Monday, December 22, 2008

Yo, Meathead!

It sure has been a busy holiday season! Hope everyone out there is having good holidays!

So here we are right before the last week of the NFL regular season. Before their stunning overtime win against Carolina yesterday, the Giants had dropped two straight games to division rivals, and both offense and defense looked punchless against the Eagles and Cowboys. Yes, the whole Plaxico Burress situation brought Big Blue’s confidence and offensive ability down a notch, but I think too many people discount the injuries to the team that have held them in check a little for the last couple of games. Regarding the defensive line—yes, Matthias Kiwanuka and Justin Tuck are great pass rushers, but in my opinion, the two defensive tackles, Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield do not get their due, and when Robbins was out two of the last three games with a shoulder injury, the defense definitely suffered.

But the injury that might have cost the Giants the most (and kept their attitude in check) was running back Brandon Jacobs. Without Jacobs or Burress against Dallas, the Cowboys defense took it to the Giants. This week, Jacobs’s return paved the way for 301 rushing yards—the most in 49 years for the Jints—215 by Derrick Ward. The fact is that in order for the Giants’ rushing attack to be at its best, they need the use of all three members of the “Earth, Wind, and Fire” backfield. Though Jacobs had only 80 yards compared to Ward, it is his presence that softens up the defense and lets Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw do their damage.

Now the Giants have the top seed in the NFC and home-field advantage throughout the postseason, and the Cowboys are barely clinging to playoff life after losing to Baltimore on Saturday. Even though the ’Boys have a chance, is there really anyone who thinks they can win the Super Bowl? After giving up two touchdown runs of 77 or more yards in the final 3:50 of the game against the Ravens? I think not! Even though Dallas beat the Giants last week, I’d bet the Jints could handle them easily in the cold at Giants Stadium if the two teams actually met up in the postseason.

The G-men just need to stick to the ground game in the cold weather and let Eli Manning carry them when he has to, and they should be ready to make another run. Also, the defeat of Carolina may play on the Panthers’ minds if they meet the Giants in the playoffs. Of course, anything can happen on any given Sunday (or Saturday), so you never know what could happen, but I feel pretty confident that the Giants will be right there in the conference game, challenging to make their second straight appearance in the Big Dance.

SEASONINGS: I just have to comment on the Mets’ hot-stove league signings of J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez. After all the Mets’ meltdowns in the late innings last year, these two guys could go a long way toward finishing games for the bullpen. But I read that K-Rod is actually looking forward to the boos that might find him at Citi Field if he falters, and he plans on using them for any needed motivation. Yeah, right! I’ve seen better men than K-Rod felled by the fans’ antagonism at Shea—it will be no different at the new park. And while I hate the fact that Mets fans boo their own players during tough times, I can’t see that playing in a new park will keep fans quiet if the Mets stumble. Good luck, J.J. and Frankie!

Something else I just have to mention—does anyone remember how I bashed the Chargers for signing Norv Turner as coach and the Cowboys for signing Wade Phillips in the same capacity? These two teams are coming up far short of expectations this year, and both coaches are rumored to have the ax hanging overhead. No surprise! Turner has taken his very talented team nowhere—he does not have the strength of personality to ever succeed as anything more than an offensive coordinator—and no way can Cream-Puff Phillips handle all the massive egos the Cowboys have gathered together and called a team. Could anyone have seen it coming? “Yo, Meathead!”

Lastly, in response to Ed’s Super Bowl prediction, below, what else can I say after singing the Giants’ praises all season? Even though I am always reluctant to make predictions, Ed, ya talked me into it! I think it will be Giants–Steelers, and of course, Big Blue will win!

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