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Monday, January 7, 2008

We have reached the beginning of the competition

We spend all year following the team, the draft, the player moves, the holdouts, camp, the games... for this moment. Not the wild card round. The Divisional Playoff Round. You see, any piece of garbage can limp into or make the playoffs, as the Giants of 2005 and 2006 proved! This is where the playoffs really begin. This is where the dreams of a championship begin. Considering how many wild card teams have won the Super Bowl, it is not just about the bye anymore. If you use your momentum from the bye correctly, you can upend the #1 or #2 and shock the world. It can be done.

For the Giants, the (very close) loss to the Patriots makes it possible to believe. Without that game, there would be doubts lingering in all of us. But right now any Giant fan knows it is possible. Probable? No. Possible? Yes. The Giants are 3-1 underdogs this Sunday in Dallas. There is value there. If the Giants play this game 4 times, they will win it more than once. Maybe not twice, maybe somewhere between once and twice in 4 tries. It can happen. Lots of good things have to happen.

One of them may be happening right now. Click on Link.
Yes, TO's status is questionable. Since it is the playoffs, I think he will play. But even if he plays, if he is only 90% that extra 10% lost could be the difference between him killing us and it going down to the wire.

When one thinks of the Cowboys, it is easy to see how the limo ride they took to the playoffs is hitting a few potholes. They were lucky to get out of the Lion game with a last second win. They were outplayed by the Eagles in a loss. They took most of the game off vs the Redskins. TO is not 100%. Romo hurt his thumb. Simms remarks that teams around the league have caught up to their offense. The Cowboys are an excellent team, but the point is they are vulnerable.

Contrast that with the Giants. A come from behind victory over Buffalo in horrendous weather on the road. The Patriots revelation game. Beating a Tampa Bay team which had one of the best defenses in the league, despite a slow start and the loss of a few starters to injuries. The Giants are playing their best football at the most important time of year. They are an improved team from when they played the Cowboys Week 10 and certainly from Week 1. Has Dallas improved since Week 10? If they have, they certainly are not as improved as the Giants.

And then there is Eli Manning. His passer rating the last two weeks is the highest it has been the entire season. (See Link) With a 119 vs the Pats and a 117 against TB, he is finding QB religion. If Eli looks off one side of the field, scrambles for a first down, or pump fakes to throw off defenders one more time I may have to find Eli religion.

Throw in Bradshaw, Smith and Boss.

Anything is possible.

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