Once upon a time, it was thought that the Giants’ October game against the Saints could be their most important of the year: Since both teams would cruise to playoff berths, they’d be playing not just for NFC bragging rights but also potentially for home-field advantage. On that day, the Giants began a free fall we are only comfortable declaring over after last week’s win over Dallas. Which brings them to their new biggest game of the year: At home, against Philly, on national television, and with major playoff implications.
Depending on what happens Sunday, three teams have a chance to finish Week 13 atop the NFC East. (The Giants would, for the time being at least, hold the tiebreaker over Dallas and Philadelphia with a win Sunday; all the scenarios can be found here.) The Giants are coming off their biggest win of the season against Dallas, but more importantly, the defense is coming off its best game in quite some time. They held Dallas to just 45 yards on the ground and protected a fourth-quarter lead.
In the teams’ previous meeting (the one you may have missed because it was just hours before — and steps away from — game four of the World Series), just about everything went wrong for the Giants: Two Eli Manning interceptions, plus a pathetic defensive effort led by an ineffective secondary, equaled a 40–17 spanking.
The season’s on the line, once again. A win, and you’d have a hard time arguing that the Giants don’t deserve a playoff spot. A loss, and you’d have a hard time arguing that they do. That’s how much is riding on this game. There’s no baseball to steal your attention this time. The whole country, in fact, will be watching.