Before the 2007 Giants were heavy underdogs to defeat the unbeaten Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, they were slight underdogs to even get out of the first round of the postseason.
The 2007 Giants were a wild-card team, not a division champion. Their postseason journey began on the road, as is the case for all wild-card teams.
If those Giants didn’t beat the Jon Gruden-coached Buccaneers in Tampa Bay in January 2008, the first of the Super Bowl titles in Tom Coughlin’s tenure would have never happened.
Of course, if the Giants didn’t overcome a 0-2 start to make the playoffs, all of that would have been moot.
The 2013 Giants are also trying to shake off two straight losses to begin the regular season. And with the 2007 Giants in mind, it’s probably a good time to start wondering how this year’s team stacks up with the rest of the NFC — not just the NFC East. After all, there are three playoff berths potentially available to the Giants, two of which are wild-card spots.
This week, we’re ranking the NFC’s clubs 1-16. Here’s a spoiler: the Giants aren’t first, but they aren’t last, either.
Nevertheless, there’s a lot of work to be done to compete with the team at the very top of our NFC rankings after two games:
1. Seahawks (2-0) — Call them the conference’s bullies to beat after they took apart San Francisco on Sunday night. While the Giants have the tall order of playing the Seahawks this season, the game is not until Week 15 — and it’s at MetLife Stadium, not in Seattle. You do not want to mess with the Seahawks in Seattle.
2. 49ers (1-1) — San Francisco must avoid a post-Seattle letdown, and the team’s next three games are tricky. Home tilts against Indianapolis (Sept. 22) and Houston (Oct. 6) are not gimmees, and a road trip to St. Louis (Sept. 26) also looms.
3. Packers (1-1) — If the offense plays as well as it has in the first two games, Green Bay is likely back on their way to the postseason for the fifth consecutive season.
4. Saints (2-0) — Remarkably, they are unbeaten despite scoring a combined 39 points in two games. Their defense has been sharp early in the campaign, and their offense will catch up. What a nice start.
5. Bears (2-0) — A tough game at Pittsburgh is next for Chicago. While the Steelers are winless, they still have an above-average defense. This is a nice test for Marc Trestman’s club.
6. Falcons (1-1) — The Falcons rebounded from their week-one loss to New Orleans with a fine effort in victory against St. Louis. However, injuries are becoming a problem.
BEST OF THE REST
7. Cowboys (1-1) — Beating the Rams on Sunday would give Dallas two NFC wins in three games. Conference victories could be important at season’s end if the playoff picture is muddled.
8. Lions (1-1) — The Lions missed a chance to start 2-0 when they lost a late lead and fell to the Arizona Cardinals Sunday. What’s more, it was a conference loss. Now Detroit must play at winless, desperate Washington on Sunday.
9. Eagles (1-1) — How will Kansas City attack Philadelphia’s pass defense on Thursday night? Chiefs coach Andy Reid knows the Eagles’ personnel well. What an intriguing matchup.
10. Rams (1-1) — Four of their five touchdowns have been scored by key offseason additions Jared Cook and Tavon Austin (two apiece).
11. Cardinals (1-1) — Earned an important comeback win against Detroit, but a tough trip to New Orleans is next on the schedule.
12. Giants (0-2) — The G-Men lead the NFL in points allowed (77) and turnovers (10). Ouch.
13. Redskins (0-2) — Slow starts have hurt Washington in two straight losses. However, like the New York, Washington is capable of more than it has shown.
14. Vikings (0-2) — Not only do the Vikings have two conference losses, but they have two divisional losses. They are the first team on our list that is in some real trouble.
15. Buccaneers (0-2) — No NFC team is gaining fewer yards through two games. Also, Tampa Bay has lost two games in the final moments, and controversy has followed the team.
16. Panthers (0-2) — Like the Bucs, the Panthers’ offense is underwhelming. Carolina has also dropped two close games. Unlike the Bucs, the Panthers’ defense is also concern and injuries are a real worry in the secondary.