal – press the power button, walk away, enjoy the beautiful weather outside, hug your loved ones and remember there is beauty in the world and that it still rains too much in Seattle.
But we all kept watching, didn’t we?
Full disclosure – the Giants loss on Sunday was so bad I couldn’t even bring myself to watch the Jets as they inevitably lost in New England. It was the kind of loss that made me never want to watch football again. The kind of loss that made me question why I even bother to follow sports in the first place.
OK, I guess it wasn’t THAT bad. It’s Week 5, we’re not even a third of the way done. There’s plenty more football to come, and the Giants will continue to lose in new and humiliating ways for the rest of 2011 and beyond. In an ever-changing world, at least I know that on autumn Sundays I can still sit in front of the TV and get mad at a bunch of millionaires wearing pink socks.
Last week, riding high on the Giants huge win in Arizona, I said:
“The Giants need to win the games they are supposed to win if they want to sneak into the playoffs this year, especially with Dallas and Philly both losing in ugly fashion this week and with the Redskins heading into their bye week.”
Well, they didn’t take care of business. There was exactly one moment in this game against the Seahawks that the Giants looked like they might pull it off: after Victor Cruz’s second circus catch, which put Eli Manning in position to win another come from behind game. Alas, there was no more magic left in those pink-gloved hands, as Cruz let a ball bounce away and into the arms of some turquoise-clad invader, who took it to the house for the exclamation point on the sentence: “The Giants aren’t very good!”
I‘ve been harping on this since before the season started, but the Giants have an incredibly difficult schedule this year, and it has only gotten harder given that several teams – the first place (!) Bills, the first place (!!) Redskins, the first place (???) 49ers – have made huge leaps thus far this season. The murderer’s row of games is approaching – trips to New England, San Francisco and New Orleans, and home visits from the champion Packers, plus two dates against Dallas and tussles with the Jets, Skins and Eagles still left. The next two games, Buffalo and Miami, looked like the last winnable games on the schedule a few weeks ago – now, only Miami looks like a sure thing. And given how sure everyone was about Seattle this week, let’s just assume the Giants will find a new and interesting way to lose that one too.
This is going to get really bad, really fast. The Giants have big problems on defense – they rush the passer but cannot stop the run, give up big chunks through the air and have survived so far mostly on opponents’ choking. The offense looks good, even great at times, but the run game is a nightmare and the offensive line a revolving door of backups and castoffs. Remember a few years ago when people were clamoring to give the Giants O-line a collective MVP award? Yeah, not so much anymore.
In a strange way, peripheral injuries have not hurt this team at all – without Justin Tuck or Brandon Jacobs, the team looked basically the same, i.e. gaudy sack numbers and nothing on the ground. Bad Eli reared his head again, as he seems to cough up one ugly fumble and throw one ugly pick per game. A lot of talk this week focused on Manning’s “elite” numbers so far, and it’s true that Eli went into the game with 8 TDs and just 2 INTs, but any Giants fan knows that those numbers were hiding the fact that Eli is still remarkably boneheaded for a veteran QB. He didn’t have as bad a day as Michael Vick, and the last two interceptions he threw were basically negligible, but it is still not fun watching him under throw and overthrow guys, or have balls squirt out of his hand at inopportune moments. He brought us a Super Bowl, however, and at this moment in time I’ll take another year of losing just to treasure that memory. But, it’s getting a little old.
Up in Foxboro, the Jets lost to a better team in a less humiliating way and honestly seemed pretty positive afterwards. Ignore the fact that they got gouged on the ground for what seems like the umpteenth time this year, and that they are officially trailing two teams in their division and have a similar schedule to the Giants coming up – the Jets will probably figure out a way to put it all together. Let’s have some schedule fun: say they beat Miami twice, take one from Buffalo and take care of business against Denver and Kansas City. They beat a reeling Philadelphia in December. That leaves them with eight wins, and most likely needing 10 or 11 to make the playoffs. They would have to beat the Redskins in Washington, or take their rematch from the Patriots, or beat San Diego at MetLife Stadium in order to get there, but they may need one more win.
The Giants on Christmas Eve.
Forget for a moment that the Giants should be about 3-29 by that point, with the extra losses coming on style points. That intra-New York game may be the biggest one on the Jets schedule if they want to make the playoffs, and will be extremely fun regardless of the result… unless both teams are limping along with eight losses and it’s meaningless.
I hate football.