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The Giants Have Plenty of Football Left to Play

Ten games is a long distance to sprint

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    The start of something big?

    After a few weeks of turmoil, all is right in the Giants' world right now. 

    They laid a beating on the Packers at the Meadowlands Sunday night, giving the team their first win in November and quieting those who decided that two losses were enough reason to write off a team they were touting as a champion at 6-2. The season ebbs and flows, something that seems to be forgotten every year when one of the ebbs comes about. 

    It's also easy to forget that one week's raging success means nothing for the next week. The Giants need only look to their performances after blowouts against the Panthers and 49ers to make that clear, although defensive end Justin Tuck isn't thinking that way. 

    "I think winning just like losing is kind of contagious, that winning feeling and hopefully that’s a contagious feeling for us and we’ve had a lot of success late in the season the past few years and hopefully we can continue that."

    Thing is, it isn't actually all that late in the season. There are five regular season games to play and, barring a serious downturn by the Falcons and/or 49ers, the Giants are looking at a game the first weekend of the playoffs. 

    That would mean sustaining a run for 10 weeks to win another Super Bowl, far more than the six-week sprint that brought them the title last year. The Giants were able to ride a wave of rejuvenation and two weeks of planning into this week's game, something that won't be available to them unless they advance to New Orleans in February. 

    Injuries to Kenny Phillips and Andre Brown drive home the importance of those two weeks of rest and preparation before the Packers game. For the rest of the season, the Giants will have to fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to which players will be available from week to week and their game plans will have to account for that uncertainty going forward. 

    Beyond that, players like Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks looked better than they have in at least a month coming off the extended rest. Bradshaw's a particular worry since Brown won't be around to split carries for the rest of the season. 

    And, despite the 38-10 score, every problem hasn't gone away. Eli Manning avoided disaster thanks to the poor hands of Packers defensive backs, but the performance wasn't markedly different than the ones that sent people into a tizzy before the bye. 

    The outcome was better, but calling this a great Manning performance is a bit of an insult to the legitimately great ones in the past. Too much was made of his slump, but too much can be made of a rebound that relied heavily on a screen pass that accounted for a quarter of his yards. 

    We're not trying to rain on any parades. The Giants can all but wrap up the division this week and are just as strong a contender for the title as they have been all season. 

    It's just that it is still way too early to start talking about late-season runs to the Super Bowl. 

    Josh Alper is also a writer for Pro Football Talk. You can follow him on Twitter.

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