By Steve Silverman
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Another week and another crushing loss for the New York Giants.
Another day on the West Coast and another embarrassment for the New York Rangers.
Both teams started the season with high hopes. Both appear to be on a direct line to disaster.
The Rangers have played just four games of an 82-game schedule, so there’s more than adequate opportunity to turn this around and get back on a playoff course.
But the Giants haven’t tasted victory yet and they are competing with the likes of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Tampa Bay Bucs to see who will find a way to get into the victory column first.
The Giants, the team that turned itself around in 1981 after 18 consecutive non-playoff seasons, are lost. The quarterback has forgotten the first rule of professional football, which is to maintain possession of the ball. Turnovers are killers, and that’s not about to change.
Eli Manning is playing as if he wants to test that theory. Two early interceptions, one of which was returned 48 yards by Tim Jennings, put the Giants in a 7-0 hole to the Chicago Bears. A third, and even more damaging pick, came on the final play before the two-minute warning and essentially lost the game for the Giants.
Trailing 27-21, it seemed like the Giants were going in for the go-ahead score, but Manning’s pass to wide-open tight end Brandon Myers was too high. Myers went up for the ball, and it glanced off his finger tips and into the arms of Jennings.
The Bears had played as if they wanted to get the Giants in the win column. Their second-half performance was quite ineffective, as all they could put on the board was a 52-yard field goal.
The Giants defense, which couldn’t have been worse in the first half, actually came up with stops in the second half and gave Eli a chance to win. The near tearful Manning was filled with regret, but all that’s going to get the team is a very high draft pick next spring. Perhaps even the No. 1 pick.
While the Giants and Manning were playing giveaway, the Rangers were back in the woodshed taking another whipping.
Just two days after giving up nine goals – nine! – to San Jose in as one-sided a shellacking as you’ll ever see, the Rangers were seething to get back on the ice to make up for that performance.
They really showed how angry they were, losing to the Anaheim Ducks 6-0.
That’s how to bounce back from an awful defeat.
New coach Alain Vigneault has a team that is skating in sand and opponents are flying around and through the once-formidable defense.
When the skating has disappeared, even the best goalie can’t stop the puck. Henrik Lundqvist has a 4.29 goals against average and an .879 save percentage.
When Lundqvist looks around the locker room, it’s unlikely anyone is going to meet his gaze. The lack of competitiveness on the ice by his teammates is simply appalling.
There may be 78 games left in the season, but the Rangers don’t look like they are ready to do anything but curl up and look for a place to sleep.
Starting the season with an epic nine-game road trip is tough, but under different circumstances it could bond a team. Instead, the Rangers are breaking apart.
It’s not even Halloween and the Giants and Rangers are both frightful messes. The trick is on New York sports fans.
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