Excerpt: "Although the Cowboys and Eagles missed on late-game opportunities to make it a clean sweep for the division (after, frankly, a bad Week Five for the division), the Giants and Redskins both turned in statement victories in advance of their meeting in Week Seven.
What we learned: Anyone want to bet against the Giants as a repeat Super Bowl possibility? This might not be the week to do so. Coming off their most impressive game since the Super Bowl, the Giants completely dominated the 49ers (whom some hailed as the NFL’s best) on their home turf in a rematch of the NFC title game that was supposed to be the Giants’ comeuppance. Instead, the Giants are in nearly the same spot they were a year ago at 4-2 following a bounceback victory. The Giants certainly hope to avoid the topsy-turvy ride that followed, but if it results in another title, they would put up with it. Sunday’s across-the-board dominance in the 26-3 win proves that you have to consider the Giants one of the four or five best teams in football — if not the best.
What’s in store next: The Giants head back in the division for two important games, the next one against the Redskins at home in only the Giants’ third 1 p.m. start so far this season, which Tom Coughlin definitely will welcome. What he won’t welcome is the challenge of facing Robert Griffin III, who has given almost every Redskins opponent some serious issues. He burned the Vikings’ top-10 defense for 138 rushing yards and two TDs, including a 76-yarder to ice the victory, and passed effectively in Sunday’s win. Another thing to prepare for: Eli Manning struggled badly last season, which might have been his finest, against the Redskins with four interceptions and zero TD passes in two losses.
What the heck? The Giants cranked up their mothballed pass rush for six sacks. They had eight in the five games coming in. What gives? “The defense finally decided they were going to come out and play today, and they did,” Coughlin said. So what was different? Well, the Giants had used the same quartet to rush the passer in third downs and obvious throwing situations with Osi Umenyiora, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka. On Sunday, they rotated in Marvin Austin and Adrien Tracy and moved Kiwanuka around effectively. It not only resulted in the six sacks but it also sped up the clock of 49ers QB Alex Smith, who was picked off three times. “When he (Smith) threw the ball, we had corners and safeties right on the guys the passes were intended for,” Tuck said. “We got pressure on him. Even when we didn’t sack him we had guys in his face, which made it difficult for him to step up and throw the ball accurately.” Read more...