By Jason Keidel
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To many, this week represents a restoration to the status quo, a microcosm of the last 30 years, with the first playoff week full of sound and fury over the Jets’ latest inexplicable and inexcusable gag in a guaranteed Super Bowl run.
And you could almost hear the quiet chorus of the Giants and their fans chuckling while they taped ankles or made pre-game plans with friends, as Jets fans arranged their various voodoo dolls, chanting and cursing coaches and players who were sainted just six months ago.
Greg McElroy finished what LaDainian Tomlinson started: a screeching testimonial on Gang Green’s gangrenous locker room. Jets fans ran from the young QB’s novice assessment as the blather of a ‘Bama player who never truly heard the rhythms of an NFL team. But they couldn’t hide from a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer’s sketch of a wretched, me-first mantra that became the 2011 New York Jets.
I wrote two pieces on the Jets this week, because that’s all anyone wanted to talk about. And we had to put a proper postmortem on the evaporating dream Rex Ryan sold us so hard. I got a few stern emails from Jets Nation, assuring me this story was dead. They never told me why, but I suspect they just wanted it so and any more rigorous analysis would reinforce their already sagging self-esteem.
Only now may we focus on the Giants – the only Tri-State team still in the tournament – as they prepare to play the Atlanta Falcons. At least someone got us a game at MetLife. More than enough people and pundits will tell give you the X and O breakdown about safety placement and guard-pulling. My assessment is far less scientific.
I pick the Giants, if for no other reason than the reasoning from one of Mike Francesa’s callers yesterday, who essentially coined the Mannings the ultimate American family. The remark was spawned by a debate about Peyton, who has been plopped onto the rumor treadmill for the first time in his career. Now that the Polians have been pulled from Indianapolis, many speculate that perhaps the best quarterback of this generation will play somewhere else next year, what with his age and aches and Andrew Luck beaming from the Colts’ draft board.
All of this obscures what has been over a decade of fantastic football, started by Peyton and extended by Eli. Yes, Big Bro is better than his Big Blue kin, but Eli has his ring, and the call of colder air seems to imbue Little Bro with big-game qualities. Matt Ryan is a fine player in his own right, and the Falcons have the bruising running game and precision passing game that could give the Giants’ woeful secondary fits.
But I believe in the lingering karma from one of the few families we have that still gets it, that understands the talking is done on the field, that never acquired a posse, entourage, or some other phalanx of sycophants.
It will take more physical than metaphysical splendor to beat the Saints or Packers. But in a toss-up contest, on the frozen swamp, Eli Manning should be enough to defeat the Falcons, who, like the Jets, have been waiting an eternity for eternity, that trophy that stamps you once and forever as a winner. Broadway Joe was long ago. Just ask the Giants, if they were talking.
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Will the Giants do their talking on the field Sunday — or will a Big Blue dud drop at MetLife? Be heard in the comments below…