You can tell when it's late November in New York—the leaves in Central Park are turning a plethora of colors, the shoppers are out in full force in Herald Square, and the New York Giants are playing as poor a brand of football as conceivably possible for a professional team.
Well, here we are. Its Nov. 25 and all the familiar elements are in place.
There are scientific reasons behind why the leaves turn and economic reasons why shoppers are active, but there is no reasonable explanation for these Giants. Under Tom Coughlin they have traditionally ran out of gas the final six to eight weeks of each season.
Two years ago, they ran out of linebackers. Last year, it was defensive linemen. What's this year's dilemma?
I know...it's heart.
This team just has none. They talk and talk and talk, but they never walk the walk that goes with it.
In this league, it all starts with defense. Even though the Giants D has turned their season around, they still miss too many tackles, give up too many big plays, and fail to consistently make clutch plays when needed.
The defense alone should not have to bear the brunt of the fans' wrath. The offense, under fourth-year QB Eli Manning, deserves to be criticized as well. Manning has not developed into the leader and play-maker the Giants need him to be. He continues to throw behind his receivers, makes poor throws in crucial situations, and does not improvise when the called play fails, a la Tony Romo and Ben Roethlisberger.
Today, against the Vikings, when the defense was struggling to throttle Tavaris Jackson and Chester Taylor, Manning needed to transcend his average game performance and ratchet things up. Instead, he was at his worst, turning in a pitiful showing where he mistimed his receivers, made poor decisions, and succumbed to pressure—something he has yet to demonstrate that he can overcome.
In addition, Minnesota returned three of his passes for defensive touchdowns, stunning the fans who showed up to see the Giants steamroll the Vikings. What they saw instead was a an old-fashioned ass-kicking at the hands of a team that probably won't make the playoffs.
Next week, the Giants go to Soldier Field where they will face another wounded animal, the Chicago Bears. It doesn't look promising for not-so-big Blue.