New York Giants (3-9)
New York Giants - 24
Jacksonville Jaguars - 25
- The Giants have mastered the art of pulling defeat from the jaws of victory. Last Sunday the squad started off strong by reeling off 21 unanswered points in the first half against the even more hapless Jacksonville Jaguars. Coming out for the second half, New York started fumbling away the game. Jacksonville scored defensive touchdowns on fumbles by Eli Manning and Larry Donnell. The meltdowns are a familiar story for fans of big blue.
They were tied at 17 heading into the fourth quarter at Seattle three weeks ago before losing by 21. They trailed 16-10 late in the fourth the following week against San Francisco and had first-and-goal at the 4-yard line before Manning threw an interception in the end zone.
Last week's loss was equally tough to swallow. The Giants went ahead 28-24 with three minutes remaining, but then allowed an 80-yard touchdown drive.
- With week 14 of the NFL season looming this weekend, there is very little doubt that head coach Tom Coughlin is heading into the closing part of his career in New York. Giants fans know it, the rest of the league knows it, and Coach Coughlin knows it as well. Three seasons removed from his second Super Bowl win, the head man in New York has presided over two highly disappointing seasons in a row and the time has come for the team to move on to a man who will rebuilt the franchise. Right now the Giants are a mess of epic proportions. The G-Men find themselves in a comparable situation to what the Dallas Cowboys faced for many seasons. Sadly it is not that Coughlin forgot how to do his job, it was his bosses, primarily GM Jerry Reese, who put him in the situation he is in. Naturally though, it is the coach who will be held accountable.
The Giants may be a mess, but they're not solely Coughlin's mess. It's a shared responsibility with Jerry Reese, their eighth-year general manager, and the rest of his front office. For two straight years now the Giants thought they were sitting on a Super Bowl contender when the reality is they had badly overvalued the players on their own roster. What they assembled was a mediocre and flawed team, and when the injuries mounted it was exposed as dangerously thin.
- Coach Coughlin and his staff may not be the only ones to pay the piper in New York. A new coach, and likely a new offensive philosophy, could also equal a new quarterback for the Giants. While this scenario is less likely than the firing of the coaches, from a business point of view, releasing Eli Manning does make sense. Over the past two seasons the younger Manning has looked more like a journeyman quarterback than a two time Super Bowl MVP. His paychecks however reflect the numbers of the MVP. It may be time to stop throwing good money after bad and bring in a new man for a new start.
In a vacuum, Eli Manning is one of the best 20 or so quarterbacks, and will be that for a few more years. His cost and cap charge, though, make him pretty expensive. According to Spotrac, his cap charges the last two years have been $20.85 million and $20.4 million. Next year, it will be $19.75 million.
The difference next year is that the dead money finally drops, in the final year of his contract, to a point where releasing him becomes a realistic option. The Giants would have a "dead money" hit of $2,250,000 if they release Manning. They would save over $17 million by releasing him. For comparison, the quarterback franchise tag number was $16.192 million in 2014. That's the football equivalent of potentially being worth more dead than alive.
- For week 14 the Giants go on the road to face another lower-tiered team in the Tennessee Titans. This is a game that should give the G-Men their first win since October, but in all reality that could have been said about last week as well.
Washington Redskins (3-9)
Washington Redskins - 27
Indianapolis Colts - 49
- It is not likely that Robert Griffin, III will paraphrase a former President of the United States when he departs Washington, but the the Redskins beat reporters will not have RGIII to kick around very much longer. Unlike Tricky Dick Nixon, Bob's career in the nation's capitol will likely end before his first term expires. Washington invested three first-round picks in the former Baylor Bear quarterback in 2012 only to get minimal return on their investment. Griffin is at odds with his second NFL coach and there is also tension between him and his teammates in the locker room. It became quite obvious that he was on his way out when the former first-rounder was benched for third-string passer and fellow Texan Colt McCoy for week 13. Washington is expected to shop Griffin around after the season, but if there are no takers, he could find himself being released. In hindsight, the RGIII trade made by the Washington front office is proving to be even more disastrous that was first thought.
After giving up three first-round draft picks to select Griffin No. 2 overall in 2012, the team will likely trade him in the offseason. CBS Sports contacted five evaluators about Griffin, and only one believed the Redskins would get as high as a third-round pick for him.
- The issues in Washington go much deeper than who is starting at quarterback. Colt McCoy had a respectable outing against the Colts and it might have been good enough had the Redskins defense turned out on Sunday. When it is not the defense biting Jay Gruden's team in the rear end, it is the special teams. Unless you are the Dallas Cowboys, you do not have to worry about beating Washington; they will beat themselves.
Like a jalopy that should be junked but remains on the road, different parts of this team keep breaking down. Changing the starter might've led to a smooth ride against Indy if not for the massive leaks that sprung up and allowed Andrew Luck to disassemble the secondary in a 49-27 rout.
- Anytime a story comes out of a non-sports related media outlet and the title begins with "The Redskins are terrible at football and ..." I know that it is going to be an interesting read. Without further ado, I will let a quote from the article speak for itself:
There are only two rules to Cyber Monday, the other side of the Thanksgiving shopping weekend. It has to occur on Monday. (That's what the word "Monday" means. It's a day of the week.) And it has to be online, which is why the word "Cyber" is in there. If you read the phrase, or better yet say it out loud, you'll know all the rules.
They are not complicated.
Yet somehow that second rule escaped the Washington Redskins organization this year. In a fit of 1997 nostalgia, tryptophan-induced hysteria, or just garden-variety stupidity, the team is offering a Cyber Monday deal for season tickets that you can only complete over the phone.
- This weekend the Redskins will play host to the St. Louis Rams. No word yet on if the Washington gameplan calls for the team to phone that in as well, but it seems like they have been doing that for most of the season.
Philadelphia Eagles (9-3)
Philadelphia Eagles - 33
Dallas Cowboys - 10
- So the Eagles have a solid hold on first place in the NFC East and are now in the driver's seat for their second consecutive division championship; that does not mean that Chip Kelly has found his man yet. The genius who flew in from Oregon to take on the challenge of leading another flock of birds might still be in the market for a passer this off season. Nick Foles was given an opportunity to prove himself capable of being a franchise quarterback and he has not measured up to the hype. The other option is Mark Sanchez, and nobody in the NFL thinks he is "the guy" who will win you a Super Bowl. If neither of these guys is his choice, Chip Kelly and Company could be in the market for a passer in the 2015 draft, and with the record they have it will most likely drain resources that the squad could better apply elsewhere. Still, the temptation to coach a guy like Marcus Mariota again could lead Kelly to influence his bosses to take a gamble. That option has some in Philly talking.
What happens if the season doesn't end in a way that makes Kelly confident in either Sanchez or Foles as the 2015 starter?
Well, that would be bad. The Eagles have needs - at corner, at safety, at linebacker. The age of the offensive line is getting to be problematic. Drafting or trading up to draft a franchise quarterback would drain resources needed to address those issues.
- Speaking of the smoothie-maker-in-chief, there are some in the collegiate ranks who think that Chip may have done enough to prove himself in the world of professional football and that he might be ready to return to the ranks of "amateur" competition. Count the Florida Gators athletic director among those who think Kelly may be ready for a return to Saturday action. AD Jeremy Foley has stated that he will be speaking with Kelly to "kick the tires" on the Eagles coach relocating to Gainesville. It is interesting to note that Kelly's NCAA imposed ban expires on Christmas Day, so it is within the realm of possibility that an offer could be extended to Kelly at that time (or as soon as the Eagles season ends). Kelly himself has said that he would not return to college football, but who knows. Stranger things have happened.
- No matter how these two situations play out, Philadelphia now controls their own destiny. In all likelihood, things will come down to the week 15 rematch between the Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. If Philly wins this weekend and can hold serve against the Boys in Lincoln Financial Field, they will clinch the title. The best Dallas could do would be to tie the Eagles and the feather-fluffers in the City of Brotherly Love would hold the tie breaker.
- Winning next weekend will not be a given for the Eagles. Another flock of birds, the Seattle Seahawks, will fly into Philadelphia and Pete Carroll's team is starting to look like the team that won last year's Super Bowl. Perhaps the Cowboys may get some help from the champs.