The Biggest Seven Days of the Giants' Season

Two games in five days will decide the future of the Giants

By Josh Alper
|  Saturday, Nov 21, 2009  |  Updated 9:08 AM EDT
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Giants: 2009 Season in Pictures

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It's up to you, New York.

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Trying to figure out what's gone wrong over the last four games for the Giants has touched on every part of the team at some point.

Eli Manning's foot, Tom Coughlin's coaching, Brandon Jacobs's running style, a defense that's physically breaking down and the ghost of Plaxico have all had their moment in the sun, but none of that matters anymore. Thanks to NFL schedulers, we'll know everything about these Giants this time next week.

The Giants have actually had the nerve to complain about being scheduled to play a road game in Denver on Thanksgiving. It's funny that a team that's been around as long as the Giants failed to notice that there are teams playing away from home every year that Thursday, but there you have it. The first response to that is tough nuts, and the second is that the team that benefitted from Hurricane Katrina to the tune of a ninth home game in 2005 should just take the schedule they get and shut up.

Third, though, is that this is the best possible way for the Giants to come off their bye. Five days, two games and every question about your team will be answered. Win both and you're 7-4, sitting pretty for a playoff berth and done with questions about what's wrong with your team. Lose both and you're 5-6, essentially out of the playoff mix and able to get an early start on building next year's squad.

The last scenario is the split, one that underscores how much is riding on the next week. Beat Atlanta and you've helped your playoff cause immensely by adding a conference win to the tiebreaker mix. That's not as good as winning both, but it's a lot better than the other outcomes Lose to the Falcons on Sunday and a win over Denver doesn't wind up helping you all that much because, at best, you're behind Atlanta in playoff pecking order after Week 13.

So it's a big week for Big Blue, and before you've polished off the pumpkin pie you'll know whether there's any reason to give a damn about New York football once November ends.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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