The New York Giants’ playoff hopes are on the line in week 14. A loss tonight to the Dolphins will essentially end the G-men’s season.
By Gregg Cambareri
Win, or pack it in. The New York Giants will either hold their ground amid the top of the NFC East, or virtually go on life support with three games left to play. That all depends on tonight’s outcome in South Florida, as they go to battle with the Miami Dolphins.
Big Blue has already seen rivals Washington and Philadelphia pull out wins this past Sunday, and needs a “W” to keep pace. This game will either be the beginning of a December to remember, or put the Giants in full on panic mode, as the 2015 season winds down.
If the G-men were to emerge victorious tonight, they would take much needed momentum into next week’s showdown with undefeated Carolina. If you think the Panthers are going to take it easy next week because they’ve already wrapped up their division, and a likely first round bye in the playoffs, then you are mistaken. Carolina is still fighting for the NFC’s top seed and home field advantage. They also have a rare chance at finishing the season undefeated, and won’t make anything easy for the Giants next week.
A win this week would snap Giant’s three-game losing streak, and give them a confidence boost moving forward. They’ve already proven they can hang with the NFL’s elite (see the New England game), but need a reason to get fired up next week. A win tonight and a tie for the division lead seems like it might do the trick. Although the Giants still have some work to do in their divisional tie breakers, they can only focus on overall record at the moment.
However, a loss would be too crushing to bear. If Big Blue were to drop their fourth straight game, the season might be finished. A demoralized group will be no match for Cam Newton and company next week. This isn’t to say Tom Coughlin’s men won’t be prepared, but a 5-8 team facing off with a seemingly unstoppable force doesn’t seem to stand much of a chance. This makes tonight’s game all the more important.
Worst of all, the Giants could very well be wasting >Eli Manning‘s prime. He’s on pace for another 4,000+ yards and 30 or more touchdowns kind of season. He’s doing it with only one legitimate weapon in Odell Beckham Jr. and an average offensive line, at best. The organization has been blessed with a franchise quarterback, and failed to surround him with enough talent to be competitive in recent seasons. Yes, injuries have been exceptionally high, but the lack of depth is glaring. The two Super Bowl runs will always be revered, but you can’t help but wonder what-could-have-been, while the Patriots dynasty continues to thrive.
Other than the Giants’ playoff dreams, Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese could be fighting for their respective jobs. Three straight losing seasons and four straight without the playoffs, will not be acceptable for the Mara and Tisch families.
There’s little doubt that this team lacks talent in several key areas, but there’s no reason not to take such a weak division. Dallas’s major injuries, Washington’s inconsistency, and Philadelphia’s Chip Kelly fiasco have provided the Giants with an opportunity that they cannot squander. However, losing several games in the final few minutes, blowing double digit leads in the fourth quarter, and beating themselves on multiple occasions, do not equal playoff caliber teams.
It’s incredible to think they have a shot at a division crown in the first place. It’s even more incredible to think they’re just a few plays away from being 10-2.
Nonetheless, it’s do or die tonight in Miami.
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