I. 

This win was big for many reasons, which we’ll get to in a bit, but let me first indulge in some schedule-speculation. Right now, despite our uneven start against some of the league’s best teams, we’re 2-2, tied for second place in the NFC East with the Cowboys, and trailing the Eagles – a team that we beat on their home field – by a game and a half.

I’d love to say that the schedule eases up from this point on, but unfortunately, it kinda doesn’t. Nevertheless, of our remaining twelve games, there are four which I would consider easy, “slam-dunk” games that we should count on winning:

Tampa

Houston

at Tennessee

New Orleans

Yes, I know, New Orleans is 4-1, but 1) Let’s see them keep it up.  And 2) It’s a home game.  This puts us at six wins, with eight left over.

I figure that 10-6 will probably be enough to put us in the playoffs, either as a wild card or as the division winner, which means that we have to split these eight games to put us in a position to go to the playoffs. The remaining eight are:

at Atlanta

at Dallas

Chicago

at Jacksonville

Dallas

at Carolina

Philadelphia

at Washington

That’s a tough slate, but considering that we just split our first four, there’s really no reason to think that we can’t split these eight. And hopefully we’ll do even better. Today’s performance should convince us that we’re a legitimate Super Bowl contender, and that we’re capable of winning each of these games if we play well.  4-4 in these games, and 8-4 over our last twelve, is eminently doable. And that’s the minimum.  You’ve gotta think that 9-3 or 10-2 is within the realm of possibility.

II.

Was anyone else a little pissed that the G-Men were utterly slept-on amid the T.O. — Eagles soap opera? We kept on hearing about how that game was the NFC East showdown, but last I checked, it was the Giants and ‘Skins who made the playoffs last year, not the Cowboys and Eagles. After today, the Giants are the only team in the super-tough NFC East that is undefeated within the division: The Eagles and Cowboys are 1-1, and the ‘Skins are 0-2.

 

III.

Ok, the game itself. How good was our defense? We held a Redskin offense that had put up 36 points and over 400 yards against a Jacksonville D to 164 total yards on just 10 first downs.

Most impressive was our pass defense, which had been by far the weakest part of the team until Sunday. We held the ‘Skins to just 86 net passing yards (including sacks), and held Santana Moss, who had torched us for 160 yards last year and was coming off a 138 yard, 3 touchdown performance, to 39 yards on just three catches.

The pass rush finally showed up. Strahan and Osi each recorded a sack, and Fred Robbins continued his strong play; it seems like ages ago when he was considered a soft spot on the most vulnerable part of our defense.

Overall, it was an absolutely dominant performance against an offense that came into the game on a hot streak. Hopefully, it will be a sign of things to come. Remember, the D really, really struggled at the beginning of last year too before turning it around and becoming, for a six-week stretch, a dominant unit.

Because of the poor defensive performances down the stretch of last year, people tend to forget about this stretch of excellence that spanned week 5 (when we last trounced the ‘Skins at the Meadowlands) through week 13 (when we came out in red jerseys and earned a gritty win over the Cowboys). During this stretch, our defense posted DVOAs of -96.9%, -21.9%, -55.8%, 11.2%, -39.6%, and -32.6%. That means that over that six game stretch, we averaged a defensive DVOA of -39.3%.  Think about that.

When did that stretch come to an end? When Antonio Pierce suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Eagles the next week. After that, the dominoes kept falling, and our D ended the year as the depleted unit that looked forebodingly vulnerable against the Raiders before getting embarrased by the Panthers.

But in between the beginning of the year – when the new faces on defense were hadn’t yet coalesced — and the end of the year – when all our guys were hurt – we put together a stretch of dominant ball.

There is no reason to think that this year’s D can’t duplicate this, and with a little luck and a little health, perhaps maintain a high level through the post-season and all the way to Glendale.

IV.

The Giants and ‘Skins have always been bitter rivals, so despite LaVar taking the high road this week by refusing to indulge in any shit-talking, it’s good to see that there’s some animosity between the two teams.

Here’s an article that was in a few of the papers of Monday. According to Brandon Jacobs and Rich Seubert, the ‘Skins are a dirty team – they take cheap shots at the bottom of the pile and twist ankles.

We all saw their conduct in the game’s waning seconds when the G-Men were taking knees to run out the clock, when the ‘Skins defenders charged hard into our sedentary linemen. Eli even had to take a couple of frantic steps back to clear himself of any potentially falling 300 lb. bodies before kneeling down.

A classic bush move. High School teams are taught not to pull that childish shit.

V.

Here’s an excellent piece by John Clayton about how the Giants kept to basics and played the fundamental, dominant ball on both sides that they’re capable of playing.