Week 12 in the NFL has almost been a perfect one for the Giants.
The Eagles are finished at 4-7, with DeSean Jackson benched and coaches nearly coming to blows on their own sideline while the home crowd chants for Andy Reid's head. Tampa is also 4-7, and that leaves them out of the running for a playoff berth.
The Lions lost on Thanksgiving, their fourth loss in six weeks, and they will likely be without defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for at least one game because of his decision to stomp on another player. Another NFC North playoff contender lost and the Bears are going to have a hard time winning much more with Caleb Hanie playing quarterback.
Yes, the Cowboys won and they are in first place in the NFC East but suddenly, the Wild Card looks like a real possibility for the second-place team in the division. You'd prefer to get the home game, obviously, but the NFC picture looks much rosier for the Giants than it did last week.
It would look even better if the Giants could figure out a way to win a game. All the help in the world doesn't mean a thing if the Giants aren't able to move past teams in front of them by doing themselves a solid and finishing the season strong.
Their next chance to start doing that comes in New Orleans on Monday night when they face the Saints. It isn't going to be easy.
Drew Brees is having the best season of his career, which is saying something given how great he's been since taking his act to the Bayou, and the Saints always play well at the Superdome. Stopping their offense will be a tall order for a Giants defense that has seen its one plus element, the pass rush, disappear over the last few weeks.
Offensively, the Giants are facing a team that struggles to stop the run which would be a good thing if they weren't so awful at running it. With no Ahmad Bradshaw or Will Beatty in the lineup on Monday night, there's little reason to believe that is going to change.
So it will be up to Eli Manning once again and, frankly, it's hard to like his chances in a shootout with Brees in Brees' building. The Giants will have to play a nearly flawless game to win and they have been making far too many errors in recent weeks to think that's something they can do on Monday night.
But do it they must if that's what it takes to win a game. Another loss on Monday will make three in a row with the Packers coming to town and the Cowboys getting a date with the Cardinals, making the chances of being two games out of first come Week 14 all too real.
The rest of the league is trying to make it easy for the Giants to make the playoffs. Now they need to hold up their end of the bargain.