Excerpt: "As usual, I have nine strong takes on what's going on around the NFL in the latest edition of The Schein Nine.
1. They still might be Giants
"The Giants are paper champs." "Here comes another second-half swoon." "This team isn't going anywhere!"
Please stop talking. I'm getting a headache.
I know the New York Giants have set a precedent over the last few seasons of collapsing in the second half. I know their fans are nervous and the media elite is concerned about how the Giants ended the first half of this season with their worst performance of the year, blowing a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter at home against thePittsburgh Steelers. However, losing four games in a row last year didn't seem to bother the Giants en route to the Super Bowl. In fact, the players will tell you that the turning point was the Week 15 debacle against theWashington Redskins, after which they didn't lose again.
The Giants are 6-3. They are too well-coached, too battle-tested and have too much championship fiber and heart to collapse. It also doesn't hurt that the NFC East is the worst division in football. Folding up would be impossible for the Giants. They have Eli Manning. They have Tom Coughlin. That means they'll make the playoffs. And once they make it, their upside is to reach the Super Bowl -- and win.
Now, the Giants do have legitimate issues. Their passing attack hasn't had its usual sizzle in recent weeks; Sunday represented Manning's lowest passing-yardage total (125) in a single game in almost four years. Receiver Hakeem Nicks can't stay healthy, and when he's been on the field, he hasn't produced. The same goes for running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Offensive lineman David Diehl came back, but he looked like a recently injured player shaking off the rust.
However, I can't push the panic button based on what this group has accomplished. Victor Cruz has been dynamite this year, and while Manning has been in a minor slump, he's still elite, one of the five best quarterback in the game. I was stunned that the offense put up three three-and-outs in the fourth quarter against Pittsburgh last Sunday. Considering Manning's knack for late-game dominance, I have to believe that was a one-time anomaly and won't become a second-half trend." Read more...