Going into the 2008 season, the Dallas Cowboys were everybody's favorite to at least win their conference.
They were coming off a season in which they were the No. 1 seed and had a first round bye, but lost at home to a wild card team that also happened to be a division foe.
Once the '08 season started, the Cowboys justified these expectations. For the first few weeks anyway. A midseason losing streak set up the debate of whether America's Team would even make the playoffs.
The New York Giants, the divisional foe that beat the Cowboys in that playoff game, entered this year pretty much the exact same way.
Like the Cowboys, they also had the No. 1 seed last season, a first round bye, and lost at home to a divisional foe.
They stormed out the door winning their first five games, but have now slumped to 5-3. And like with Dallas last season, there is talk of big blue actually missing the playoffs for the first time since Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin's first season (2004).
The Giants, although dealing with injuries, have been able to overcome them, especially during their Super Bowl year.
Last week in Philly, Eli Manning looked like a rookie again in the sense that if he didn't see anyone open and just threw the ball up. His performance last week nets him the nappy-headed-ho of the week award.
Disciplinarian Coughlin is definitely a different breed of coach from Wade Phillips, who is a stringed marionette for owner Jerry Jones.
Coughlin was always able to at least get the Giants winning no matter what injury befell the team (I don't count Plaxico's "absence" as an injury).
Another difference is Coughlin will definitely not be on the hot seat for at least another year. He would definitely need two consecutive losing campaigns for that.
Another striking similarity is that the Giants will move into a new stadium next season like the Cowboys did this year. That does make a difference in the eyes of fans who have to sell their first-born to afford the PSL's.
And if the losing does continue in the Big Apple, Super Bowl or not, it will always become a case of "what have you done for me lately."
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