Two weeks ago, when the New York Giants pounded the Washington Redskins into submission 23-7, all the talk was the Giants don't need Plaxico Burress. Really, the talk was, the Giants don't need any one player.
That was two weeks ago. Since then, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys have shown that to not be the case. Both teams have exploited the fact that the Giants 6'5” superstar is at home preparing for his March 31st court date, and not preparing to torch opposing defenses.
I think it is safe to assume the Giants are still good enough to beat the Rams and Seahawks without Plax. However, I don't think that will make any Giants fan, coach, or player very happy. And, lately the Redskins seem intent on proving that their strong early season form was a fluke.
That leaves one game where the Giants offense performed extremely well without Plaxico Burress. (It just so happens Brandon Jacobs missed this game as well.)
However, although Plax missed this game, the Cardinals were forced to game-plan for him, since he was active and played the first several snaps. Now, it is a much different situation.
Teams know that the Giants don't have another wide receiver that they need to double team. Meaning, teams have all week to prepare for the Plax-less Giants. This essentially frees up a safety, who previously had to help in coverage on Plax, on every play.
This was exposed by the Eagles, and now, the Cowboys. In both games, the Giants have been held under 100 yards rushing. This is the same team that previously boasted the NFL's best rushing attack spearheaded by Jacobs, Ward, and Bradshaw.
In both games not having to respect the Plax-less Giants wide receiving corps, the Eagles and Cowboys loaded up the box, and dared the Giants to throw. Receivers couldn't get open, dropped passes, and Eli was sacked or under heavy pressure consistently.
One thing is for sure—the Giants aren't getting Plaxico Burress back. Thus, the Giants must find another reliable deep threat, must find a way to establish the run, and must find a way to make other teams respect their receiving corps. Otherwise, this Giants season will have gone out with bang, just the wrong kind.