What upside do the Giants have in the playoffs? A lot. Glenn Warciski spoke with Derek Pease of Any Given Sunday about how the Giants are playing better in the nick of time.
Why is there so much upside, given the problems the Gmen had this season? Because of many factors which we have to list:
1) The Giants have played down to and up to the level of their opponent. In the playoffs, that means no opponent will (or should) be taken lightly, so we expect the Good Giants...the one that was able to focus and play for 60 minutes vs the likes of the #1 seeded Patriots and #1 seeded Packers earlier this year.
2) Justin Tuck. He is not 100%, but he is much healthier than at any point since the beginning of the season. The healthier he is, the more realistic the Giants chances. In any game.
3) Osi Umenyiora. See Tuck in (2) above.
4) Antrel Rolle. He backed up his coach after the Washington loss and gave some players a tongue-lashing. The players responded to him. That element of leadership was missing. If it has surfaced here and now, good!
5) Fewell less zone and more man coverage. Fewell less off and more press coverage. We keep talking about it, whether it is 2010, 2011, or now in the 2011 playoffs. More pressure means more chance for wins. We have seen more of it vs Dallas and the Jets, so let that trend continue. Fewell can keep his job for all he wants if he has figured it out and does not go back to that Tampa 2, which simply does not fit our personnel.
6) Gilbride small ball. This doesn't mean you can't go deep. It just means giving Eli the opportunity to get into a rhythm more of the time.
7) Four 1-game seasons. Anything can happen. The Giants were not going to beat Dallas in the 2007 playoff game until Flozell Adams went down in Q3. He returned, but by that point Osi was getting much more pressure on Romo and the game was changed. The Giants got many good breaks in that game, including (a) two defenders taking the wrong angle on Toomer on his 50 yd TD in Q1 (b) the Eli TD at the end of the half (c) Crayton and Owens drops (d) Crayton cutting off his route in the end zone on the final drive etc.
8) Eli Manning and the Giants offense. Eli Manning has matured and played his best season as a pro. If Nicks and Ballard are physically aok, Eli Manning can stretch any defense that is in the tournament. In the 21st Century NFL, you need to pass the ball. The Giants have the 5th rated passing offense.
9) The Green Bay Offensive Line. Yes, let them beat the Falcons first. But if you'll permit us to get ahead of ourselves, the Giants DL can get matched up vs a 15-1 Packers team with an injured OL. Shock the world. Dream. RT Bulaga is hurt, RG Sitton is hurt, LT Clifton was banged up. C Wells is hurt too. Sitton is their best OL in terms of consistency and there are question marks about whether he can suit up.
It's the playoffs. It is time to get greedy. Anything can happen. Play the games. GO GIANTS!