Pean: They were labeled The Worst 10-6 Team people have ever seen. Well, I guess thats why the playoffs are called "The Second Season". The New York Giants pulled off a great upset in Dallas last Sunday to advance to the NFC Championship. The 5th seeded Giants knocked off the 1st seed Dallas Cowboys by a score of 21-17. Next up for Big Blue -- a reborn Brett Favre and his Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. This playoff run for the Giants is eerily similar to the 2000-2001 season in which they expectedly advanced to the Super Bowl. So Dan, you are
an old man old enough to remember the run of '01. Who would win in a matchup? The January '01 Giants or the January '08 Giants? (note: There cannot be any unraveling of the very fabric of the space time continuum because '01 Amani Toomer saw '08 Toomer, thus destroying the entire universe)
DNL: First, let me say wow, what an upset The Giants didn't win as much as the Dallas Cowboys choked it up, but whatever. Second, I had to watch the '01 Super Bowl in Philly, so, I tried to blot it out.
With our friends at WhatIfSports providing a time machine, I took a look at the exact matchup you proposed. It was roughly even, but what was weird was that Eli Manning was consistently mediocre, while Kerry Collins was wildly inconsistent. I suspect that it'd boil down to Collins -- and having as much faith in him as I do, I go with the 2007-08 G-Men by 12.
Let's go back to last weekend's game. For three quarters, Flozell Adams absolutely destroyed Osi Umenyiora. Once that stopped -- and I think it was after Adams got flagged for that false start which basically meant Dallas had to settle for a figgie -- the tide turned on the Dallas defense. Can the Giants win if Osi is shut down?
Pean: Of course they can. If this Giants team has taught me anything the past several weeks, its that someone will step it up to get the job done. Did you really think R.W. McQuarters would have such an impact in their last win? The Giants need Osi to harass Favre, but they have plenty of other talent on the defensive end. Look at Justin Tuck -- not even a starter full time this year, and he recorded 10 sacks! I will say this though -- don't expect Brett Favre to take a dive for Michael Strahan this game! Lambeau Field. Freezing temperatures. Have you ever seen Eli Manning perform well in bad weather? Does it even matter now?
DNL: Play well... remember Buffalo? And yes, it matters. I really don't like Eli, and I've never been bashful about saying that. The last two games -- heck, most of this season, really -- he's shown himself to be a competent game manager. That's good, but not franchise-player good. I'd be glad to have him if I were the Minnesota Vikings, where AP can win the game for me; where my offensive line can make it so Eli doesn't have to make hurried throws and can instead find an outlet. If Eli were getting paid half as much, the Giants would have cap room for someone like... oh, someone better than McQuarters (his last game notwithstanding). Same with Jeremy Shockey -- the amount of cap space the Giants waste on him is sick. Which leads me to my favorite question/point: Who are the unsung heroes of this Giants team?
Pean: Back when the Giants were 4-12, and even last year when the entire team decided to implode, they had one constant who I said was the team MVP -- JEFF FEAGLES!!!. Never underestimate the power of having one of the greatest punters ever. This guy even rocks off the field, because he sold his #10 to Eli when he came to the team, in exchange for a vacation. When Plaxico Burress was signed, he then traded his #17 jersey to him in exchange for an outdoor BBQ set. The man can wheel and deal, and pin opponents inside their own 20. Speaking of Burress, I really think the Giants absorbed alot of their toughness from him (yes, its air-borne, and contagious). Two years ago, I don't think Plax plays past October. This year he practically played on one leg, and still attracted a lot of attention against the defense. Although it sounds stupid saying that a guy who never practices can be such a role model on the team, just look at what Aaron Ross will do this Sunday. Given the QB matchup on Sunday, which advertisement is better? Brett Favre and PrilosecOTC, or Eli Manning's "unstoppable" Citizen Watches ad?
DNL: The right answer to my question is "Amani Toomer". You can't tell me he's not the man. Of course, when the Giants suck, he's a lightening rod of criticism -- too old, too slow, should have retired years ago... you know, sounds like Brett Favre when the Packers go 7-9. And Favre, being Toomerrific, therefore wins the better ad. Plus, does anyone actually own a Citizen watch?
That's not your question, no worries. More interesting one for you. With Jeremy Shockey showing no ability, whatsoever (okay... that's unfair), and with rookie Kevin Boss being at least passable, can you justify not cutting Shockey?
Pean: I don't think they should cut Shockey next year. I think its just a coincidence that the Giants seemed to come together shortly after Shockey's injury. Look, I think Boss has been pretty impressive so far in his limited action. However, as much as you think Shockey is overrated, he can still be a force on offense, and can run over people when blocking. He's caught for over 800 yards twice so far, and 7 TD's in 2005 and 2006. Plus, he always seems to play hurt. The fact is, can't you see him going to a rival in the NFC East...let's say the Eagles...and putting up like 8 TD in two games against the Giants out of pure spite and rage?
OK, its prediction time. To keep up my superstitious ways, I am going to pick Green Bay 24-17. Jacobs' fumble on the last drive with 5 minutes left kills Eli 's rally, and Grant runs for a few first downs to run out the clock. So Dan, what's your prediction?
DNL: Low of three... high of eight? Hmm.... I'm going with 28 points from the Packers, and ...... 14 from the G-Men. Sorry. I just don't see Tundra Eli doing anything worthwhile, while Favre is going to be upset that it's so gosh darn warm. Key prediction: Ahmad Bradshaw has a big game, but it's all in the first half. Basically, I think the halftime score is 14-7 or something like that, but a quick Packers TD makes it 21-7, and then Eli has to win the game for us. Bad news. You want the last word? S'all you.
Pean: I'm just going to savor the rest of the week while the Giants are one of the last 4 teams remaining. It's great listening to WFAN all day and reading all the articles in the Star Ledger via NJ.com/giants.
DNL: Okay, here's the deal. The Game Plan -- you know, the "The Rock" movie? -- comes out on DVD next week. Someone emailed me offering me a free copy if I found someone to review it here on the 'chair. But as we both know (because (a) it's obvious and (b) this guy had to watch it on a plane), it's going to suck. So, loser reviews it. I'll even give you 9 points, and if it's a tie (with the +9), someone else has to review it. Ya dig?
Pean: IT'S ON. GO PC!