Jobu reviews the Giants’ Week 10 win against the Oakland Raiders.
Because of the bye week, we haven’t gotten together to talk about the Giants in two weeks. That’s too long, as far as I’m concerned, so I’m glad to bring back the Giants Week in Review. In Week 10, the Giants took down the Oakland Raiders to climb back to 3-6. The Cowboys and Redskins also lost. Don’t look now, but the Giants are back in the NFC East race. Let’s see how they got it done in Week 10.
The Savior Returns
David Wilson. Da’Rel Scott. Brandon Jacobs. Michael Cox. Peyton Hillis. That’s who’s been running the ball for the New York Giants this year. Wilson was a complete flop, and now may or may not have spinal stenosis. Scott and Cox didn’t get much of a shot, but they didn’t really deserve one either. Jacobs had one shining moment (106 yards and 2 TDs in Week 6 against the Bears) before suffering a hamstring injury, from which he hasn’t returned. Hillis performed admirably, considering they Giants plucked him off a ranch in Tennessee, but his contact-free fumble on Sunday might be a sign of things to come.
This is why Andre Brown‘s performance on Sunday against the Raiders could be a turning point for the Giants season. People have run for more than 115 yards and a TD. It happens all the time. Hell, Jacobs did better than that against the Bears. So why is Brown’s effort on Sunday so impressive? Try breaking your leg. Then, break it again. Then, in your first game back, try running into traffic 30 times. That’s basically what Brown did on Sunday. The original plan was to ease Brown back into some playing time. The aforementioned Hillis fumble changed all that, and Brown was thrust into an every down role.
Even getting back onto the field is an accomplishment for this classic underdog. Remember, he was cut something like eight times by seven teams to start his NFL career. To be able to overcome just that alone would be amazing. To dominate a game physically on the ground after breaking the same leg twice, and basically lead your team to victory, is remarkable. Thank you, Andre.
Defense Wins Championships
OK. Maybe that headline is a little ambitious. However, the Giants have climbed back into the divisional race, and defense is the number one reason why. The offense has been playing better, but Manning’s 12-22, 140 yard performance did not win this game. Neither the pick-6 he threw to Tracy Porter. You know what else didn’t win this game? Steve Weatherford‘s 30.3 yard-per-punt average. Or Peyton Hillis’ fumble. Or the opening kickoff that Jerrell Jerningan fumbled to put the Giants in an immediate 7-0 hole.
The Giants defense has now allowed only one touchdown in the last 14 quarters. That TD came on Sunday, after Jernigan’s fumble put the Raiders inside the Giants’ 5-yard line. If not for that, we’d be looking at 14 quarters without any major scores, as my friends in the CFL call them. I know the Giants haven’t exactly face top offensive opponents the last three weeks, but they’ve been dominating those teams, which is what good defenses are supposed to do. If it wasn’t for fumbles, interceptions and Special Teams gaffes, the Giants might have pitched shutouts the last two games.
The front line is finally putting pressure on QBs, which is making it a lot easier for the secondary, led by another great story in Terrell Thomas, to cover receivers. Thomas had a key goal line stop on Sunday, as well as a 65 yard interception that set up the score that gave the Giants a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Jon Beason has completely revived the Giants linebacking corps too. The defense has been very impressive.
Side note: The Special Teams actually did do something good in this game; Rookie Damontre Moore stuffed a Marquette King punt, and another rookie, Cooper Taylor, picked it up and ran it in for the first blocked punt touchdown for the Giants since 1988. That helped erase the 7-0 deficit from Jernigan’s fumble, so we’ll call that a push.
Keep It Going?
When the Giants were 0-6, Antrel Rolle said he thought the Giants could win out the rest of the year and make the playoffs. Now, that’s highly unlikely, but the fact of the matter is that the Giants probably don’t have to win out to win this division. They now have seven games left. If they can win six of those, I think they’re in for sure. They might even be able to sneak into the playoffs by winning five and finishing 8-8. The Eagles beat a depleted Packers team on Sunday (more on GB in a bit) to climb back to .500. They lead the division now, tied with the Cowboys, who got their asses handed to them by Drew Brees and the Saints on Sunday night. At 3-6, the Giants are 1.5 games out of the division lead. They are legitimately, somehow, still in this thing. Can they keep it going?
Next week, the G-Men play the Packers. A couple of weeks ago, I thought that was going to be the game that stopped this team from making the playoffs. That was before Aaron Rodgers broke his collar bone and backup Seneca Wallace injured his groin. The Packers are down to third-string QB Scott Tolzien, a rookie out of Wisconsin who had never played an NFL down until Sunday. The Packers are also banged up on defense, with Clay Matthews playing with a giant club on his hand. Green Bay is ripe for the picking, and the Giants will have to take full advantage to get past them in Week 11. At least the game is in New York, and not Green Bay though. That helps (although the Giants haven’t had too much trouble winning big games in Green Bay the last six years or so).
After that, the Giants play at home against the Cowboys. The Giants probably should have beaten the Cowboys in Dallas Week 1, so I feel pretty good about that one. After that, the Giants play the Redskins, who are also 3-6. I think the Giants have to win all three games. in Weeks 15 and 16, they’ll have to play Seattle and Detroit, which might be the two losses that make them an 8 loss team. They cannot afford to lose to a weakened Packers club. They also can’t afford to lose twice to the Cowboys, considering how close the two teams will be in the standings at the end of the year. Losing to the 3-6 Redskins is also unacceptable. The next three games, in my opinion, will decide the Giants fate. Let’s hope they can ride Andre Brown and the defense (with a little help from Eli Manning) along the way.
Featured image courtesy of: Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News
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