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The 2007 Giants Have Not Rematerialized

The Giants are in the playoffs, but that's it at the moment.

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012  |  Updated 6:33 AM EDT
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All year long Tom Coughlin stressed finishing.

He said it in almost every press conference with the reality that, to some degree, his job hung on the team's ability to summon up enough effort to close out the season playing well for the first time since they won the Super Bowl.

No matter how many games the Giants won in the first half, there was always a little bird on the team's collective shoulder chirping a reminder that none of it mattered if the bottom fell out in the second half again.

And the bottom held. Despite a 3-5 record down the stretch, the Giants are hosting a playoff game next Sunday against the Falcons because they won three games against the Cowboys and Jets that they absolutely had to win.

For some people, that's all it takes to start planning a Super Bowl parade up Broadway in February. The game had barely ended on Sunday night when there were suddenly comparisons to the 2007 title run being made without much memory of the fact that the Giants have already lost games to the three teams ahead of them in the NFC pecking order.

That's not to say that a Super Bowl title isn't possible because any team that's alive right now has a shot to make a run to glory. But a shot is all the Giants have right now and the fact that a bunch of guys in the same uniform won a title in Arizona four years ago doesn't give them a better shot than anybody else.

Since everyone seems to have ignored everything other than the end result of the season, let's do a little history review so that everyone can get on the same page. No matter how nice it looks for the narrative, the 2007 Giants weren't some Bad News Bears team that had no business on the field with the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Those Giants were a very good team that got hot at the right time, which makes them a lot like every other team that has ever won the Super Bowl.

They had a much better running game than the current Giants. They had a better overall defense thanks to players like Antonio Pierce and Michael Strahan and the offensive line performed at a higher level throughout the season.

Whatever similarities there are -- Coughlin, Eli Manning, a good pass rush -- don't do enough to just say that this team is going to win the Super Bowl because of what happened in those four games four years ago.

Again, it doesn't mean it won't happen, but if it does it will be because of a chain of events unique to this group.

Those three similarities, plus Victor Cruz's otherworldly play of late, are what gave the team a chance. What they do with it will be up to them, not the ghosts of Giants past.

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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