GREEN BAY—This is familiar territory for the Giants. Twice before, they’ve rallied to win it all.
A Giants team that began this season 0-6, has won its last three games and is back in the NFC East title race. Can they rally to make it into the playoffs?
The answer to that question is seemingly yes, they can do it, because they’ve done it before. That’s exactly what they did two years ago, and the Packers were the eventual victim of that late-season rally.
Another resurrection under Tom Coughlin?
“I don’t know about that; we’re just trying to do the best we can do and you know we had a miserable time getting something done in the first six games. We’re doing things a little bit better but we have a long way to go, to be honest with you, to be the team we could possibly be. We prepare and we’re trying like heck to get these people both young and old to work hard, to focus and to keep their dreams alive. So it’s nice to have won a couple of games, but we still have a ways to go,” Coughlin said.
Coughlin is the master of rallying the Giants. It’s his trademark. He did it in 2007, coming from a wild-card spot to beat the then-undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Two years ago, the challenge was even more daunting. A walk-off loss to the Packers at MetLife Stadium left the Giants at 6-6 and on a four-game losing streak heading to Dallas for a must-win game. The Giants had to win the NFC East to make it into the playoffs, and that’s what they did, with a 9-7 record that sent them to Green Bay and San Francisco in the playoffs. The Giants got hot and won it all, beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl again.
“What I’ve always tried to do is to be very, very honest with the players, in terms of the reasons why we’re in the position we’re in. The most important thing of all is staying together as a team and realizing you put yourself in a hole and certainly going to have an opportunity together to fight your way out of it. Adversity does make you stronger but you just have to keep working at it and keep pounding away at it,” Coughlin said.
Can the Giants do it again? Are they getting a feeling that they can do it again?
“I think we’ve done a great job of keeping our focus one game at a time. We’re kind of slowly working our way in and obviously we can only control what we can do. We can only control our games and we’ve got to try and win and keep winning and see what the scenario becomes within the division. Hopefully, have a chance to win our division,” quarterback Eli Manning said.
NFC East-leading Dallas is in its bye week. The second-place Eagles, 5-5, host Washington. With a Washington win, the Giants could move to within a game of the division lead by beating the Packers this Sunday at MetLife Stadium. All of a sudden, the Giants have awakened for a game that is as important to the Packers’ hopes as it is to the Giants’.
The Giants are pinning their hopes on a revival of the offense. It’s ranked a lowly No. 23 in the league and Manning is at the bottom of the league rankings with a 68.5 passer rating. He’s thrown an inexplicable 16 interceptions just two seasons after having won his second Super Bowl MVP award.
“The numbers aren’t where they should be, but he’s working hard to get it right. He’s a standup guy. When things aren’t going the way they should, he’s up front first and foremost about his responsibilities and what he needs to do to make us better. That’s what he preaches and believes in. I keep thinking we’re not far from it, we’re one or two plays away from being able to crank up the pass game. At this point in time, it hasn’t been quite what we hoped it would be. We’re going to need it coming down the stretch; there’s no doubt,” Coughlin said.
Coughlin is also counting on a revival of his running game, No. 29 in the league. The Giants were last in rushing in 2011 but came to life late in the season. It was a difference maker for them in the playoffs.
“Balance is the key. The running game gives us the balance we need to be able to go ahead and have a good mix and take advantage of some of the things we do in the passing game,” Coughlin said.
Sound familiar? The Giants are hoping it’s 2011 all over again, with one exception: At 3-6, it’s not likely they can afford to lose to the Packers this year. Additional coverage - Nov. 13