The Giants and Victor Cruz appear to be close to a deal. The structure has been agreed upon, according to Cruz, who made it known last week that he would like to sign a new contract before the end of the season. It could be a matter of weeks or just days or hours before the final details are announced, but the sooner the Giants get this done the better.
With eight games down and eight to go, the G-Men find themselves with a 6-2 record—again! Will they be able to maintain this pace? That is the question.
The Giants couldn’t avoid the dreaded second half slump last season, but they can take a positive first step to reverse their fortunes this season by signing Victor Cruz. Their goal should be to limit any possible distractions. If the Giants want to defy their past and finish the season strong, then their focus needs to be on football and these other key factors:
- Eli Manning—It has not gone unnoticed that Manning has not been at his best the past few games, despite leading his team to four consecutive victories. He’s missed on a few more occasions than normal either over throwing receivers or being slightly off target. There have also been quite a few drops. Plus, when he has had to, Manning has delivered with the kind of throws that only he can make. Giants fans should not panic. Manning will get back in the grove. He may never have even really left it.
- The Running Game—I admire how the Giants have committed to improving their ground game. They need to be able to run the ball effectively, and they should continue to stick with it but not at the expense of the passing game. There were several situations against Dallas where the Giants should have passed and chose to run instead. The third down play with 54 seconds to go immediately comes to mind. Bradshaw may have actually gotten the first down, a measurement would have been nice, but, regardless, a safe five-yard pass would have sealed the deal.
- The Defensive Line—The defense has had its ups and downs this season. Why was Dez Bryant wide open in the end zone on an obvious Hail Mary play? Who knows, but the most troubling issue is the lack of inconsistent pressure on the opposing quarterback. It is time for Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora to step it up. It is that simple. They are impact players who are not having an obvious impact on games. Impact is measured in stats like sacks and forced fumbles, and, so far, Tuck and Osi have combined for just four sacks and zero fumbles.
Prediction: I think the Giants will go 4-4 and finish the season 10-6. There is certainly a game or two—or eight—that could go either way, and an “extra” win or two would be nice, because I don’t think winning the NFC East will be as easy as some are making it out to be. Although, I hope they’re right. Still, four wins should be enough to get the Giants into the playoffs, where anything can happen.