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Putting New York Giants NFL playoff rally into focus

As the New York Giants thunder through the second half of the 2018 NFL campaign, their playoff hopes still remain slim.

A 1-7 first-half start meant that the New York Giants completed eroded their margin for error for the NFC East crown, and that margin was essentially removed when the G-Men lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 25-22 in Week 12. Now, the goal is to finish at .500, although the NFL playoffs still appear in a distance.

Typically, an 8-8 record gets you sent home in December, except that this season several sure-fire NFC contenders have sputtered.

Right now, teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers are on the outside looking in at a playoff berth. The Minnesota Vikings are holding on by a thread, after losing to the Seattle Seahawks 21-7 on “Monday Night Football”.

Too many teams still alive, and the unfortunately, G-Men can’t shake that first-half malaise, as much as everyone would love to wipe the slate clean.

Let’s look at what’s on the horizon through Pro Football Reference’s 2018 Weekly Schedule.

The easiest of the New York Giants remaining three games comes this weekend against the Tennessee Titans (7-6), even though Tennessee is on a two-game winning streak. The Titans survived with a last minute win versus the New York Jets and then romped over the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars last week.

Big Blue has to face the suddenly formidable Indianapolis Colts and then divisional rival, the Dallas Cowboys, to close things out. Remember, the Giants beat the Bears, and the Bears beat the Los Angeles Rams, so beating the Cowboys can occur.

First things first, however.

If the G-Men win Sunday’s home contest, then fans can proceed to scoreboard watching, and the inevitable playoff recalculations.

Who needs to lose?

If for a moment it’s conceded that the Seattle Seahawks garner the first Wild Card slot, and that the Dallas Cowboys win the NFC East title, here are the remaining candidates (in addition to the Giants) for Wild Card No. 2: Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina  Panthers, Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers.

Right now, it hurts that the New York Giants blew two golden opportunities against the Birds and Panthers earlier this season. Road losses at Carolina and Philadelphia will likely bite the Big Blue in the rear end before it’s over, unless something changes.

That’s unfortunate.

Right now, the Vikings are in the cat-bird seat because at 6-6-1, the tie works in their favor. If they get to eight wins, then the Giants are out. The Panthers play two of their final three games against the New Orleans Saints, so they have heavy lifting to do.

It’s hard to imagine that the Redskins will rebound at this point, but if they have anything at all left, it would be great to have appear in the final weekend versus the Eagles. And it would seem that the Packers have a shot at three in a row, as they play the Chicago Bears, New York Jets and Detroit Lions.

Interestingly enough, the Pack can essentially eliminate themselves this weekend with a loss, and that clears up the playoff picture just a bit.

Finally, if the New York Giants had put away the Eagles in Week 12, talk of their demise would be the chatter around the NFL. And the whining about officiating against the Dallas Cowboys willfully ignores the multiple benefits they received against the Giants in that slim win.

The worst case scenario for New York Giants fans would be a victory against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17 that catapults the Eagles to the NFC East division crown. To help avoid that, Big Blue fans surely hope that the Los Angeles Rams give the Birds a healthy beatdown this coming weekend in La La Land.

 

 

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