Not only are the G-Men down wide receiver Mario Manningham, tight end Jake Ballard and defensive end Osi Umenyiora, but the squad is also trying to erase the putrid memories of Week 15's loss to the dreadful Washington Redskins. There's also the little matter of their collective playoff life, which hangs by a thread thanks to the aforementioned defeat at the hands of the Skins.
Had the Giants managed to take care of business against Washington, they'd be sitting in the catbird's seat out in the NFC East.
Instead, they're looking up at the division-leading Dallas Cowboys and need some help to take the division title, which is their only possible route to the playoffs. Of course, that's not out of the question considering the Pokes play the Philadelphia Eagles this week and the Giants in Week 17, but those slender hopes all but disappear if Eli Manning and friends can't emerge victorious from the Battle of New York.
Luckily for the Giants, they lead the Jets by a 10-7 score and can do just that with the five halftime adjustments:
1. Clean up the Laundry
On the Jets first drive of the game, the Giants had them stopped on a fourth down pass to the flat that slipped through the receiver's hands. Or they would have had they not had an extra man on the field, drawing an obvious flag.
Gang Green took full advantage of the early Christmas present and kept driving, right into the end zone.
Can't have any more crippling mental lapses, from coaches or players.
2. Make Mark Sanchez Win the Game
Despite all the sound bytes coming from (yawn) Rex Ryan, there is only one elite quarterback in the Big Apple and he ain't wearing green. Jets' QB Mark Sanchez has had some nice games, but his biggest successes have come on the back of his defense and rushing attack.
With that in mind, I'm gonna bottle up the running game, lock down on the short passes and invite Mr. Sanchez to beat me with his arm.
And I like my chances.
3. Protect This House...or at Least This QB
As I just said, Giants' quarterback Eli Manning is the only elite signal-caller in this game, but even elite QBs are nullified if they're running for their lives on every snap.
In the early going, that was precisely Eli's problem—the pocket was collapsing before he had a chance to survey his targets and find one. If that doesn't change dramatically in the second half, the Giants are done.
4. Jump Start the Running Game
One thing that would help the pass protection situation would be to get running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs on track. For most of the first half, those two were stuck in single digits as far as combined rushing yards were concerned.
That won't play.
5. Please Pass the Salsa
By my calculus, the Jets' shutdown/all-world cornerback, Darrelle Revis, spent much of the first 30 minutes matched up with Hakeem Nicks or playing zone. Granted, green New York's secondary is talented beyond merely Revis, but Revis on Nicks means Victor Cruz should have room to work.
Unfortunately, blue New York's breakout performer of 2011 was largely absent from the action until ripping off that 99-yard touchdown pass down the sideline.
The stats will say Victor was a huge part of the first half and he was because that was an enormous play. But it was still only his second catch of the half.
Gotta get him in the game flow more than that.