They will be back on television screens on Tuesday night and those fans, still in the throes of the spiral set off during that fateful fourth quarter, will be in a very strange position as they settle in for this unusual night of football. They will be in a position that pretty much forces them to root for the Eagles to win their game against the Vikings.
Anyone with chills running down their spines right now understands that this is the sports equivalent of asking South Koreans to root for Kim Jong-Il in the annual Autocratic Dictator pageant. Giants fans need to suck it up, though, because an Eagles win will help them salvage something from the wreckage of the last two weeks.
If the Eagles win on Tuesday night, the Bears will need to win on Sunday to assure themselves of a bye through the first round of the playoffs. That bodes well for the Giants who can only make the playoffs if the Packers lose Sunday's game to their rivals from Chicago. The Bears beat the Eagles head to head, which means they own the tiebreaker should the two teams finish the season in a tie and that they will have no reason to go all out in the event of an Eagles loss.
Bears coach Lovie Smith has said that he plans on playing his starters either way, but plans have a way of changing in the face of injury risks in meaningless games against a desperate team playing full throttle. Historical animosity or no, it's pretty silly to think Smith is going to go all out in a game he doesn't need just to help out the Giants. If this situation comes up and Bears starters do play, they aren't going to be on the field for the whole game.
The nice thing about Tuesday night for Giants fans is that the Eagles are playing the Vikings, which makes needing them to win a little bit easier. Now in their third straight week of weather-related hassles at the end of a dismal season and down to rookie Joe Webb at quarterback, the Vikings have very little fight left in them. It will be nice to root for a winning team for a change, even if they do wear wings on their helmets.
All of this is moot if the Giants can't beat the Redskins, of course, but let's try to tackle just one problem at a time.