On one hand, last night was a Bonus Giants Game! At 7 p.m. on a Monday night, a perfectly reasonable time to watch a professional football game, the Giants played in a goofy place (Detroit) against a battered team ready for their season to end (Minnesota). It was an ideal football-viewing environment. And then Brett Favre was scratched, ending his 297-consecutive-game starting streak, and the whole night turned into a cavalcade of old Favre highlights, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman waxing rhapsodic — because that’s something that has been in short supply in Favre’s career, middle-aged white men talking about how great he is — and shots of Favre looking bored and miserable on the sideline, like he’d rather be anywhere else on earth. It turned into once more — one last, really — Favre-a-palooza.
What Giants fans lost in the optics and experience of the game, they certainly gained in the execution: The Giants stomped the Vikings 21–3, running all over them with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw, and knocking out another Vikings quarterback.
We’ll say this: Nobody looks more dominant over collapsing teams than the Giants. Over the last two weeks, the Giants have beaten the Redskins and Vikings by a combined 52–10 score, running for a combined 410 rushing yards. They simply trampled both teams; Eli Manning hasn’t had much to do in two games. (Considering he has thrown three interceptions on those two games, maybe that’s for the best.)
The game was strange all around to watch, largely because of its odd venue (Ford Field) and the sense of history (Favre’s sitting) surrounded by a dull, plodding game in front of a crowd that had no pressing rooting interest in its outcome. It was almost a wax museum of a game. Which is fine, as long as it ends with a win.
To bring you back to Ye Olde Fun Playoff Machine, if the season ended today, the Giants would be the sixth seed, playing Philadelphia in the first round. But that of course will be shifted all around by next week’s massive Eagles-Giants tilt in East Rutherford, which is not being flexed to the Sunday night game, which means it’ll be merely “freezing” rather than “apocalyptic.”
If the Giants can win out, they’ll have the No. 2 seed in the NFC and be in an excellent position. Getting past the Eagles is the first, and maybe the biggest, obstacle. They’ve had two weeks to coast. Now comes the serious business.