5 Things We Learned About the New York Giants This Week

Yueh Ho@@YuehHoCorrespondent INovember 30, 2011

5 Things We Learned About the New York Giants This Week

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    After a season that began to generate a fair amount of optimism, with Eli Manning playing some of his best football in his career, the Giants fell flat on their faces against the Philadelphia Eagles and failed to generate any offense against the Vince Young-led Eagles. They then faced off against New Orleans looking for redemption, but were instead pummeled, 49-24, in the Superdome. 

    Once regarded as clear favorites to win the NFC East due to the inconsistent Cowboys and the struggling Eagles, optimism for this New York Giants team is quickly falling.

    Here are five things we have learned about the New York Giants after they were beat down in New Orleans.

1. The Giants Defense Is Lost Without Steve Spagnuolo

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    It doesn't matter how good Drew Brees is. Heck, you could be lined up against Joe Montana himself.

    There is absolutely no excuse for a defense to allow 49 points in a single game. Ever.

    This Giants defense went from being one of the league's best in 2008 to one of the league's most blatantly overrated.

    And a shortage of talent is not the issue. The Giants are loaded with talent on the defensive line and in the secondary. They should not be the 28th-ranked defense in the NFL.

    No matter how well Eli Manning plays, he cannot be expected to keep up with an opponent that puts up 49 points in his team's defense.

    Speaking of Eli, let's move on to our next point...

2. Eli Manning Is NOT an Elite Quarterback

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    It seems like every year, people are trying to proclaim Eli as finally breaking out and becoming the superstar quarterback everyone expected him to become.

    He had a strong start this season, but at least for now, he is not an elite quarterback.

    The Giants on are a three-game losing streak. Yes, many factors have played into those losses, and it would be fair to say that those losses for the most part were not Eli's fault. 

    But there is no disputing his decline in production, starting four games ago.

    In the past four games, Eli has thrown five interceptions to only seven touchdowns. And twice, against New England and Philadelphia, he completed less than 52 percent of his passes. 

    Yes, he played well against New Orleans, throwing 406 yards and a 101.9 passer rating. But most of those stats were in catch-up mode, as the Saints already had a significant lead over the Giants. The Saints are also not known for having a fearsome defense.

    Don't get me wrong, is Eli a good quarterback? Yes. But is he an elite one? Certainly not.

3. Brandon Jacobs Is Done

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    Without Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs has taken most of the rushing carries for this Giants team. No problem, right? We're talking about a man who was once the focal point of this offense.

    Not anymore he isn't, and he shouldn't be. Jacobs has struggled mightily in Bradshaw's absence. He is only averaging 3.1 yards per carry and has a measly 320 yards all season.

    And nearing the 30 age mark, it may no longer be a coincidence that Jacobs is struggling. He may be done.

    He has had a fine career overall, but these days, he struggles to find any consistency.

4. The Giants Will Not Win the NFC East

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    At 6-5, the Giants may still make the postseason. But with Dallas facing a very soft schedule and the Giants facing a very tough one, it may be safe to say that winning the division is a longshot at this point.

    And with the 7-4 Falcons also facing a soft schedule and the Lions much improved this year, the Giants will have a tough road ahead of them to even make the playoffs.

    It is certainly do-able, but the margin for error is very slim. Especially as they face off against Green Bay this weekend and will almost certainly fall to 6-6 after playing the best team in football.

5. It May Be Time for Coughlin to Go

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    There was already a great deal of speculation during the 2007 season that head coach Tom Couglin's job was on the line. But after one of the most miraculous runs in NFL history, where the Giants upset the Brett Favre led Packers and, most notably, the 18-0 New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl, Coughlin was granted amnesty in the form of retaining his job.

    But since then, what has Coughlin done? Not much.

    In 2008, he had the best team in the NFL, only to lose in the very first round to the Philadelphia Eagles despite being heavily favored. 

    In 2009, his team charged out of the gates looking like a clear Super Bowl contender, only to fail down the stretch and miss the postseason at 8-8. 

    And it only gets worse. In 2010, despite the resurgence of Michael Vick, Coughlin had a clear shot at taking his team to the playoffs, and the road looked clear, with the Eagles down 31-10 in the fourth quarter at home. All his team needed to do was finish off Philadelphia, move on to a weak Redskins team and finish 11-5 and with a playoff spot.

    But every Giants fan (and Eagles fan) knows what went wrong on that day.

    And now, despite being in the driver's seat of the NFC East, Coughlin's team is 6-5, has lost three straight and faces a tough schedule ahead of him. Another late-season collapse would be oh so predictable.

    Coughlin has failed to instill any consistency with his team over the years. While he did win a championship for the Giants, he has clearly not done much since then, especially when we consider the amount of talent he has on his teams. Unless he can somehow get the Giants to the postseason, it would appear that his tenure in New York is over.