We can say it now without hesitation: The Giants don’t deserve to make the playoffs. They teased us, sure — a 5–0 start, two wins over Dallas, last week’s dismantling of Washington that led us to believe that maybe, just maybe, they’d turned a corner — but, nope. This team (and this defense, especially) has no business playing for the Super Bowl. Had they somehow backed in — and wasn’t it cruel of the football gods to hang the Giants’ slim chances on Washington actually winning a game last night? — they would have lost in the first round, anyway.
There are plenty of reasons for this, but mostly, it’s because there appears to be no limit to how many points their defense can allow (or, on a related note, how many tackles they can miss). The Giants’ called-back touchdown and subsequent fumble on their first drive might have swung the momentum in Carolina’s favor early on, but allowing 21 points in a quarter — in a must-win game in which the team said goodbye to Giants Stadium, no less — can suck the life out of a team (and a stadium, and a season) faster than you can say “Jimmy Hoffa.”
It’s not quite time for postmortems yet: They still have to play Brett Favre and the Vikings next week, and there will be plenty of time when the season ends to discuss Bill Sheridan’s future as defensive coordinator (assuming they don’t fire him first). But, we can close the book on Giants Stadium. If only it wasn’t with a 41–9 drubbing, one of the worst losses in its history. So good-bye, old friend. Maybe the Jets will give you the send-off you deserve.