Playoff-bound Giants, Favre's troubles, T.O. and more
Posted: Sunday December 23, 2007 7:15PM; Updated: Sunday December 23, 2007 7:15PM
FOXBORO, Mass. -- Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we ponder what Bill Parcells thinks of his one-win Dolphins about now ...
There were no 52 passes this time. And because of it, the New York Giants own a 10th win and are going to the playoffs for a third consecutive year.
The Giants finally woke up and figured out they don't need Eli Manning to fill the skies with footballs in order to win. On a blustery Buffalo day made for running the football, New York stopped outsmarting itself by half and took the game out of the turnover-plagued Manning's hands.
The result? Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride called a game that made sense, letting New York ride the broad shoulders of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw to get the win it had to have. With Jacobs rushing for a career-best 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Bradshaw adding 151 yards in relief of the injured Jacobs, the Giants scored 38 of the game's final 45 points in their 38-21 win over the Bills.
After last week's 18 of 52 passing performance by Manning in that sloppy 22-10 home loss to Washington, it was only logical to stick to the ground at Buffalo. If your quarterback keeps getting you beat, don't let your quarterback beat you.
Manning still had his problems in the elements against the Bills, throwing two more interceptions and losing two of his alarming five fumbles. But with New York rushing for 291 of their 385 yards, not even Manning could doom a Giants team that can now afford to rest key players such as Jacobs (sprained left ankle) and receiver Plaxico Burress next Saturday night against undefeated New England. With wild-card-winning New York playing on the road in the first round of the playoffs (probably at No. 4-seeded Tampa Bay), that's a huge plus for the Giants' chances in the postseason.
Not that the road really intimidates New York. The win at Buffalo was the Giants' seventh in a row away from home, a franchise single-season record. New York hasn't lost on the road since falling 38-28 in Week 1 at Dallas.
And for all their troubles at times this season, with all the suffocating speculation about coach Tom Coughlin's tenuous job security, the Giants also deserve some credit for becoming just the second NFC team to make their way back to the playoffs for a third straight year. Seattle's the only other team that can say that.
Remember when Brett Favre couldn't win in domes? The Metrodome in Minnesota and Detroit's Silverdome bedeviled him for years. Favre doesn't struggle at those two NFC North locales anymore, but now he can't beat the Bears -- no matter where the game is held. Chicago has swept Green Bay twice in the past three seasons and is now 6-2 against the Packers and Favre in head coach Lovie Smith's four-year tenure.
For a guy who walked in the door saying nothing would be a higher priority than beating Green Bay, the Bears' longtime division rival, that's delivering on a promise.
As for Favre, there's got to be a little concern when you realize he's had his two worst games of the season in the past four weeks -- at Dallas in the Packers' Week 13 loss, and against the Bears, in a game in which he was 2 of 7 for 9 yards passing at the half.
Derek Anderson picked the worst possible time to rip off his first four-interception game of the season. The Browns quarterback has had a wonderful year, virtually coming out of nowhere to lead Cleveland to nine wins and the cusp of the playoffs. But if the Browns (9-6) somehow lose out to Tennessee next week in the race for the AFC's final postseason berth, Anderson's egg-laying in Cincinnati is going to haunt Cleveland all offseason. And it just might help sway the decision the Browns face at quarterback, where Brady Quinn awaits his fate.