By Steve Silverman
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It’s no longer about analyzing talent and figuring out which team is best.
There are two weeks left in the season, and the Giants can’t look at the standings and say that they are better than the Washington Redskins or the Dallas Cowboys.
According to the standings, all three teams are equal with an 8-6 record. The Redskins have the tiebreaker advantage.
But the Giants are faced with the task of beating the Baltimore Ravens and the Philadelphia Eagles in the last two weeks of the season so they can get back to the playoffs and make another run at the Super Bowl.
As bad as the Giants looked against the Falcons on Sunday, they still have a chance to win another title. The Falcons were extremely sharp and they have clearly been the best regular-season team in the NFC.
While they should be able to win playoff games and make their own run at the Super Bowl, every time head coach Mike Smith goes to sleep, he does this knowing that no team he has ever coached has won a playoff game.
If the Falcons happen to host the Giants in the postseason, they won’t be able to bring any of the 34 points they scored on Sunday with them. They are a good team that is capable of changing their postseason resume, but they are equally capable of getting punished by a hard-hitting and physical team.
That’s just what the Giants are when they play their best football.
There are no distractions from this point forward. When they go to Baltimore, they will be playing a first-place team that is struggling. Despite their status, the Ravens got rid of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron prior to their home loss on Sunday to the Denver Broncos.
They have a quarterback in Joe Flacco who was considered on the cusp of becoming an elite player at the start of the season. He has all the tools to be among the best, but it has not worked out for him this season.
The Giants are playing a good team this week, but they are not playing a great team. The Ravens have issues, particularly on the defensive end. That has never been the case prior to this season.
The Giants will have to put the loss to the Falcons behind them. There has been too much winning over the years for this team to dwell on a bad game this late in the season. Tom Coughlin knows how to prepare his team as well as any coach, and that will help the Giants get ready for the Ravens.
But it is going to fall on the players. Eli Manning is going to have to play much better, and so is Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. A couple of early statements with the passing game will help the Giants feel good about themselves once again.
The defense also needs to play much better football. It’s time for Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck to do what they do best and pressure the quarterback. That means sacks, forced fumbles and batted passes.
This unit could not make a statement against the Falcons. It has to make a statement this week against the Ravens.
There is no question about the talent level and the ability to come out on top if they trade punches with the Ravens for 60 minutes.
However, they must show a willingness to engage that has only been apparent on an every-other-game basis in recent weeks.
The Giants have become difficult to figure out this season. What is your prediction for when the G-Men take on the Ravens next week? Let us know in the comments section below…