Approach to the Game – New York Giants at Carolina Panthers, December 10, 2006: Because the NFC is so poor, unbelievably, the Giants are still very much in the hunt for a Wild Card playoff spot despite their current four-game losing streak. And in all honesty, although unlikely, they still do have a shot at the division if Dallas were somehow to falter. Despite the heartbreaking loss to the Cowboys, many are optimistic about the Giants’ chances.
But keep one thing in mind – the Giants haven’t won in a month. Their margin for error – which they had impressively built up during their five-game winning streak – is virtually gone. They probably can afford to lose one more regular season game. After that, they’re toast.
The players and coaches keep killing themselves with their own mistakes. If this does not stop, my previous fear that the Giants will not win another game this year will unfortunately come true.
I’m not going to write about the Panthers this week. There are obviously some difficult match-ups for the Giants in this game on both sides of the ball. Most folks know that the Panthers have a tough defense led by their outstanding left defensive end, Julius Peppers. DE Mike Rucker can cause problems and LB Thomas Davis has the athletic ability to take Jeremy Shockey out of the game. Everyone knows that WR Steve Smith is a one-man wrecking machine on offense. WR Keyshawn Johnson provides them with a big target. QB Jake Delhomme may not play, but facing the back-up quarterback is not always a good thing for the Giants. The Panthers, while in the midst of a very disappointing season, are quite capable of playing with the best in the NFL on any given day. They are well coached and have played very well at times.
All of those things don’t matter.
What matters is that the Giants need to come out with the same emotion and intensity that they played with against the Cowboys. At the same time, they need to cut down on their own mistakes. If they do that, they will win the football game. If they don’t, then they do not deserve any shot at a playoff spot. There is nothing for fans to really worry about here. The fate of the team is in the hands of the players and coaches. It’s up to them. If they falter, they have no one else to blame but themselves. I’m not optimistic because the Giants haven’t played very smart most of the season.
Get it done. Find a way to win a football game. Live to fight one more day.