By Jason Keidel
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It's all in the archives. Before the season I said the Giants would be better than the Jets. When the Jets were 1-1 and Big Blue was 0-2, I stuck to my metaphorical guns. And thus started my feud with Fan Guy, who has been in full-throated fury since the gun fired on the 2014 season.
Then the Giants reeled off three wins and the Jets were swept into the dustbin of the AFC.
Then the Giants were vaporized by the Eagles, and I told Big Blue devotees to keep it calm; that they were 4-1 in the new, Lone Star enclave and would find their magical mojo just in time to salvage their season. Then, as they say in Chicago, they pitched a steamer in Dallas.
The Giants didn't just lose in Dallas. They came perilously close to closing out the 2014 season. They blew it in Jerry's World. And they're now officially limping, slowly joining the Jets on the road to irrelevance.
Because it doesn't get better. Next up are the Colts, who could very well go to the Super Bowl this year. Then they play the Seahawks, who won the Super Bowl last year. And then they play the 49ers, who have been to three straight NFC title games.
Oh, then they play Dallas again, which is playing its best football since the Jimmy Johnson dynasty. The Cowboys are lethal on offense, with a healthy DeMarco Murray -- who just broke Jim Brown's record for the most consecutive 100-yard games to start a season -- and an increasingly robust Tony Romo. And perhaps the best offensive line in football.
Even with that in mind, the Giants gave that game to the Cowboys, felled by the twin foes of Tom Coughlin football -- fumbles and penalties. For years we've seen the exasperated coach on the sidelines, hands on his hips, his open-mouthed horror after another flag flies through the air.
Penalties and turnovers can be addressed, especially if your coach is uniquely allergic to them, as Coughlin clearly is. Indeed, we saw him singularly fix Tiki Barber's problem and subsequently save his career. You're allowed to believe in Big Blue's pedigree. The coach and quarterback have earned your love and your loyalty.
In our ADD/MTV/Twitter world, where history was written in 140 characters, we so quickly dismiss recent success as ancient history. If you parachuted onto the five boroughs or beyond, you'd never know the Giants bagged two Lombardi Trophies since 2008.
To hear the overeager fan base, you'd think Coughlin were a fatuous fossil who was dug out of some farm, ready to be ushered to the nearest natural-history museum. And Eli Manning, of course, is always the country boy who never got Gotham, his Southern sensibilities just gulped up by our big-city palate.
If you're a Browns fan, you came by your cynicism honestly. (I will leave the other MetLife tenant alone, lest Fan Guy get on me.) But the Giants have bounced off the canvas enough times to prove they can do it again, even if the NFC is more robust than anticipated.
Assuming the Giants can squeak through those four games at .500 and emerge 5-6, they would then have to win their final four games to finish 10-6. And in the NFC crucible, there's no guarantee that 10-6 will come with a wild-card crown. That record would likely mean third place in their own division, with Dallas sitting at 6-1 and Philadelphia sitting at 5-1.
Then you have the Lions and Packers at 5-2. One of them will need a wild card. And three teams in the NFC West have a better record than the Giants. Assuming that the Cardinals win that division -- which is a big assumption -- the Giants will be battling both behemoths in Seattle and San Francisco for a playoff berth, as well as the Eagles or Cowboys.
Entering autumn of 2014, the Giants' schedule was considered quite easy. Out of 32 teams, the Giants' slate of 16 games was just the 26th-toughest in the NFL, according to ESPN. Doesn't look so easy now, does it?
The Giants need to split their next four games or they will split on the season. That's not up for debate. Not even the Giants can rebound from the depths this year.
The G-Men are always full of tricks and surprises, but they are out of miracles.
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