For those of you who were surprised to see the Bengals beat the life out of the New York Giants yesterday, well you shouldn't be. We are now officially in the second half of the 2012 NFL season and that's bad news for the G Men and their die hard fan base.
Giants fans are all too familiar with their team's second half collapses despite winning two Super Bowls since 2007. Both Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin arrived with the New York Giants organization in 2004. The Giants traded their 4th overall pick in the 04' draft plus their 1st round pick in 05' to the San Diego Chargers for the rights to Eli Manning. New York gave up a lot but it paid off 2 rings later. Coach Coughlin sits on the hot seat every season, then wins a Super Bowl to save his job. So far this tandem has worked out very well.
But for some reason the Giants manage to play their worst football during the final 8 games of the season. Is it coaching or quarterback play? Maybe it's getting too comfortable atop the NFC East halfway through the season so they "Cruz" the rest of the way. If that's the case then the gamble doesn't always pay off. The Giants always seem to get off to hot starts and completely cool down once week 9 hits.
Since 2004 the Giants record goes like this when broken down in halves:
2004: First Half (5-3) Second Half (1-7) *Missed Playoffs
2005: First Half (6-2) Second Half (5-3)
2006: First Half (6-2) Second Half (2-6)
2007: First Half (6-2) Second Half (4-4) *Won SB
2008: First Half (7-1) Second Half (5-3) *Lost 3 of last 4 games
2009: First Half (5-3) Second Half (3-5) *Missed Playoffs
2010: First Half (6-2) Second Half (4-4) *Missed Playoffs
2011: First Half (6-2) Second Half (3-5) *Won SB
2012: First Half (6-2) Second Half (0-2)
So here's the proof that something goes terribly wrong during the second half of the season for the Giants. Lately Eli has not been elite. He's been turning over the ball and hasn't thrown a touchdown in 3 straight games. Eli is a great quarterback, but elite QB's don't go on bad streaks like this as consistently as he does. He's always been a interception machine all the while being one of the best 4th quarter QB's in the league. So you take the good with the bad.
It's been proven that all you need to do is get hot at the end and simply find a way in the playoffs. The Giants early season success has kept them alive over these past few years. They have a comfortable 2 game lead in the division right now but if they continue to falter down the stretch then they could be caught. Lucky for the G Men the only team that actually has a chance to catch them is the Cowboys and they split their regular season match ups.
The Giants remaining games are against the Packers, Redskins, Saints, Falcons, Ravens and Eagles. They could easily lose 4 out of their last 6 games and miss the playoffs. I'm not sure if an (8-8) record will get you in the post season let alone win the division. They did win the NFC East with a (9-7) record last year by beating the Cowboys in the final game of the regular season. New York is currently the only team in the division with a winning record. Let's see if they can stay above the .500 mark.
For more on this topic and other NFL talk, tune into The Route 4 Sports Podcast tonight 11/15/12, from 6:00 - 8:00 pm EST and join the football conversation. Just click the link.