Better to burn out than fade away!

At what point do you start seriously talking about the offseason when the season is still going strong?  At 6-5, there are more than a few franchises that would give their left ___ (fill in the blank) to be in a position to vie for a playoff bid.

Howard Cross and Carl Banks said after the Eagles loss that it was time to panic.  Francesa said it would be over if/when they lose to San Diego.  Ultimatenyg declared it over after the Broncos loss, not because of the loss as much as the complete inability to stay on the same field.  It is one thing for the Giants to lose to Minnesota 41-17 before going on their miraculous run for a Super Bowl.  It is another to be uncompetitive vs THREE teams and be underwhelming vs three more.  Minnesota also cannot be compared to the three losses this season because Eli threw 4 picks that game vs the defense being completely porous this go-round.  Add the ATL game, which demonstrated that something was very wrong: the gmen gave up 31 points to a team without its star running back. 

The Giants ‘bounced back’ after those first two humiliating defeats to (at the very least) be somewhat more competitive.  Yes, that doesn’t inspire confidence.  Is this kind of “bounce back” what the Giants have in store for us vs Dallas?  A competitive game where enough things go wrong to give the Giants a ‘competitive’ loss?  On paper the Giants are capable of beating all of the teams we played except the Saints.  They are capable of beating the Cowboys.  One commenter has made that prediction, and considering the point spread only makes the Giants +1, it does indicate the Giants can win the game if they pull their collective heads from out of their behinds.  But it is important to note how wrong the point spread has been on the Giants these last 6 games.  The money is not adjusting fast enough to the new reality of underachievement when it loses 6 consecutive games vs the spread.  We were on record calling for a win AND a cover on the one game in the streak that the Giants won, but they blew a 14 point lead and needed the OT coin toss to salvage the win.

2) Going one step further, is it a coincidence or has the “Road Warrior” completely disappeared?  In these last 6 contests vs 6 credible teams, the three competitive games we referred to above were HOME GAMES with an average margin of ~4 points per game.  In the three uncompetitive BLOWOUT games where the Giants did not belong in the same stadium, the average margin of victory was 21 points (and that was actually being charitable to the Giants.. as you well know, it was worse).  ALL WERE ON THE ROAD.  Recognize anything? Not the 2007 New Tom Coughlin road warriors where the Leadership Council tells Tom that the players need to be fresh for Sunday on weeks where they travel. 

3) Wonder has a good summary perspective of the Dallas game and the Giants season:
a) OL must have a very good game
b) DL must have a great game, this being even more important than (a)
c) If DL has a great game then the Giants’ chances for a win are high  
d) If the Giants lose on Sunday their season is over
e) No matter what the Giants do on Sunday, they are not going ANYWHERE this season

That is a pretty fair and objective take on when it is time to pack your bags. 

4) Just because someone here says that the season is over does not mean they are jumping off or are no longer on the Giants’ bandwagon.  After the Atlanta WIN:

“Defense wins championships.  The Giants  don’t  have  a  defense.  Thus, they are a mediocre team that is going nowhere.”

We are not going to be celebrating some party when the Giants miss the playoffs.  As Pete likes to say, we hope we are wrong.  But we will remain sober at all times.  We’re simply saying that it does not pay to be optimistic about a turnaround.  If there is ANY sign of a turnaround, we’ll raise the alarms.  As Atlanta showed us, it will take more than a win to ring the alarms that the season is alive.  It will take effort, good offensive and defensive schemes and a good gameplan.   

5) Ed Valentine over at Big Blue View gave a good analytical breakdown of the individual performances inside the Offensive Line.  Our analysis of the analysis starts with this: assuming the data collection methods are consistent, the RELATIVE comparison of each player from 2008 to 2009 and the RELATIVE comparison of player to player are sound (obviously with the understanding a good guard can rarely play tackle).  These numbers are about as objective as anything we have seen.
Conclusions:
a) Seubert: aging and (repeating what Ed said, likely) playing hurt
b) Boss: bull market
c) McKenzie: starting position available, apply within
d) Snee’s downtick: IT’S THE SCHEMES
e) O’Hara: surprised

Ed’s conclusion is that the Giants need to run the ball more.  While I agree in principle, in practice the Giants are often behind in games and have little choice, especially by mid-Q3/Q4.  The Diehl and Boss improvement tells me that this underperformance also has to do with defenses figuring out the Giants run schemes.  If you add up the total from 2008, it is 55.6.  The total in 2009 is 44.1.  That is not a lot, spread over 6 or 7 people.  That tells me that the Giants may be winning the one on one battles but the defenses are making the tackles because they know the schemes. 

And like it or not, Jacobs boosters, but our punishing RB from 2007 and 2008 is no longer a punishing RB in 2009.  He is not punishing defenses in any of his first 12 carries.  The holes are not there, the punishment is not there, the success is not there, we have more down and distance situations calling for pass, so we run less.  Maybe we can run a little more when Gilbride is gone.  (You know, we can start by scrapping his tight formations on 3rd and short that don’t work… that’ll give us 3 more good running plays per game right there!)   

6) Wonder on the NFL- Which NFL team is under the radar?  We’ll put the answer in the comments section.  The hint is another followup question- they lost a cornerstone to their team in Week1, a Pro Bowler in 2005-2007, someone who Simms raves about with comments passed through on this blog, who is he? 

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