If you’re a Giant fan and you’re really, really honest with yourself, you know the Giants are the most mediocre 8-3 team in maybe the history of the NFL. It took the Giants till 5:10 remaining in the 4th quarter to finally put away the winless Browns. It was no walk in the park but they did win 27-13. It was your typical 2016 Giants victory. With only five regular-season games remaining, they’re starting to put distance between themselves and everyone else in the wild-card race, mediocre or not.
Again the offense struggled, but Eli did throw two touchdown passes to Odell. and JPP returned a fumble for a TD. Big Blue has now extended their winning streak to six. Manning had three TD passes in all. They don't overwhelm anyone, but the Giants (8-3) do just enough to win and are in position to make the playoffs for the first time since winning the Super Bowl in 2011.
Why would I say mediocre? -- The offense was mediocre on the whole, as it has been They managed just 65 yards on 24 combined plays on their first four offensive series, punting all four times The defense was stout against the run and in the red zone, coming up with a key takeaway and effectively rushing the passer. Jason Pierre-Paul scored that TD on a tipped pass that dropped into his lap, and linemates Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison put crooked numbers on their stat sheets. At times they looked wobbly.
And the special teams had a handful of miscues -- a muffed punt here, a missed extra point there -- but nothing that caused much harm in the end.
It was way too close for comfort -- at least for a few moments. Cleveland cut the deficit to 20-13, with 8:17 to go. But the Giants quickly responded to pull away for good, with Eli Manning's 4-yard scoring pass to Beckham ending any thoughts of a stunning Browns rally.
The Giants are atop the NFC Wild Card standings with 8 wins, but, there’s still lots to correct, and little time to correct it as the toughest part of their schedule starts next week in Pittsburg, followed by games against four other NFC playoff contenders: Dallas, Detroit, Philadelphia and Washington. A minimum 2 wins are needed to land a playoff spot. Mediocre won’t get it done.
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