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The Giants’ Late-Season Push Must Start This Weekend

Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants scrambles as he is being chased by Ryan Kerrigan #91 of the Washington Redskins in the third quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 3, 2012 in Landover, Maryland. Eli Manning.

Eli Manning and his Giants now have a reputation for "flipping the switch" at the last possible second. They start fine, flunk the middle of the season, then pick it up down the stretch, winning just enough to make the playoffs and wreak havoc. I think a lot of us expected that Monday night loss to Washington because a win just wouldn't allow the usual teen-week drama to ensue. With that defeat, they're left hanging onto first place in the NFC East by a thread (they're up one game on the Redskins and Cowboys), scoreboard-watching as they play a final four games they really need to win.

And if New York needs all or most of their last four, they really, really need Sunday's matchup with the Saints. New Orleans's offense, piloted by Drew Brees, is productive, if a little reckless, but their defensive is absolutely miserable. They give up the run, they give up the pass, they'd probably give up putting the ball on a wallaby's pouch and setting it free to hop down the field if you tried that. The Giants haven't been able to bother quarterbacks the last couple weeks, and if they can't get to Drew Brees, they run the risk of getting lit up a few times (which, historically, has been the case with Brees), but against that defense, it shouldn't be anything they can't overcome. Shouldn't.

Is this the year the Giants fail to "flip the switch"? Perhaps, but they seem due at least for bounce-back at home, right? Right? Giants 34, Saints 24.

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Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images