The Giants and Broncos are perfect examples of how nothing in the NFL is guaranteed">Giants and Broncos are perfect examples of how nothing in the NFL is guaranteed, no matter what the situation seems like. Both teams appeared to be on their way to at least a Wild Card berth after the first month and a half of the regular season.
After all the talk surrounding the Giants in the offseason about how they would struggle without a top wide receiver since Plaxico Burress was serving his sentence in prison. Instead, their young receiving core consisting of Steve Smith and Mario Manningham made life easier for Eli Manning as New York jumped out to a 5-0 start. They seemed to be on their way to a second-straight NFC East title and one of the top teams in the conference.
Instead, the Giants fell harder than a school-yard kid playing tag without his shoe laces tied. Since their 5-0 start, New York suffered a four-game losing skid on their way to finishing the season 8-8. Not only did they lose their final two games of the season to the Carolina Panthers and Minnesota Vikings, but they were blown-out by a combined score of 85-16.
The Denver Broncos found themselves in a similar situation to the Giants as they started off the 2009 season 6-0. Four of the their first six wins came against teams playing in the postseason (Bengals, Cowboys, Patriots, and Chargers).
Since then, they went 2-8 over their next 10 games and fell just short of the playoffs for the second straight year, including a 44-24 loss in their final regular season game at home to the 4-12 Kansas City Chiefs. According to ESPN's Ed Werder, Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels made the decision to bench wide receiver Brandon Marshall after he was late to a therapy session for a hamstring injury.
Both the Giants and Broncos suffered collapses that will be fresh in their minds throughout the offseason. The fact they were able to begin the season with such impressive starts only makes their situation even more painful.
Unfortunately, none of that matters now since they can't change the regular season has come to an end with the playoff seedings already set. All the Giants and Broncos can do now is learn from their mistakes and use this season as motivation to come back even stronger in 2010.
Dan Parzych is the founder of the new NFCEastFootball.com