If you've read any work of mine over the past couple weeks, you've noticed I've mentioned the New York Giants' second half schedule many times.
Well like it or not, it is finally here.
The line means one thing: it is time for the Giants to step their game up
If I had to put money on it, I'd say every team but the Redskins finishes with a record above .500. A tough road lies ahead, and if the Giants are going to make the playoffs, here is what has to happen.
In order for the Giants to be successful down the stretch, they have to figure out a way to stop the run. The Giants current sit at 28th in the league, allowing 130 yards per game.
That is unacceptable.
One way that could be remedied is the debut of first-round pick Prince Amukamara at cornerback, which could potentially happen this weekend in Foxborogh. Now, he isn't regarded as a great run defender, but Antrel Rolle is.
Rolle has been spending a lot of time as the nickel corner instead of safety, and with the return of Amukamara, Rolle could move back to his natural position.
Deon Grant and Kenny Phillips have been missing tackles that are leading to big plays. Rolle moving back to safety would help fix that problem.
On top of the many season-ending injuries suffered in preseason, the Giants have had their fair share of nicks and bruises.
In fact, last week marked the first time all 53 players were on the practice field.
If Amukamara comes back healthy this week, the Giants need to figure out a way to keep him, and the rest of the players, healthy.
They don't exactly have a ton of depth, especially in the secondary.
As bad as the Giants have been in stopping the run, they've been even worse running the ball.
What was once a great strength for this team has now become a glaring weakness.
The bye week and getting everyone on the offensive line back was supposed to fix the problem, but that definitely wasn't the case against Miami.
They are 30th in the league rushing the ball at 85 yards per game; that number must be putting coach Tom Coughlin through many a sleepless night.
Despite being in the midst of an MVP-caliber season, Eli Manning still raises doubts about his ability to keep it up down the tough stretch.
Manning is currently third in the league with a 102.1 QB rating, fourth in completion percentage, fourth in yards per game, and seventh in touchdowns.
If the Giants are to maintain their winning ways, they'll need Eli to continue playing great football to mask their problems.
Back in 2007, the Giants won 10 straight road games in route to a Super Bowl championship.
That year, they donned the moniker "Road Warriors" for their ability to seemingly be unphased by in hostile territory.
They need to find that mantra again.
With games at New England, San Francisco, New Orleans and Dallas, they certainly don't have it easy away from home.
The easiest road to making the playoffs is winning your division, and with four NFC East matchups remaining, the Giants control their own destiny.
They currently sit at 5-2 with a two-game lead over the division. The way each of the Giants' divisional rivals are playing right now, there is no reason the Giants can't win three of their remaining four games.
A 10-6 mark is likely going to be enough to win the division, so any edge they can get over their division rivals will be huge.