For that to happen, however, a lot of things have to go right for the Giants. Here is a list of five players who need to be better over the final eight games than they were in the first half of the season if the Giants are to make a playoff run.
1. Eli Manning -- The Giants haven't had much of a running game this season. They haven't protected the quarterback very well. They are near the top of the league in dropped passes. If someone had a stat for miscommunications between the quarterback and his receivers the Giants might lead that category.
Yet, Manning's league-worst 15 interceptions and his below par 55.7 percent completion rate can't all be blamed on other people. For a 10-year veteran and two-time Super Bowl MVP Manning has made a mystifying number of poor throws, misreads and plain old bad decisions this season. He needs to play to his pedigree if the Giants are to have any chance.
2. Jason Pierre-Paul -- Giants' fans have learned the hard way that is was unrealistic to expect Pierre-Paul to play like Superman following back surgery that cost him all of the preseason. Pierre-Paul has played the run well, but has only one sack and has not really been a factor in the pass rush. The explosiveness that made him special during a 16.5-sack 2011 season has not returned. It might be unfair to expect to see JPP at his best over the final eight games, but the Giants do need him to make some plays.
3. Hakeem Nicks -- The free-agent-to-be wide receiver has been wildly inconsistent this season. He is on pace for a third straight 1,000-yard plus receiving season, but he has dropped five passes (three more than all of last year) and has yet to score a touchdown. Manning and the Giants' offense need Nicks to have a big second half.
4. Andre Brown -- Peyton Hillis has done a nice job in two games since the Giants signed him off the street. Brandon Jacobs had the Giants' only 100-yard rushing game of the season in Week 6 before getting hurt. The Giants are still, however, 30th in the league in rushing at 69.9 yards per game and they average only 3.2 yards per rushing attempt, also 30th. enter Brown, who is expected to play Sunday against the Oakland Raiders for the first time this season after fracturing his leg in the preseason. He averaged 5.3 yards per carry and scored eight touchdowns in 10 games last season before a broken leg ended his year. The Giants' longest run this season is 18 yards, and Brown brings hope the Giants can change that.
5. Will Beatty -- After allowing only three sacks, 22 pressures and looking like a franchise left tackle last season Beatty got paid like one, signing a five-year, $37.5-million contract with the Giants. Unfortunately, this season he has played like 2012 was a fluke. He has already given up five sacks and 29 pressures. The Giants need to keep Manning clean in the pocket to generate more big plays, and improved play from Beatty is necessary to do that.
-- Ed Valentine covers the Giants for Big Blue View, part of the SB Nation network.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- New York Giants