JEFF: NFC Wild Card Preview NY Giants at Tampa Bay
By Jeff Falconio
With apologies to Dennis Green, when the Giants started the season 0-2 they are who I thought they were. I didn't expect Tom Coughlin to right the ship after a rough September but that's exactly what happened. Led by a strong rushing attack New York won six straight and eventually landed a wild card spot in the NFC. For the Giants to win today two things must happen. First, they must be successful running the ball. Tampa Bay has a tough defense but you can run on the Bucs and the Giants must test Tampa Bay's front seven early. Second, Eli Manning must limit his mistakes. Manning proved again last Saturday night that he's not his brother when he threw a costly fourth quarter interception against New England.
Tampa Bay is a wounded team that has relied on the surprising Earnest Graham and the playmaking ability of Joey Galloway. However the injuries are starting to wear down this team as the Bucs lost three of their last four heading into this weekend. Furthermore, their offense looks like it is running out of gas, often times needing the stingy defense to make plays. However, Jon Gruden may have a few tricks up his sleeve to keep a confident Giants defense guessing.
If Eli Manning shows some semblance of consistency New York should escape with a win but as we've already seen this weekend anything can happen when turnovers become a factor. That means the Giants must rely on running the ball to win this game.