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this week's game

The Giants Can’t Allow Tiki Barber to Be Right

It's probably too early for must-wins — the Giants haven't played a single divisional game yet, after all — but math is math: Start the season at 1–3, and you'll be chasing someone (and probably a couple of teams) all season long. But a 2–2 start? They can build off of that: The Indy game was a disaster, but they're surely not as good as the Colts. Then they improved in a lot of areas last week, but killed themselves with penalties. So tack on a win over the 3–0 Bears, in prime time, and things suddenly don't look so bleak.

The Giants got some good news when Mario Manningham was cleared to practice yesterday (though we'd be lying if we said we weren't interested to see preseason sensation Victor Cruz). And this week's certainly been less eventful than last week, which gave us not only Antrel Rolle's radio interview but Brandon Jacobs's apologies. Tom Coughlin — whose job security will be questioned more than ever if the Giants drop a third-straight game — even found a defender in Bill Parcells.

A win Sunday doesn't mean that questions about Coughlin's job will cease for good, or that the Giants should be considered a contender for anything. But it keeps them in the early season picture. After last week's penalty-fest, professional Giants criticizer Tiki Barber said Coughlin's control of the team was slipping away. But the Giants have proven Barber wrong before. This would be an excellent time to start proving him wrong again. Because really, who wants him to be right?

Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images