Eli Manning (10) of the New York Giants is met by Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin after their 24-20 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 28 2010 at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

NFC Playoff Picture: Giants Had Better Win NFC East

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NFC Playoff Picture, Week 13: Winning NFC East Is Giants' Best Bet

Here is a little unsolicited advice for the New York Giants. If you want to make the NFC playoffs, win more games than the Philadelphia Eagles the next five weeks. The NFC East title is your path to the playoffs -- trying to earn a wild-card berth is like walking through a very cluttered minefield.

The Giants and Eagles are, technically, tied atop the NFC East with 7-4 records after a weekend that saw the Giants defeat the Jaguars and the Eagles lose to the Bears. In reality, the Eagles are currently on top since they have beaten the Giants in their only meeting and have a better division record.

NFC East Standings

New York Giants 7 4 0 277 240
Philadelphia 7 4 0 310 257
Washington 5 6 0 215 262
Dallas 3 8 0 256 301

(updated 11.29.2010 at 4:26 AM EST)

The Giants and Eagles meet again December 19 at New Meadowlands Stadium, and it would be a very good idea for the Giants to win that game. If they can't beat the Eagles and take the division, getting to the playoffs is going to be dicey.

Looking at the crowded NFC playoff picture, it sure looks like someone is going to get to 10 victories and still wind up not making the playoffs. Many years 9-7 is good enough to snag a wild-card, but it sure doesn't look that way in the NFC this time around.

In the NFC East, of course, the Giants and Eagles are 7-4. In the NFC West Seattle and St. Louis are both 5-6, and one of them will have to win the division and make the playoffs. Unfortunately. Look, however, at the logjam in the NFC North and NFC South and you see why winning the NFC East would be advisable for the Giants.

In the North, you have the 8-3 Chicago Bears and 7-4 Green Bay Packers. In the South, you have the 9-2 Atlanta Falcons, 8-3 New Orleans Saints and 7-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That means that, in the end, there will be four teams fighting for two wild-card spots -- and two good football teams going home.


Tuck Challenges Giants, They Respond With Key Victory

The New York Giants went into the locker room Sunday trailing, 17-6, staring at a third straight loss that would have left them 6-5 with only razor-thin playoff hopes, and knowing that they had been physically manhandled by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first 30 minutes.

They emerged with a 24-20 victory, and what went on during the intermission had a lot to do with it.

Defensive end Justin Tuck then laid it on the line for his teammates.

“I just challenged each of them. I told them that I was playing like crap, I told them that we were playing like crap and that in the second half we need to pick it up,” Tuck said.

After surrendering more than 230 yards in total offense in the first half the Giants allowed just 92 in the second half and created two turnovers. The game was won when Terrell Thomas forced Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard to fumble and Antrel Rolle recovered with 1:25 to play.


Giants 24, Jaguars 20: New York Stays In Playoff Race

It wasn't easy. It certainly wasn't pretty. It certainly wasn't dominant, or even efficient. For the New York Giants it was a victory, though, and that is enough. The Giants kept their playoff hopes alive Sunday with a come-from-behind 24-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at New Meadowlands Stadium.

Eli Manning hit Kevin Boss with a 32-yard catch and run to give the Giants their first lead, 24-20, with just 3:24 to play. The Giants defense then held when Terrell Thomas forced Jacksonville quarterback David Garrard to fumble and Antrel Rolle recovered to seal the victory with 1:25 to play.

The Giants trailed 20-17 with just 5:55 to play, but went 69 yards for the game-winning drive. A clutch reception by Mario Manningham on a low throw went for 18 yards and keyed the drive.

Jacksonville held a 17-6 lead at halftime as the Giants could not stop the running of Maurice Jones-Drew (21 carries, 113 yards) or Garrard (six carries, 41 yards, one touchdown). New York's defense stiffened in the second half. but the Giants still trailed, 17-9, heading into the fourth quarter.

Manning finished 14-of-26 for 226 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Brandon Jacobs gained 87 yards on 14 carries, and Ahmad Bradshaw 49 yards on nine carries. Manningham had three catches for 61 yards and a touchdown, and Boss had three catches for 74 yards and a score.

The Giants host the Washington Redskins next Sunday.


NFC Playoff Picture: Giants Face Difficult Road

The New York Giants find themselves in a precarious position today as they host the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 6-4 Giants are on the outside of the NFC playoff picture looking in, and they face a difficult road to get to the postseason.

After the Jaguars today the Giants face Washington twice, the NFC-East leading Eagles, Minnesota and Green Bay. Nothing easy in there at all. Beyond that, there are a lot of teams now standing between the Giants and one of the six NFC playoff berths.

The Giants are, of course, one game behind Philadelphia in the NFC East. In the NFC North, Chicago and Green Bay are both 7-3 and ahead of the Giants for a wild-card. In the NFC North, Atlanta is 8-2, New Orleans 8-3 and Tampa Bay 7-3.

Key games of interest today for Giants fans include Green Bay at Atlanta, Minnesota at Washington (the Redskins are 5-5, just behind the Giants), Tampa Bay at Baltimore (root for the Ravens) and Philadelphia at Chicago. To me, Giants fans have to root for the Bears. Winning the NFC East is the only guaranteed way to the playoffs, and the Giants have to catch the Eagles to do that. The Bears could help them.

Giants Schedule

Carolina Sun 09/12 W 31 - 18
@ Indianapolis Sun 09/19 L 14 - 38
Tennessee Sun 09/26 L 10 - 29
Chicago Sun 10/03 W 17 - 3
@ Houston Sun 10/10 W 34 - 10
Detroit Sun 10/17 W 28 - 20
@ Dallas Mon 10/25 W 41 - 35
@ Seattle Sun 11/07 W 41 - 7
Dallas Sun 11/14 L 20 - 33
@ Philadelphia Sun 11/21 L 17 - 27
Jacksonville Sun 11/28 1:00 PM EST
Washington Sun 12/05 1:00 PM EST
@ Minnesota Sun 12/12 1:00 PM EST
Philadelphia Sun 12/19 1:00 PM EST
@ Green Bay Sun 12/26 4:15 PM EST
@ Washington Sun 01/02 1:00 PM EST


Giants Vs. Jaguars: When The Giants Have The Ball

The numbers seem in the Giants' favor. New York averages 25.3 points per game to place it seventh in the league, while its rushing total of 138.3 yards per week is fifth, its passing yardage of 251.3 per game is seventh and its total yardage clip of 389.6 per game is third.

The Jaguars suffer by comparison, placing in the league's bottom tier in points allowed (27.0, 27th), total defense (376.8, 27th) and pass defense (264.6, 28th). Jacksonville has been just slightly more sturdy against the run by the numbers at least, allowing 112.2 yards per week to place 19th of 32 teams.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning became the seventh passer in league history last week to reach 20 or more touchdown passes in a season for six straight years. Sunday will mark his 100th career game. In his backfield, running back Ahmad Bradshaw is fourth in the league in scrimmage yards with 1,064. Bradshaw, however, will not start this week. After fumbling six times so far this season, Bradshaw is being replaced in the starting lineup by Brandon Jacobs.

On the outside, wide receiver Mario Manningham goes for a third straight home game with a touchdown and tight end Kevin Boss has scored via a pass reception in two of his last three games. Those two players will have to step up as starting wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith are both out with injuries, and backup Ramses Barden is out for the season with a broken ankle. Other targets gaining playing time include Derek Hagan, who caught a touchdown pass last week, as did reserve tight end Travis Beckum.

The Giants are also hurting on the offensive line, where center Shaun O'Hara and left tackle David Diehl are definitely out. Shawn Andrews, replacing Diehl, has been hospitalized with a back injury this week, so that may further deplete the line.

For the Jaguars, linebacker Daryl Smith leads the team with 56 tackles and end Jeremy Mincey contributed a career-high two sacks last week.

-- Sports Network contributed to this report


Giants Vs. Jaguars: When Jacksonville Has The Ball

(Sports Network) - Statistically speaking, it could be a rough go. Jacksonville's strength -- running the football to the tune of 135.3 yards per week that's sixth-best in the NFL -- will be matched up with the New York defense's strength of stopping the run, which the Giants have done while allowing just 89.5 yards per week on the ground (4th overall). The Jaguars, meanwhile, average 200.3 yards through the air, 335.6 total yards and 22 points per week -- totals that are 25th, 20th and 18th in the league, respectively.

New York's scoring defense matches the Jags' 22-point average output and is 17th in the league, though its total yardage (282.4 ypg) and passing yardage numbers (192.9 ypg) are second and third among the 32 teams, respectively.

Passing Rushing Sacks
G Rating Comp Att Pct Yds Y/G Y/A TD INT Rush Yds Y/G Avg TD Sack YdsL
2010 - David Garrard 9 98.5 145 214 67.8 1694 188.2 7.9 17 10 35 140 15.6 4 2 21 151

David Garrard is four touchdown passes shy of Mark Brunell's single-year franchise record of 20 and has a 111.4 passer rating this season on the road. The East Carolina product has been particularly good in the clutch, as a 129.3 rating in the fourth quarter shows. Jones-Drew aims for game No. 4 in a row with 100 or more scrimmage yards and he's averaged 107.8 rush yards in his last four starts against NFL foes. Among Garrard's targets, wideout Thomas seeks a fourth straight game with a touchdown catch and tight end Marcedes Lewis enters the game second at his position with a franchise-best eight scoring grabs.

For New York, end Justin Tuck tied career highs with three sacks and two forced fumbles last week, while linemate Osi Umenyiora has five sacks in his last three home games and seven sacks and six forced fumbles in his last seven games overall. Safety Deon Grant, a former Jaguar, is tied for the team lead with three interceptions, marking the 10th straight season in which hes had at least two interceptions. Also, cornerback Terrell Thomas tied a career high with 10 tackles last week in addition to a fumble recovery, two pass deflections and a blocked field goal.


Giants Vs. Jaguars: Fantasy Football Focus

Though his receiver arsenal is becoming more anonymous by the day, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has remained prolific and looks solid enough against a porous Jacksonville pass defense, regardless of where the ball goes. Mario Manningham has gone from the Giants' third receiver to their No. 1 one guy with injuries to Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith. Tight end Kevin Boss would also be a solid play. If you are looking for a waiver pickup, Travis Beckum of the Giants might be worth a shot.

As for running backs, sit Ahmad Bradshaw of the Giants. Coach Tom Coughlin has benched him this week in favor of Brandon Jacobs, due to Bradshaw's fumbling issues. Jacobs should see a ton of carries due to the Giants' injuries at wide receiver, so play him.

Rushing Receiving
G Rush Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD Rec Yds Y/G Avg Lng TD
2010 - Maurice Jones-Drew 10 209 878 87.8 4.2 24 4 24 263 26.3 11 75 2


For the Jaguars, Maurice Jones-Drew is on a roll but faces a daunting task in maintaining the momentum against the Giants. The New York defense is surely a worthwhile play.

-- Sports Network contributed to this report

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