NFL morning after: A wild win for the best Giants team yet

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The Giants have won two Super Bowls with Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning and Co., and they’ve had three other playoff appearances since Coughlin became the coach and Manning became the franchise quarterback. But they haven’t had a team as good as this one.

This Giants team — the team that went to Dallas and won one of the wildest games of this NFL season against the Cowboys on Sunday — is the best Giants team yet, the most complete Giants team yet. This is the Giants team that has the best chance of standing apart and being remembered as not just a good team, but a dominant team.

At this point I can hear you saying that a great team would have put the Cowboys away easily on Sunday, rather than having to hold on to win 29-24 after taking an early 23-0 lead. And you might be right. I’m not here to argue that these Giants are a dominant team along the lines of the ’85 Bears. But the thing is, while the Giants have won two of the last five Super Bowls, they’ve really never dominated: They were 10-6 before going on a run in the postseason and winning the Super Bowl after the 2007 season, and 9-7 before turning it on in the playoffs again last year. Those were mediocre regular-season teams that played their best football in the playoffs.

In the regular season at least, this is a better Giants team. They’re 6-2 and they’ve outscored their opponents by a total of 73 points for the season, a huge improvement from last year, when the Giants were actually outscored by an aggregate score of 400-394 over the course of the season. This year’s Giants are getting big performances from newcomers like running back Andre Brown (who has 236 yards and five touchdowns this season), running back David Wilson (the first-round draft pick who is making a big impact on kickoff returns), tight end Martellus Bennett (who arrived this year as a free agent from Dallas and already has a career-high 334 receiving yards), receiver Rueben Randle (the second-round draft pick who got things started on Sunday with a 56-yard catch on the third play of the game), offensive tackle Sean Locklear (who arrived as a free agent this year and has started all eight games) and strong safety Stevie Brown (who signed as a free agent this year and was their best defensive player on Sunday, with two interceptions and a fumble recovery).

The Giants now lead the NFC East by 2.5 games and are about as close as it gets at the midway point of the season to being a sure thing to win their division. The big question is whether this will be the best Giants team yet in January and, if all goes well, in February. And if there’s anything the Giants have already taught us with the way they’ve played in the playoffs, it’s that being the best in the regular season doesn’t necessarily translate to being the best in the postseason.

But after watching the Giants over the first half of the regular season, would you bet against Coughlin, Manning and Co. in a playoff game? I sure wouldn’t. The defending champions look better than ever.

Here are my other thoughts on Sunday’s NFL action:

I guess Juan Castillo wasn’t the only problem in Philadelphia. Eagles coach Andy Reid fired Castillo as his defensive coordinator because the Eagles blew a lead against the Lions, but judging from the way the Eagles played on Sunday against the Falcons, maybe Reid is the one who deserves to be fired. In their first game with Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator, the Eagles’ defense got shredded in a 30-17 loss to the Falcons. Sunday’s game was a great opportunity for the Eagles to prove themselves as contenders, and instead they laid an egg.

What were the Steelers wearing on Sunday? If I tried my best to design the ugliest uniforms imaginable, I wouldn’t be able to come up with anything more hideous than that combination of tan pants and black-and-yellow striped socks that the Steelers tried to pass off as throwbacks on Sunday. Those weren’t NFL uniforms, they were rejects from the discount rack at the Halloween costume store.

Ho-hum, Tom Brady had a huge game. Brady has been so great for so long that it seems like no one even raises an eyebrow anymore when he does something like throw for 304 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 45-7 win, as he did on Sunday. Brady makes the spectacular look routine, and the Patriots are playing consistently great offense like no other team in NFL history: Sunday’s win was the Patriots’ 17th consecutive game with at least 350 yards of total offense, topping the Greatest Show on Turf Rams of 1999-2000 for the longest such streak ever.

DeAngelo Hall needs to knock off the bush league nonsense. Hall, the Redskins’ veteran cornerback, was ejected from Sunday’s game against the Steelers after taking off his helmet, getting in an official’s face, screaming at him and refusing to stop after being repeatedly told to go back to his sideline. Hall is in the fourth year of a six-year, $55 million contract. When you’re getting paid that kind of money, is it too much to ask that you conduct yourself like a professional?

It was nice of Matthew Stafford to show up. Finally. Stafford, the Lions quarterback who had a breakout 5,038-yard, 41-touchdown season last year, had seen a sharp statistical decline this season, and for long stretches in some of the Lions’ losses Stafford looked like he was sleepwalking on the field. But in Sunday’s win over the Seahawks, Stafford had his best game of the season, throwing for 352 yards and three touchdowns and also running for a score. If Stafford keeps playing like this, don’t count the Lions out of the playoffs just yet.

Stick a fork in the Jets. A week ago I was impressed with the effort the Jets gave in an overtime loss to the Patriots. But there was nothing impressive about the embarrassing way the Jets gave up in Sunday’s 30-9 loss to the Dolphins. At 3-5 the Jets are in last place in the AFC East, and they’re going to be out of the playoffs for the second straight year.

How much fun would Colts-Broncos be in the AFC playoffs? After both the Colts and Broncos won on Sunday, it’s looking entirely possible that we’ll see an AFC wild card playoff game in which Peyton Manning’s Broncos host Andrew Luck’s Indianapolis Colts. What a great story that would be. The only thing that could top that is Peyton facing his brother Eli in the Super Bowl.

52 responses to “NFL morning after: A wild win for the best Giants team yet

  1. The Giants are legit. At the halfway point of the season they are standing apart from the rest of the league and distinguishing themselves amount the best. Eli for MVP deserves serious consideration.

    Haters are always going to hate but the G-Men have laid the foundation for another run at the Lombardi trophy.

  2. Seriously?? The Giants are not that good. If anything Dallas gave the league a blue print to whip them. They should have lost. Their defense has major problems. There is no guarantee that they are even going to win the East. They are due for some losses. This is real premature to crown them. How about their offense yesterday? Manning was flat out awful. They got the win but to me their confidence has been shaken.

  3. While the 2012 Giants are better than the 2007 and 2011 teams, the 2008 team should have won it all in dominant fashion. They were matching Tennessee win for win as the best team in the league and reached 10-1 when Plax shot himself. They went 2-3 after that, but finished as the NFC 1-seed. They were clearly still reeling from the distraction when Philly beat them in the divisional round.

  4. As a life long Giants fan I am not sure how dominant this team is. There are still moments when we look like crap and could fall apart. I think for five years now we have started 6-2 and have collapsed in the second half of the season. The schedule doesn’t get any easier. There are no gimme wins on remaining schedule. This team could make a statement as one of the best teams of the past decade if they could repeat as Super Bowl champs. To me that would put them in the class of being dominant.

    Still need to get Philips and Williams back on defense. None of our LBs could handle Witten yesterday. Williams gives them that cover LB that can make plays.

    Still a lot of football to go.

  5. Is the actions of DeAngelo Hall that much of a surprise? The guy has been a tool since he got into the league, and it just never stops. Here’s to hoping that Goodell throws the book at him and not only fines the guy about $100k, but suspends him for six games or more. No excuse for his actions…..other than the fact that he’s an idiot.

  6. The Giants aren’t great at front-running. The more the adversity, the better they play. Hence why they always look better on the road. I think GB finally knocks them off in January.

  7. LOL this is the best Giants team? Well, I guess its possible since the 2 teams that won the SB were the worst 2 SB winning teams ever (10-6, 9-7) and just got hot/lucky at the right time.

    Usually the Giants play like crap during the regular season and get lucky in the playoffs. This year its been the other way around, so I wouldn’t go counting another Lombardi yet.

    The past 2 weeks the Giants have given up over 900 yards and 47 points in spite of getting TEN TURNOVERS!!! That’s insane!! If the refs don’t job the Skins out of 11 points and Dez Bryant clipped his fingernail, the Giants are 4-4 and this article is about what’s wrong with the defense.

    Keep thinking this is a great team… eventually the breaks are going to actually not go the Giants way.

  8. Agree roadtrip3500, as far as dominant Giants teams, the 08 would be the one. And as far as this seasons’ team, I know they have not shown the dominance that a defending SB should show, but that is just how the Giants are. I have quite gotten used to them being consistently inconsistent. Nevertheless though, I still like our chances.

    Regarding Hall, his actions are just inexcusable for someone in that stage of his career, been in the league for some years, and, more importantly, like the article said, getting the money he’s getting.

    YES, the only thing more attrocious than the Steelers uniform yesterday were the Skins performance (ta da da!), just kidding Skin fans.

    As much as I am from NY, I can honestly say that the one thing that really annoys me is the Jets consitent to give their fans high hopes in the offseason then to just flat out fail, again and again.

    I did see some of the Broncos-Saints game last night, as my wife is a Saints (Brees) fan, and I must say, Peyton looked as if he’s gotten his “swag” back. He, along with his team, looked really good last night. The same can be said of the Saints, if not for a few plays, they could probably have pulled another win out.

  9. It is very reasonable forthis to be the best Giants team in rcent memory. I know they have the superbowls….but in all honesty those teams were not great. They got hot at the right time when other teams were having troubles. Good team, right place, right time. Not great team. This team is better than those.

  10. I have to disagree about this Giants team being dominant, the 2008 Giants were a truly dominant team, they beat Pitt in Pitt, destroyed the Ravens and cruised till Plax shot himself. This team has not been dominant unless the media has said…they have no chance to win.

    With that said…while not as good as the 08 team they can still win the Super Bowl. And I as a Giants fan would prefer that to the 2008 team shooting themselves in the foot(literally).

  11. Since when have the Giants have great pass Defense? If the offense did a better job yesterday, not taking anything away from Dallas’s defensive performance, the Giants D may have performed a tad better

  12. @giantslucksack-
    You might be the most miserable person on this site and by far and away the biggest loser. As i said on my previous post when you went on your giants rant, how big of a loser are you that you create a name about the giants? You’re obsessed. Usually the first to post on Giants articles, trolling this site waiting for a Giants mention, forgetting to take your meds then going on a rampage. I have never seen such a person jealous of another team and making excuses. Yes, 2 lucky SB’s in 5 years, worst teams ever, especially bumping off an 18-0 team, 15-1 packers team, winning on the road in 07 in 35 below etc etc etc..Horrible team for sure. Ever occur to you in a season like last yr half their team was out and all got healthy at the same time and other football factors? You’re a whiney kid and bring nothing to the table. I can’t tell if you’re a redskins fan or cowboys fan, but either way you root for a loser. now take a deep breath, walk away from the computer and blow off some steam…Just become a giants fan already, you know you want to. also, what’s a “giantslucksack” ? you love them so much you create a giants name. we also love when you curse and bleep it out with ###. your comment on the other giant thread has over 300 dislikes, you obviously know nothing.

  13. Ok If Dez Bryant clips his nail and the Refs dnt “cheat the Skins” the Giants could be 4-4? So If Victor Cruz Makes his catch in gm 1 for the TD and if The Giants run the ball in Philly instead of throwing it up for Barden to get a PI, The Giants would still be 6-2. I mean we could do this all day.

  14. I loved the Steelers throwbacks (and yes, they ARE an actual throwback). RGIII didn’t know what hit him. The kid can throw the rock though, that’s for sure.

  15. Things are working out for them one way or another. The Washington game was close also. I don’t think there are really good teams out there these days. Eli is definately playing better and doesn’t get rattled when they are playing poorly. But to answer the question, I would take the Bears over them in a minute.

  16. thebadguyswon says: Oct 29, 2012 7:55 AM

    “I think you meant luckiest Giants team.”

    It requires a tremendous amount of skill to consistently be that “lucky”.

    Much respect to the Giants.

  17. looks like the steelers are going into giants stadium and dominate the giants defense, move the ball at will, control time of possession by a 38 minute to 22 minute margin and hand the giants a humiliating defeat.

  18. Winnng the Super Bowl is a mandatory prerequisite for any consideration of being considered ‘Great’. This years GMen have not done that. Yet. When they win it all again this year, even the most cynical fan must add these GMen to the ranks of Montanas’ 49ers, Bradshaws’ Stelers, Starrs’ Packers, Bradys’ Patriots as one of the truly great teams.

  19. What a freakin’ b00b! The best ever??? The Giants having won this one by the miracle tip of a finger are actually lucky they aren’t 3-5!

    They’ve lost to a below average Dallas team at home, lost to a below average Philly, needed a miracle to barely beat a below average Tampa Bay team at home, needed yet another miracle to squeak out a win against a below average Washington (again at home) and now this???

    Maybe God isn’t paying enough attention and is sending Tebow’s miracles to the wrong New York team, but East Coast biases aside, the Giants in no way are a dominant football team. Certainly not in the top 5 of the NFL right now much less the best Giants team ever.

    Ridiculous articles like this only make MDS’s other contributions less relevant in retrospect.

  20. What a load!

    You are saying that the Giants are better this year than last year, because their record is 6-2?

    They were 6-2 last year as well!

    Then they went on to lose 4 straight games – based on how the Defense is playing that could happen again… The Cowboys didn’t lose to the Giants last night, they lost to the Cowboys!

  21. So true on the Patriots. Funny how its the topic of the week when they ALMOST lose a game to the Jets, yet they absolutely annihilate a better opponent than the Jets on a different continent and its like it didn’t even happen. Pats haters are hilarious, and very quiet most weeks (because we always win).

  22. Watched the Steelers/Redskins game with a friend who is a life-long Washington fan and he would suspend Hall himself if he could. His talent level has always been limited by his immaturity. My buddy was embarrassed by Hall’s act to the point that he wondered if the Redskins wouldn’t be better off with Hall off the team and out of that lockerroom.

  23. I love all these Giants haters with their “if this than the Giants that”. Well, you can say that for any play/game in the NFL. Look at the overall season stats and you will see the Giants are a legit team that unfortunately has a tendency to shoot themselves in the foot sometimes.

    Look at all the turnovers they got yesterday, that’s part of the game. And yes, if they got 1 or 2 less turnovers they probably lose but you know what, they didn’t. I’m sure all those INT’s and fumble recoveries were just lucky; give me a break. Did you ever think that maybe Dallas came out intimidated and that’s why they were down by 23 early? Is intimidation lucky? Dallas gt it together and made it a game.

    I could argue that if the game was closer early on the Giants would have played a completely different game from play calling perspective and who know s what would have happened.

    And all the refs caused an 11 point swing in the Redskins game. Let’s not forget that in week 1 Cruz was clearly held on the goal line and dropped a pass. i could argue that the refs missing that call lost the Giants the game but I’m not. It’s part of playing the game.

    Just like last years Superbowl, if Welker catches that pass late in the 4th quarter the Pats have a great chance of winning, but he didn’t.

    Get over it folks or stop watching sports. Have any of you even played a sport competitively in your life?

  24. And not to mention Eli played like crap yesterday and they still one. He will egt back on track as he rarely has long streaks of poor play. And let’s not forget they are starting to get healthy (minus yesterday’s rash of injuries).

    Like Parcels said, you are what your record says you are and right now the Giants lead the east by 2.5 games.

    Also look at the points for/against in the east, the Giants are the only team in the plus. I guess that’s luck after 8 games. Someone needs to tell these Giants players to start playing the lottery.

  25. Eli played an Eli game and Tom Caughlin’s teams play good fundamental football… you have to play mistake free to beat them … They won’t beat themselves.

    Dallas on the other hand is a team that is again on the road to nowhere and as a franchise are the exact opposite of the Giants… The come into games undiciplined , unprepared, and make way too many mistakes… Until Jerry Jones gets over himself and brings in a guy ( and it aint Wade Garret) to run his team and hands over control to a real football guy… They will never win anything in this league… kinda pathetic and i feel for their fans becuase thay have the talent to be great.

    I am a Pats fan… I know a little about the Giants.

  26. This is the complete giants team? With great field position in 3 straight drive scored 1 offensive touchdown? And then let a deflated cowboys team back in the game? A complete team would have put the jones boys away In the first half.

  27. What a silly article…..Giants were dominated by a team without a running game ….they were given 6 turnovers and despite this were inordinately lucky to win….there are 5 teams who are better than Giants.

  28. @rockashar:

    Really, “GIVEN” 6 turnovers. What did Romo and company just hand the ball to the Giants when they got off the bus.

    This is why the Giants can win big games like in San Fran; I’m sure that was lucky too.

  29. As a Texans fan, I wake up in cold sweats thinking about facing the Broncos in the Divisional round. I’m sure if Manning had 5 monre minutes in the game in September he would have won it. Manning is looking as good as he ever has, and now he has a great running game again. Believe me, I don’t want to see the Bronco’s in the playoffs.

  30. I respect what the Giants did last year in the playoffs but this is a completely different season. It’s obvious the Giants are much like the Packers last season where all of the weaknesses are completely ignored and high praise is dumped on them. Everybody knows what was the end result.


  32. There’s not a team in the NFL right now that I’d consider the favorite in a game against the Giants. I don’t know if they’re the best Giants team in recent memory, but I know I never would have said that about them last year. They can look inconsistent over the course of a game, but they do what needs to be done.

  33. Dominant? You gotta be on the payroll. This is a Giants team that lost to these same Cowboys who came a fingernail from beating them again after turning the ball over 6 times. This is a Giants team that got beat by the Eagles, the Eagles!
    They barely got by Washington (who looked terrible this week), but they sure did dominate the Panthers and the Browns.

  34. With all due respect to your column and the author,The best Giant team I can recall and I’m only 65,so that leaves out the teams from 1956 back,was the 1986 Giants.14-2 regular season,then 49-3 against 49’rs,17-0 against Redskins and SB21 39-20 Broncos

  35. The 2008 team that started 10-1 would have put away Dallas quicker yesterday.

    Seems like these Giants are too dependent on 4th quarter heroics.

    Not dumping on them, but let’s not hand them the Lombardi.

    Let’s see what happens in November. Get back to me in December- if they have a good record, then we’ll look at their repeat odds well. Emphasis on if.

  36. worldchampsbaby: those who remember that 86 Giants team are getting fewer and more far between. This latest, great Giants squad has one thing the 86 team didn’t: Eli Manning, easily the top QB in football. Signed: SF 49ers fan first, NY Giants fan second.

  37. The Giants really should be 5-3 right now if not for the simply awful play of the Cowboys at times. Dominant teams don’t struggle to win games against terrible teams that can’t stop turning the ball over, like the Giants did last night.

    In fact, if not for two inches, this article might very well be about how the Giants, despite a 5-3 record, are in trouble.

  38. We have quality depth that no team has. We can win when playing from behind by more than one score (SF can’t — Alex Smith, HOU can’t — they’re not built to play that style of football, ATL has been down this poser road before, most recently in 2010, no one cares). The defense is healthier than it has been since Fewell got here, and lo and behold, they lead the NFL in takeaways, which is what he emphasized in his introductory press conference. That, sacks and bending, but not breaking, which was on display yesterday.

    Let there be no mistake, except the last INT that Romo threw, those were TAKEAWAYS, not turnovers committed by Dallas. As a former DB, Fewell finally has the depth to let his safeties run free, and Dave Merritt is all-world in prepping the secondary. It’s showing. When guys who were bums in college like Stevie Brown are looking like All-Pros, you know you’re doing something good.

    The thing is, Eli has not had a great game in quite some time. Missing tons of throws vs. SF, WSH, DAL, just imagine how it’s gonna be when he’s back in his full groove?

    Giants are the best team in the NFL. Barring injury, with the coaching and stability in place, they will have a very good chance to repeat. And I am glad to have a front row seat just a few miles away to witness it on TV and when I go to the stadium.

  39. I find it absolutely amazing that all of you so called sport writers that picked the Eagles to beat the Falcons now literally refuse to give Atlanta any credit. Every story is about how bad the same Eagles team you’ve been pimping for the last two weeks is. I guess you get more hits from bitter Philly fans and they are in your beloved NFC East, the division where noone but the Giants have done jack in years, but would it kill you to write ONE paragraph praising the Falcons?

    And here comes the obligatory “Falcons can’t make it out of the first round of the playoffs” line. So what? The Cowboys and Eagles can’t even MAKE the playoffs but you guys have no problem writing enough words to fill War and Peace about them each week. Your blatant trolling for hits is about to take away what was once good about this site…the fact that it was somewhat unbiased.

  40. The Falcons are a joke because they lost in the first round of the playoffs several years, yet the Cowboys and Eagles most likely won’t even MAKE the playoffs but noone calls them a joke. The Falcons went to the NFC championship game around the last time that the Eagles were relevant…yet to this day we have 50 articles about the Eagles and not one about the Falcons.

    And I’d say beating Philly on the road in a game that most picked them to lose is a game that matters, call me crazy. Either the Eagles are a joke and you should stop writing about them, or they aren’t and the Falcons won a game that mattered…can’t have it both ways.

  41. blu4l1fe says:

    I did see some of the Broncos-Saints game last night, as my wife is a Saints (Brees) fan, and I must say, Peyton looked as if he’s gotten his “swag” back. He, along with his team, looked really good last night. The same can be said of the Saints, if not for a few plays, they could probably have pulled another win out.
    I was at that game and about midway through the 4th quarter (before the junk time td) they showed the teams’ offensive stats. New Orleans had 163 total offensive yards. Tell me the last time that happened in the Brees era. He was nowhere close to “if not for a few plays” to a win. That was a dominant effort in all 3 phases of the game for the Broncos. At least watch the whole game before gracing us with your insightful analysis.

  42. I stand corrected, that was a completely dominated game by the Broncos over the Saints. And my comment was based purely on own opinion, not by any means an expert analysis.

    Unlike all the experts here with their if this and if that then the Redskins or the Eagles or the Cowboys would’ve won.

  43. @ patriotenvy,
    For once I will somewhat agree with you, you you would really take the Bears over the Giants?? Maybe, and maybe their secondary, but Jay Cutler is the most over-rated qb in the league and barely snuck by the Panthers. You’ll never see Eli call out his teammates, and Cutler does not have one strand of a clutch jean in him. He depended on his defense to beat the sorry Panthers. Get your stuff together, man

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