Coming off their Monday Night Football loss to sensational rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, and his Washington Redskins by a very close score of 17-16 the defending champs are now on high alert. Well at least in the eyes of NFL analyst, and many Giant fans. However this picture looks all to familiar to Big Blue nation doesn't it? Sitting at 7-5, and trying to hold on to a one game lead in the NFC East the New York Giants again have late season pressure on them heading towards the post season. Will we see another historic run at the Lombardi trophy? Or will we see one of the more dissapointing collapses to date for the champs.
That's a question you readers, myself, and NFL analyst can play with until the time comes. Until then the Giants Organization had one simple response to that very question of pressure. Head Coach Tom Coughlin was the man with the answer "We have to win literally every one of our games," he said, as reported by the Star Ledger. "That's how I look at it." Coughlin's words were in reference to the remaining four games left in the Giant's regular season. A tough 4 game stretch, perhaps the toughest in the NFL with New Orleans, Baltimore, Atlanta, and finally Philadelphia closing out the 2012 regular season. Tough as they may seem we have seen this road before for Eli & Co. as they have made it their calling card to pull of these scenarios as if they were scripted.
Still one would have to be concerned if Big Blue is their team of choice as they have some issues lingering. Injuries still plague this team as last week the team lost back up running back Andre Brown (broken fibula) who has been very productive for the offense to compliment starter Ahmad Bradshaw. Against the Redskins on Monday night another blow to the offense as starting right tackle Sean Locklear tore his ACL, ending his season. Locklear had done well pass protecting for Manning. Combine those key health issues with some of the most sloppy play weve seen from these Giants on both sides of the ball as we saw Monday Night, things surely need to change.
Now to play devil's advocate not everything we saw from the Giants in that loss was negative. We saw a very stout running game as Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for over 100 yards. We also saw sharp play from Eli Manning (20/33 completions, 280 yards, & 1 td) who did not commit any turnovers, was dissecting the Redskin secondary, and for most of the game controlled the time of possession keeping RGIII off the field. Hakeem Nicks, and Victor Cruz (5 receptions, 104 yards) especially seemed to be in regular form as well. The positives were there, but the negatives in the end out weighed the result of this game. If the Giants want to make that run, and stay on top of the NFC East there are 5 key factors for that to happen:
-Stay away from Penalties! (a lot of those offensive line penalties they committed killed drives during the game, one kept Eli off the field with less than 3 mins to play.)
-Prioritize the offense! (Offensive Coord. Kevin Gilbride received a lot of heat for running the ball more in the second half instead of giving Eli Manning more attempts.)
-Defense needs to tackle better! (Not only did we see poor tackling in the clutch moments of the Monday Night Game, but also in several others. Yards after contact is hurting this team.)
-D-Line has to get hot! (Everyone knows the focal point of the defense is the line. Monday Night not one sack was recorded, that can't happen during this stretch.)
-Focus! Focus! Focus! (More than anything this is the most important. The Giants secondary really should live by this, as they are tops in the NFL in giving up big plays.)
We'll see how things shape up for the Giants heading towards the most crucial time of the NFL season. Can they get their act together? Lets hope so as they prepare to take on the visiting New Orleans Saints led by Drew Brees. The Game will be this Sunday, 4:25pm at Metlife Stadium. On the FOX Network.