Excerpt: "In a moment of honesty, several Giants players admitted last week that they’ve looked beyond the Washington Redskins. It’s not that they’re overlooking their Monday night opponent. They’ve simply glanced at their remaining schedule.
And they really don’t like what they see.
Beginning on Monday night, against the revived Redskins, there’s not a soft spot in the Giants’ remaining five games until maybe the season finale at home against the seemingly dead Philadelphia Eagles. They also have to play at home against the New Orleans Saints and make road trips to face two of the best teams in the NFL (the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens).
That’s why the two-game cushion the Giants (7-4) have in the NFC East is so important, and why they know they can’t afford to let it go.
“We’re not going to take (this game) and feel like, ‘If we lose this game we still have a chance to win our division,’” said Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora. “Because if we lose this game we might not win our division because of the teams we have coming up ahead.”
And that’s a problem because the Giants’ recent history suggests they’re at their worst when they’re not facing an actual must-win scenario. Sure, they looked like they got back on a roll last Sunday night with a 38-10 thrashing of the Green Bay Packers, putting them in position, as Victor Cruz said, to “put some space between us and the rest of the division and really be in a position to lock it up” with a win over the Redskins (5-6).
But they were in a similar spot almost a year ago, too, when they took seeming command of the NFC East with an emotional win in Dallas. They had a chance to virtually lock the division up long before the season finale.
Instead, they came home the next week and lost a passionless game to the Washington Redskins, 23-10.
“The lesson we got out of that was: When you’re playing a divisional opponent, it doesn’t matter what the records are, or what you’re ranked in the conference, or anything like that,” said linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka. “It’s always going to be a rivalry game.”
This one should be intense, and not just because the Redskins have won two straight games — both in the division — to salvage their season and push themselves to the cusp of playoff contention." Read More...