While the New York Giants sit at only 6-4, with the Cowboys playing well and a possible Eagles resurgence on the brink, there are several reasons to believe the Giants will still take the division come the end of the year.
Some could argue that fluke losses to the Redskins and Seahawks prevent the Giants from being an impressive 8-2. However, now they have some work to do as they hope to move forward in the remaining six games and find themselves in the playoffs after a two-year hiatus.
They have a lot of things going for them, but mental mistakes and injuries seem to plague this team every year in the second half of the season. But I do believe there are factors that play well into the Giants' chances of making the playoffs this year.
In the following slides, I will give four key reasons as to why the New York Giants will be playing beyond the regular season.
The Giants have lost a number of important players for the season, including the likes of Terrell Thomas, Jonathan Goff and Domenik Hixon. However, as the playoff push approaches, they are getting some key pieces back.
Prince Amukamara made his season debut last night. He looked impressive in his limited time, to say the least. Within his first five minutes of being on the field, he made a nice-looking interception on a deep ball down the left sideline. There is no doubt that the Giants have missed his playmaking and coverage presence. They need as much help in the secondary as they can from here on out, and he will provide just that.
The Giants run game this year has been abysmal. So it shouldn't really matter who is back there. Wrong.
They have really missed Ahmad Bradshaw, who has missed the last three games with a foot injury. It is important that he can get back out there in the coming weeks. He gives the Giants an opportunity to have a big play at any moment, and he has been pretty good catching the ball out of the backfield. Brandon Jacobs is lucky if he even gets back to the line.
This team cannot afford to lose another starter to an injury. But with these two guys coming back, it gives the Giants a much better chance to win.
Although the Giants don't seem to know what the term "blowout" is, or even "comfortable lead" for that matter, it is nice that they are never out of reach.
Playing against a good team or a bad team, the Giants always seem to find themselves having a chance to win the game on a last-minute drive. Now while I'm sure they would like to blow a team out every now and then, they can't be disappointed with the fact that they have a real chance to win every game. With Eli Manning leading the team in the fourth quarter, the Giants know that they are in control and have their opposition on their heels.
In their 17-10 loss to the Eagles last night, the Giants punted the ball nine times and turned it over another two times. Yet, they still had a chance to tie it with just over a minute left in the game, before Eli was blindsided and fumbled the ball away. Now this isn't a stat to be proud of or brag about, but it is definitely a good sign to be in a position to win after even such a sloppy game like that.
The Giants are certainly far away from being a complete team, but this team has a chance to be very dangerous. They never put themselves out of a game. With a little better coaching and a better all-around effort, the Giants can go on a real nice run into the playoffs.
The Giants are absolutely loaded with talent; it's a real shame that they can never seem to put it all together.
With players like Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre Paul on the defensive line, it is hard for quarterbacks to feel comfortable back there. The Giants lead the NFL with 31 sacks. But a different defense shows up every week. If they can get a solid effort week in and week out from the entire team, there might not be a tougher team to beat in the league.
On the offensive side of the ball, it's almost as if there are too many options. Nicks, Cruz and Manningham have become a respectable trio at the wide receiver position. Nicks has proven to be an outstanding possession receiver who can seemingly catch every ball. Manningham has come up big time for the Giants late in games, and Cruz is always around the ball and making great plays.
I know it sounds like a lot, but the Giants are really only missing one thing—and it is completeness. The coaching staff needs to light a fire under this team and get a complete performance out of them. The only ones beating the Giants right now are themselves.
Raise your hand if you have seen Tom Coughlin smile. Anyone? Anyone? Didn't think so.
After the win against the New England Patriots, it looked like a completely different team. A disgruntled Brandon Jacobs, who told the press he wouldn't be a Giant next year, was holding Coughlin up like they had been pals for life. The players were having a blast but they knew that more work needed to be done.
This team wants to win. They have missed the playoffs two years in a row. They want to be back. The Giants have had a problem of playing down to their opponent, but all of their issues can be fixed.
There are no glaring holes or needs on this team. An all-around effort and a group of guys who want to win is all the Giants need. And I believe they want to win.
The schedule is tough, but the Giants play their best against great teams. The New York Giants will find their identity, and the New York Football Giants will win the NFC East.