The return of Big Blue

The Giants are NFC East Champs again(!). Considering where this team was in 2003 & 2004, 11-5 is more than most intelligent Giant fans were expecting. The playoffs should be interesting, because the surge of really aggressive defense that the team put forth in the middle third of the season really doesnt have a chance of resurfacing with the current linebacker corps. Antonio Pierce really became a leader on defense, and was Strahans equal in terms of making tackles and keeping the defense fired-up. Carlos Emmons was in and out all season due to injuries, but when he was in the game he showed that hes a solid veteran that just inspires confidence in the way he plays run and pass. With Emmons now on IR, Pierce still in a cast because of a high ankle sprain, and two more LBs who started the season on the 45 man roster not dressing against Oakland, the Giants are into and past the 3rd level of their LB depth chart. Nick Greisen won the job as the 4th LB in training camp, and when Barrett Green could not get healthy (on IR in October), he became the weakside starter. Hes started every game this season at either Mike or Will LB, and hes had a heck of a season. It just goes to show that hustle and a couple of years learning the system can make an average linebacker pretty darn valuable. Greisen essentially replaced Kevin Lewis as the plug-and-play guy, but surprise! Lewis was signed on 12/26 and started at Mike against Oakland; another testimony to putting a guy in who knows the system (Lewis started 16 games in 2004, but the team was going younger on the depth chart and he did not make the 2005 team). Alonzo Jackson showed up as the Sam backer after signing in October. Jackson was the #27 pick in the 2nd round of the 2003 draft for the Steelers, interestingly. This is a bit of a motley crew, but 25 yards rushing by Oakland speaks for itself. Lets see how things go with the front 7 when they face playoff teams; the performance against Washington 2 weeks ago was pretty soft. Also, CB Curtis DeLoatch was benched for pretty mediocre play in favor of 2nd round pick Corey Webster. Webster will now begin paying his dues against first-line NFL WRs (he struggled a bit against Oakland) but they have to find out if this kid can play.

A heavy dose of Tiki Barber behind an offensive line that has really come together (false starts excepted), and young Eli making more big plays to Burress, Shockey and Toomer than he makes mistakes could at least get them through a home playoff game. With the current defensive roster, the team is playing with house money from here on.

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