Normally, drawing an opening-round playoff match-up on enemy soil in a notoriously tough place to play against a division champion with six straight wins to its credit and the league’s hottest quarterback is enough to spark panic in the locker room and send a team’s fan-base into an instant state of despair. But for the New York Giants, anything less just wouldn’t seem right.
With 10 wins in their final 12 games, including last Sunday’s 19-10 victory at the Washington Redskins, the fifth-seeded Giants have secured their first playoff appearance in five years and drawn a date with the dreaded Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. However, after marching through Green Bay in each of their last two trips to the post-season—both resulting in Super Bowl victories, the Giants won’t be seen as just another underdog when they take the field on Sunday.
Memories aside, it’s been five years since Eli Manning’s Giants last knocked Aaron Rodgers and the Pack out of the post-season in the second round of the 2011 playoffs. Sure, Manning is still New York’s star signal-caller, but with just six players from the 2011 championship team on the current roster, and only two that played on both Super Bowl-winning teams still wearing a Giants’ uniform, expecting this team to rekindle any lost playoff magic is asking too much.
Nevertheless, one of the two current players to play on both championship teams is Manning—the city’s resident sports hero in the same way that Patrick Ewing, Joe Namath, and Derek Jeter once were. And while it’s been quite some time since the city’s football faithful watched Manning guide the G-Men to a second improbable playoff victory in Packer-Land on the way to winning Super Bowl XLVI, there’s still an unwavering belief among the majority of Giants’ fans that Eli can do it again.
When asked if Big Blue’s defense will be the engine that drives his team through Green Bay and beyond, Giants’ linebacker Jonathan Casillas made it clear that the unconditional belief in Manning’s playoff powers extend beyond the franchise’s fan-base.
”No, I think Eli Manning will be.”
”Because I think the way he’s played in the playoffs in the past, the way he’s played on the big stages, we’re gonna need that from him,” continued Casillas when asked why the veteran quarterback will once again be key to New York’s potential playoff success. ”We’re gonna need him to play Eli Manning ball. We’re gonna need it.”
With the fourth-highest winning percentage in post-season history [.727], a pair of Super Bowl M.V.P. trophies on his mantel, a few heroic post-season performances on his resume, and victories in eight straight playoff games, seven of which came on the road, Manning’s supporters aren’t worried about his aging arm, declining numbers, or the fact that he’s totaled just six touchdowns while throwing six interceptions during the final five weeks of the regular season.
Despite trailing Green Bay in almost every offensive statistic of consequence and defensively out-ranking the Packers in several key categories, the Giants will be relying on their veteran quarterback to magically level the playing field on Sunday. But Manning finished the regular season with his fewest passing yards, his lowest passer rating, quarterback rating, and touchdown total in three years, and wisely, he recently told reporters that a Wild Card win will only materialize with a total team effort.
”We want to pick it up, but hey, you run the ball, don’t turn it over. We’ll hopefully have some opportunities to hit some big plays in the passing game as well,” said Manning. ”But if we can run the ball, defense is playing great, protect the ball, we’ll be in good shape.”
Finishing fourth in points per game [27.0 ppg], Green Bay dug itself out of a mid-season slide that saw the Pack drop five games in six weeks to win each of their last six contests and claim this year’s NFC North title with a Week 17 win over the Detroit Lions. As usual, Rodgers has been the driving force behind Green Bay’s recent run of success, throwing 18 touchdown passes without a single interception during his last seven starts, and limiting the Pack’s star quarterback will obviously be New York’s main concern.
There are a few positives unrelated to the past for the Giants to build upon ahead of Sunday’s game. After failing to establish a respected run-game through the first 14 weeks of football, New York totaled 100-plus rushing yards in each of its last three games due largely to the play of rookie Paul Perkins. Despite an offense that’s struggled to score, the Giants’ defense held three of their last four opponents to ten points or less. And more importantly, two of those teams—the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions, made the playoffs, and Washington was the third.
But if the Giants do manage to knock the Packers out of the playoffs for a third time, we shouldn’t at all be surprised if Eli Manning is the reason.
PETA Issues Statement to Odell Beckham Jr for Social Media Post
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. caught the ire of PETA over his post on Instagram showing him playing ball with a tiger and a chimpanzee.
Beckham was visiting with his friend Mike Holston, who specializes in animal education and conservation, who took the wide receiver to the Myrtle Beach Safari, which helps raise money for the Rare Species Fund, and rescues exotic animals from abuse.
View this post on Instagram
PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) released the following statement about OBJ’s social media post (h/t NJ.com):
“THESE SENSITIVE AND MUCH-ABUSED ANIMALS BELONG WITH THEIR FAMILIES IN NATURE, NOT PIMPED OUT AS PROPS BY SHAMELESS ROADSIDE ZOOS. WE’RE SURE THAT ODELL BECKHAM JR. HAD NO IDEA THAT THE SLEAZY SAFARI PARK WHERE THIS YOUNG CHIMPANZEE IS KEPT HAS A LENGTHY RECORD OF VIOLATING FEDERAL LAW AND USES GREAT APES AND BIG-CAT CUBS IN CHEAP PUBLICITY STUNTS LIKE THIS. THESE ENCOUNTERS ARE INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS, AND PETA URGES EVERYONE—INCLUDING BECKHAM, WHO CERTAINLY DOESN’T WANT ANOTHER INJURY—TO STEER CLEAR OF CRUEL FACILITIES THAT EXPLOIT ANIMALS.”
Giants Kyle Lauletta Arrested
New York Giants signal caller Kyle Lauletta was arrested on Tuesday morning or an incident that occurred while he driving to the team’s practice facility in East Rutherford, according to NJ.com’s Ryan Dunleavy.
According to the report, Lauletta, a fourth-round pick, nearly struck police with car when he failed to obey the directions of an officer.
“Sources in Weehawken with knowledge of the incident said the 23-year-old was trying to make a right turn from the wrong lane to get to Route 495 East, and was directed to keep going straight. Lauletta made the right turn and nearly ran over the officer directing traffic. He was stopped by another officer at the end of the on-ramp.”
“We are aware of the situation and are in contact with Kyle,” a Giants official said. “We are still gathering information.”
“We’re trying to do what we can to win this season and you always do what you can in the short run,” Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said Monday when asked about Lauletta’s playing chances, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.
“It’s hard not to look at things in the long run, but what’s important is we try to beat the 49ers [in two weeks].”
Nike Flies Trademark For Odell Beckham Jr. Logo
The future of New York Giants’ superstar wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. may be living under a cloud of uncertainty, but his future with Nike took a bold, definitive step on Monday.
Rewind to May 2017 when Beckham inked the largest shoe deal ever of any NFL player, a cool $25M over 5 years, and then fast forward to today and you can see the new OBJ logo that Nike has filed.
JUST IN: Nike has filed to trademark this new “OBJ” logo for Odell Beckham Jr. pic.twitter.com/I9MeYWT9B0
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 7, 2018
Beckham has already launched his first lifestyle shoe, the Special Field Air Force-1 Mid “OBJ”, so this opens the doors for even more from the newly launched brand.
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