Approach to the Game – New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens, December 23, 2012: Another season, another living-on-the-edge finish for the NFL Champion New York Giants.  With two regular-season games left to play, let’s statistically compare the 2011 Giants with the 2012 team:

  • Total Offense (Yards):  2011: 8th (385.1); 2012: 10th (364.6)
  • Points per Game: 2011: 9th (24.6); 2012: 6th (26.6)
  • Passing: 2011: 5th (295.9); 2012: 9th (249.6)
  • Rushing: 2011: 32nd (89.2); 2012: 15th (115.0)
  • Total Defense (Yards):  2011: 27th (376.4); 2012: 28th (377.4)
  • Points Allowed Per Game: 2011: 25th (25.0); 2012: 12th (21.7)
  • Pass Defense: 2011: 29th (255.1); 2012: 28th (253.7)
  • Rush Defense: 2011: 19th (121.2); 2012: 22nd (123.7)

I find these numbers very interesting.  They are remarkably similar except for two areas: (1) the 2012 New York Giants are better balanced offensively (more rushing yards, fewer passing yards, slightly less total yards); and (2) while the defensive stats across the board are among the worst in the NFL again, the scoring defense improved dramatically in 2012.

So the 2012 Giants have better offensive balance and improved scoring defense.

But also keep in mind where the Giants were at this time last season.  They were 7-7, having gone 1-5 after a 6-2 start.  The 2012 Giants have gone 2-4 after a 6-2 start.  Both teams got badly embarrassed in Week 15.  But both teams amazingly still controlled or control their playoff destinies.

The Giants can still do this.  But they are officially in playoff mode right now.  There is no more room for error.  They have to win every remaining game.  Can they find that magic karma that propelled them to a 6-game winning streak at the end of 2011 once again?  They do have it in them, but they have to raise their focus, intensity, and toughness.

What the 2012 New York Giants need to do is start winning the close football games again.  Screw BUILD THE BRIDGE.  The battle cry once again must be FINISH!  Finish every play…finish every series…finish every game…finish the season.

A few weeks ago, a 15-year old boy with cancer had to remind the New York Giants that they were indeed NFL Champions.  He asked them to play like it.  If this team is going to make a run, Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Corey Webster are going to have to carry this team like they did during last year’s run.  Yes, they need help from everyone on the 53-man roster, but the stars must start playing like stars again.

Eli, Victor, Hakeem, Jason, Osi, and Corey…whatever you have got going on in your personal lives, you are going to have to set aside for the next month and a half.  Yes there are wives, girlfriends, kids, Christmas, and everyday nightmares like Hurricane Sandy and Sandy Hook, but you have to compartmentalize those things and just be a FOOTBALL PLAYER.  Just for a few more weeks.  You are the ones who MUST carry this team.  If you don’t, I guarantee that years from now you’ll look back with immense regret over the tremendous opportunity lost.  Just remember the satisfaction you received when you held that trophy up or when you rode the float or when you slipped that ring on your finger.  The NFC and the AFC are not that tough.   You’ve already soundly beaten three of the most dangerous teams in the NFL.  You can do this.  This might be your last ride.  Don’t blow it.

Play like World Champions.