Giants-Raiders — Super Bowl Sunday.
Super Bowl? Sunday? November 10th? The 2-6 NY Giants versus the 3-5 Oakland Raiders? Are you kidding me? Okay, maybe the Giants Raiders game this coming Sunday isn’t the Super Bowl. Maybe it isn’t even a playoff game. Okay. Fine. Maybe there are no maybes about it. I’ll tell you this, though: it feels kind of like that. I mean; two weeks of waiting for them to play the most critical game of the season, feels a little like the anxious two-week wait before the Super Bowl.
And this coming game is potentially just as final as the Super Bowl: if the Giants lose on Sunday –- and given their horrific start, that’s not far-fetched — the season will be over and they’ll have to start plotting the 2014 draft and free agency. That’s what happens when a team starts out 0-6. They put themselves in a hole and spend the rest of the season trying to dig their way out of it. Every week becomes do or die, because another loss and they’re over the edge and down into the abyss. It’s strictly, survival mode from that sixth loss forward. Which is why this Sunday’s game — snicker if you want to -– is a little like the Super Bowl.
So, while this coming Sunday isn’t really life and death to anyone else in the civilized world, it’s definitely a do or die situation for Big Blue. And that’s what makes this coming Sunday’s game so much larger than just the ninth game of the season. In a very real sense, it could be the last game of the season. Given the importance of the game, the question is: can the Giants win this Sunday? And the answer is: of course, they can. But that just begs the question: will they win this Sunday? And the answer to that question is a definite –- maybe.
They’ve got a good chance if they continue to play a less flamboyant type of offense, including shorter drops and quicker passes. And if they continue to employ a north/south running game to protect their shaky ‘O’ line and set up the play-action passing game, and they continue to play an attacking defense to protect their suspect secondary; then, yeah, sure, they can win. But if they forget who they are, and how they got to this point, and who they were for the first six games — and revert to “bombs-away” on offense and “read and react” on defense — it could be a very long day and an even longer winter.
So, which Giants team will show up on Sunday? The smart, conservative, power running, quick passing, attacking defense of the previous few weeks? Or, the 0-6 team that couldn’t get out of their own way? To paraphrase Rhett Butler, in Gone With The Wind, “Frankly, my dear, I have no damn idea.” Do you?