Silverman: Giants’ Playoff Fate Depends On Dysfunctional Lions
By Steve Silverman
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The circumstances that would get the Giants into the playoffs are not impossible.
For the edification of those who came late to class, the Giants can make the playoffs if the Lions beat the Bears, the Packers handle their business against the Vikings and the Redskins take down the Cowboys on Sunday night.
Oh, yes, the Giants must beat the Eagles with Michael Vick at quarterback. Interestingly, Vick has a record of 9-0 in road games against the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins.
Let’s get back to the dominoes that must fall. The Packers are playing for the No. 2 seed in the NFC. If they can beat the Vikings and Adrian Peterson, they will clinch a week off in the first round of the playoffs. That should ensure that there is no let-up and that they give their best effort.
The Vikings, competing for their playoff lives, won’t make it easy. But the Packers should win the game.
Check off box No. 1.
The Redskins have beaten the Cowboys once and are now playing at home in what is clearly the most important game of the Daniel Snyder era. This is a game that will give the Redskins the division title and give RGIII a great opportunity to win the rookie of the year award and get some support for Most Valuable Player.
Again, the Cowboys have shown a lot more than expected in recent games and they will push the Redskins hard. But if the game comes down to RGIII vs. Tony Romo, the Redskins should have an advantage. RGIII makes plays at the end of big game, Romo tends to get done in by his own failings or mistakes made by his teammates.
Check off box No. 2.
That brings us to the Bears and the Lions. This is the most difficult of the dominoes that has to fall. If you look at the Lions’ 4-11 and seven-game losing streak, you might say that it’s not going to happen.
But if you watch how hard the Lions pushed last week against the Atlanta Falcons – a far superior team to the Bears – you can’t completely write them off.
Start off with Calvin Johnson, the best receiver in the game. In fact, Johnson is a lot more than that. He is the second-best receiver in the last 20-plus years behind Jerry Rice. Johnson has the size, strength and reach that no receiver can duplicate and he also has the moves, hands and relentlessness to make big plays throughout the game.
Johnson is quarterback Matthew Stafford’s top weapon and he may throw 45-to-50 passes in this game.
Chicago is one of the most predictable teams in the NFL. You know they will play tough defense and their offense will almost always disappoint.
The Bears do not skimp in terms of effort. They play hard for Lovie Smith, who is probably coaching for his job. However, if the opposition scores a couple of early touchdowns, the Bears almost never come from behind to get the victory.
Check off box No. 3.
So the formula the Giants have to be hoping for is a couple of early touchdowns by the Lions. That will keep them from leaving Ford Field at halftime and giving the game away to the Bears.
It’s obviously a long shot, but this is not a hopeless case.
It could turn out to be a memorable day of football – especially if Detroit cooperates early in the day.
Do you think the Lions can upset the Chicago Bears on Sunday? Let us know below.