It was around 3:43 last Sunday, December 19, when the Giants fell off the cliff. We know this, but it’s still worth remembering just how much has gone wrong in that time. Since Kevin Boss caught an eight-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning to give the Giants a 31–10 lead over the Eagles with 8:17 left, lots of things have gone wrong. In the wake of the Giants’ 45–17 implosion in Green Bay yesterday, everything has collapsed in the worst possible fashion.
It’s really this basic:
Since that Boss touchdown, opponents have outscored the Giants 73–17. 73–17. And the Giants playoff seed has gone from No. 2 in the NFC to out of the playoffs entirely. It is as precipitous a drop as could be imagined. It might just cost Tom Coughlin — who just won a Super Bowl 35 months ago — his job. And it has made fans question everything.
The whole enterprise turned upside down yesterday, with the Giants turning the ball over a shocking six times. (After the game, Coughlin, whose team has been tortured by turnovers all year, looked like a man who has watched his spouse relapse into addiction so often they’ll never believe in them again.) For all the talk that the Giants had forgotten about what happened last week, they were down 14–0 before anyone could catch their breath.
What was most disturbing about the loss was that the Packers looked so much better than the Giants, start to finish: The six turnovers were the story, but this was a game between two teams that desperately needed to win to make the playoffs. The Packers were the only team that appeared to deserve it.
The Giants are not out of the playoffs yet. Their fans need to root like crazy for the Falcons over the Saints tonight. If the Saints win tonight, the ONLY path the Giants have is beating Washington and having the Packers lose at home to the Bears. (It’s in the Giants’ interest for the Eagles to beat the Vikings tomorrow night by the way; an Eagles win would mean the Bears would still have an impetus to try to win, considering they’d have a No. 2 seed to play for.) If the Saints lose to the Falcons, the Giants have to win and have the Packers lose to the Bears OR the Saints lose to the Buccaneers in Week 17. (If they both lose and the Giants win, the Giants actually earn the optimal No. 5 seed, against whomever wins the sad NFC West. Everybody wants that spot.)
But considering the last 68 minutes of football the Giants have played, talking about the playoffs seems stupid. They should probably stop giving up more than a point a minute first.