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Pressure's Mounting on the Giants

Another Cowboys win pushes Giants into second place

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Nov 25, 2011  |  Updated 11:00 AM EDT
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Pressure's Mounting on the Giants

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The Giants are playing catch up once again.

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The Giants have seemed to do their best work this season when their backs are against the wall, so maybe it is a good thing that they'll be taking the field on Monday night in second place.

Tony Romo led the Cowboys back in the final minutes on Thanksgiving, giving the Cowboys their fourth straight win and possession of first place in the NFC East. If the Giants don't win either of their next two games, they are guaranteed to be looking up at the Cowboys when they meet for the first time this season in Week 14.

With games in New Orleans and against the undefeated Packers, avoiding that fate would be difficult under the best of circumstances. The Giants are not familiar with those circumstances at present.

The injury parade continued this week as both the team's starting tackles were bitten by the bug. Will Beatty might miss the rest of the season with a detached retina that he had surgically repaired on Thursday and Kareem McKenzie missed practice on Thanksgiving with a toe injury.

McKenzie's status is up in the air, but the chances of the Giants turning in the improved line play they need to win against even the subpar Saints front seven are much lower thanks to Beatty's injury. David Diehl will move back to the left tackle spot he couldn't handle last season and his play at guard (ranked the worst in the league by Pro Football Focus) doesn't provide much confidence for a resurgence in his play.

All teams have to deal with injuries, though, and the Giants can't use them as an excuse if they continue to slide their way out of playoff contention. There's still plenty of talent on the field and that talent simply needs to step up and take care of business.

Easier said than done? Sure, but that doesn't mean the Giants and their coaches don't need to find a way to make it happen.

The best path to take would be to somehow convince themselves that the first quarter on Monday night is the fourth quarter. Maybe falling into second place will be just the thing they need to create a sense of urgency that normally doesn't arrive until the team is behind with less than 15 minutes to play in a game.

Let it all hang out from the first whistle for a change and see what that does to the results. Otherwise the Giants might not get a chance to come back in the fourth quarter of their season.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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