Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas
It was a tough Sunday for New York (New Jersey?) football fans as the Giants were manhandled by the Cowboys and the Jets, despite one of the luckiest wins you’ll ever see, were in even worse shape than the Giants. Thankfully, the absurd “New York” Super Bowl conversation of just a few weeks ago has disappeared, a victim of Plaxico Burress’s gun and the Jets coming back to reality.
WHAT’S HAPPENED TO THE GIANTS?
Well, you didn’t have to be a brain surgeon or a football genius to know that the Giants would miss Plaxico Burress. But, with the addition of an injured Brandon Jacobs (and, thus, the elimination of the main part of their running game), Eli Manning was under siege all night against the Cowboys. On top of that, with no receivers requiring a Cowboy double-team and nobody to catch a fade in the end zone (see Kallas Remarks, 12/2/08), the Giants, offensively, are a mess.
The real question, of course, is what happens when Jacobs comes back (because, as we know, Plaxico isn’t coming back)? The Giants can win without Burress, but they won’t do any playoff damage without Burress and Jacobs.
Can the Giants make a run without Burress? Absolutely. But they only have a few weeks to get it together. Are they in trouble against Carolina? You betcha. The Panthers have been the fashionable, “in-the-know” pick in the NFC the last couple of seasons but have always fallen on their collective face. This year, because of the Giants superb start, the Panthers have been under the radar. Not anymore.
What happened to the Giants’ defense? Well, no matter what Antonio Pierce says, his play has fallen off since the Burress shooting. He’s probably got problems at home with the release of that video from the strip club of him and a woman (not his new wife) kissing at the strip club (that’s pre-Burress shooting but the same night). As a football fan, you’d like to leave all that stuff aside, but it’s come front and center because of the Giants poor play. And while the defense played well against the Cowboys, the picture of Pierce getting beat by (and being unable to run down) Westbrook of the Eagles is one that will stay in the minds of Giant fans the rest of the season (unless, of course, they make that dramatic turnaround).
WHAT’S HAPPENED TO THE JETS?
The Jets are in far worse shape. Brett Favre, who seems to have been in a laconic state both on and off the field the last few weeks (his press conferences are filled with slow answers to simple questions – where’s the fiery leader of the Packers who was a three-time MVP?), doesn’t have the answers. The coaching staff, under siege, doesn’t have the answers.
Without some stunning stupidity from the Bills’ coach, Dick Jauron, who, despite the fact that the Bills were running on the Jets like the Jets were playing with ten, not 11, called a bizarre pass play late in the game that resulted in a game-winning fumble/TD for the Jets, the Jets would already be done. But a win is a win is a win (you know the drill) and the Jets are still alive.
Are the Jets in trouble against lowly Seattle? You betcha. Seattle almost beat the Patriots two weeks ago (of course, people who don’t watch the Patriots regularly had no understanding that a healthy, running Seneca Wallace would cause the slow Patriots much more trouble than the banged-up Matt Hasselbeck) and did beat the lowly Rams last Sunday. The Jets have to fly cross-country, have been terrible on the West Coast (0-3) and are clearly close to playing themselves out of a playoff spot.
Worse, the Jets are probably ranked fourth out of the four teams who are 9-5 (Ravens, Patriots, Dolphins and then the Jets). Maybe the Jets can beat the Dolphins in the last week of the season because it’s a home game but, again, if the Bills could just about beat them (sometimes smart coaches like Jauron either over coach or outthink themselves), than home field advantage isn’t what it should be for the Jets.
WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE THE GIANTS AND THE JETS?
Well, the Giants are going to get a bye and may even be the number one seed, although it says here that they’re going to have lots of problems with Carolina. The bigger picture for the Giants is whether they can shore up their collective psyche to overcome the Burress mess and get a healthy Jacobs back to make a run in the playoffs.
The Jet problems are much greater. They control their own destiny, blah, blah, blah, but it’s going to be very difficult for this team, as it is now, to beat Seattle on the road and Miami (and Chad Pennington) at home in Game 16. Only two of those four 9-5 teams will make the playoffs: the AFC East winner and the Wild Card. The Jets, despite monster wins over the Titans and Patriots, are going the wrong way. We’ll see.
© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas. All rights reserved.