The New York Giants find themselves in a similar position to 2011. Own December, and the division could be in reach.
By Gregg Cambareri
The New York Giants can be described in only one word thus far in 2015: enigmatic. Following their most spirited performance of the year in a loss to New England, they laid a proverbial egg in Washington last Sunday. How they went from going toe-to-toe with the league’s elite, to being embarrassed by a team they thumped earlier in the season, has left many fans scratching their heads. It seemed as if they didn’t take Sunday’s game seriously.
However, the championship team from 2011 holds many similarities to the 2015 bunch. Well, at least it does to this point. Giants fans, there’s still hope.
At this point in 2011, the Giants stood at 6-5, just a one game difference from this year’s team. A win would put the 2015 Giants at 6-6, in the same exact position the 2011 team was, with four games remaining.
In 2011, the Giants turning point came in a victory over the rival Jets, which sparked them to a division title and that oh so memorable playoff run, capped with a Lombardi Trophy. Fittingly, the Jets are next up this Sunday.
Think back to 2011. The Giants entered the Jet game after a deflating loss to none other than… the Washington Redskins, the same team that dropped Big Blue last week. Irony? One may argue yes. One may disagree. But neither can deny the fact that both situations are too similar in nature.
Just 8 members of the 2011 team (some of which are already on IR) remain on the current roster, not including head coach Tom Coughlin. Those players surely remember that run, four seemingly long years ago, and would be wise to reflect on it for guidance.
Okay, there are plenty of obstacles left in the way for this Giants team to replicate the success of the 2011 squad. They have a much tougher remaining schedule than Washington, injuries left and right, and a glaring inability to finish games. Lacking the tie breaker (divisional record) with the ‘Skins also doesn’t help. No great team has ever won anything without overcoming adversity, though.
Say what you want about how embarrassing the NFC East is, and how it won’t matter who wins the division because blah, blah, blah. Many people thought the same thing in 2011 and we all know how that ended. The NFL has become a league where 8 or 9 wins (or fewer) can sneak you into the playoffs (see 2010 Seattle Seahawks and 2014 Carolina Panthers). It has also become more common for lower seeded teams to make a run deep into January. The lackluster 8-8 record that this year’s NFC East champion might possess won’t mean a thing once the playoffs begin.
There is a very realistic chance the New York Giants fail to make the playoffs for a fourth straight season.
However, one thing is certain: no team is going want an opponent consisting of Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin. If history has taught us anything, it’s that your regular season record means nothing.
So, do the boys in blue have another run in them? Only December knows.