“They look like a .500 team to me. Of course… that could mean that they start 4-8, win their last 4 games… win the division crown on the basis of the 10th tiebreaker, then run the table in the playoffs, thereby creating the most unlikely dynasty in sports history.”
“(W)hen the season is on the line, (they) usually play like it.”
“That’s a lot of pressure for one team to handle. Sounds about right to me.”
“(They) made a huge statement last week… that being that they are still the champs, and that they can beat any team, any time.”
These are all things I’ve written the past two seasons about the same team, a team that has frustrated me perhaps more than any other when trying to divine the outcomes of their games.
Guessed it yet? No? Then here’s one more:
“A lot of people, myself included, have been waiting for the Giants to wake up and do that “Giants” thing they do, where they suddenly start playing like champs.”
My first season writing this column, picking Giants’ games was maddening; they’d play terribly, lose games I’d be sure they would win, then play a top team and kick their asses. In the playoffs that year, picked against them in the divisional round, NFC Championship, and Super Bowl. I needn’t remind anyone how that turned out (especially Pats’ fans).
Even after I picked the Eagles to win the NFC East last season, I still kept expecting the Giants to win. This season, even though they didn’t win last year, even though they didn’t look very good, even though they were rife with injuries, I still picked them to win their division.
I don’t know what else to call it, so I’ll just call it “The Coughlin Mystique.” I have complimented the man many times over the past two seasons, and I wrote in more detail last season about him. He’s a great motivator and a great coach.
So, even though I’m not a Giants’ fan, I find it a bit sad how low they have sunk. I’m afraid that in a sport where results matter, where memories of past glories are sometimes short, and where a no-nonsense coach wears out his welcome quickly when the wins are scarce, that this may be Coughlin’s last stand.
Which brings us to:
Giants at Bears
Chicago has had some really bad luck with injuries on both sides of the ball, but especially on defence. In the past, this is one of those games where I would expect the Giants to make a stand, capitalize on a favoured team’s weakness, and pull out an unexpected a much-needed victory. In fact, I picked New York to beat the Eagles last week for these same reasons. I don’t believe in the mystique any more. Not with this team. They look like they’ve quit on Coughlin. It’s a shame. Winner: Bears