(Long Island, N.Y.) If we can judge by last season’s end result, there is nothing to be concerned about if you’re a fan of the New York Giants. This little hiccup during the middle of the campaign is just that – an aberration that will eventually right itself before the regular season ends and the team will qualify for the playoffs in one shape or form.
But it would be easier to do things another way for once, wouldn’t it?
With Sunday’s 31-13 loss at Cincinnati, Big Blue’s record fell to 6-4 as they head into their bye week. Nothing to completely panic about, but there are some glaring signs that should not be overlooked. Yes, they are still maintaining sole possession of first place in the NFC East, but their leader has been the biggest culprit of this recent swoon.
Eli Manning has not thrown a touchdown pass in three games and that is a stat that the quarterback hasn’t heard since his first year in the league back in 2004. But as unflappable as always, the two-time Super Bowl MVP did not take it too far when asked if he is worried.
“No, I’m not,” he said. “Every year we have gone through stretches where we haven’t played our best football and we were still able to bounce back. That’s what is going on right now. I have to start playing better personally and we have to as a group, as well.”
The fact that the rest of the division has had their own difficulties gives the Giants a little wiggle room for the occasional upset loss, such as this one versus the Bengals. It is an out of conference game, so that will not come into play for the tie breakers until way down the list. If the Giants take care of their divisional opponents, then they will have an easier path to the postseason.
Currently, they are 2-2 in the division after spitting with the Dallas Cowboys, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles and defeating the Washington Redskins. They face the Skins the first week of December and wrap things up with a home game versus the Eagles, who are both 3-6. So it behooves the G-Men to sweep those last two contests versus their rivals.
The schedule does not give the Giants any breaks, either. After the bye, they host the Green Bay Packers (6-3) and New Orleans Saints (4-5), while they have to go on the road to face the 8-1 Atlanta Falcons and 7-2 Baltimore Ravens.
Getting this turned around will not be easy and Victor Cruz doesn’t want to hear any comparisons to the lull the team was able to overcome in 2011. “That’s not something that we talk about,” the talented wideout said. “Losing games throughout the middle of the season is not something we are focused on as a crutch.”
Maybe not, and there is enough experience and talent on both the playing field and sideline to know what needs to be done. No crutch necessary.