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The Big Blue 10: Good Luck

Running down the 10 biggest reasons the Giants are in the Super Bowl



    The Big Blue 10: Good Luck
    Josh Alper
    The timing of Tuck and Osi's injuries worked out well for the Giants.

    As we wait for the Giants and Patriots to take the field in Indianapolis, we're going to be running down the 10 biggest reasons why the Giants are headed to Super Bowl 42. Coming in at number nine is Good Luck.

    Given the way the season began, it probably seems odd to see good luck associated with the Giants.

    During training camp, all of the attention that wasn't focused on the loss of Terrell Thomas and several backup cornerbacks to season-ending injuries was directed at other teams snatching up Giants free agents for salaries well beyond the bounds of reasonable.

    It wasn't hard to find people talking about how hexed the team was in 2011 and the chatter only increased when players kept getting hurt once the season got underway.

    But if you're going to deal with injuries, it's far better to deal with them in the early part of the season than it is to lose a key player come Week 13 or 14. Having Thomas would have been nice, but playing a full season without him gave the team a chance to come up with other answers in the interim.

    It also meant that players who missed time in the early going, like Michael Boley, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, were able to work their way back to health by the time the postseason came around. 

    The Giants didn't lose any integral pieces for the season after training camp, which gave them a big advantage over teams like the Texans and Bears who had their entire season altered thanks to the ill-timed loss of players.

    You could include the Falcons and 49ers on that list. Starting cornerback Brent Grimes might not have been enough for Atlanta to change the outcome of the first playoff game, but missing him certainly made life easier for the Giants.

    Ted Ginn didn't play in the NFC Championship Game and we all know what happened to the 49ers' punt return game as a result of his absence. Who knows what the outcome would be if Ginn had played, but we do know Kyle Williams wouldn't have lost two fumbles that led to 10 points it didn't look like the Giants were going to get otherwise.

    Speaking of fumbles, that was another spot where fortune smiled upon the Giants. Forcing a fumble is a question of skill, but time has shown that recovering them is random.

    In 2011, the Giants lost just eight of their 19 fumbles, including all three of their fumbles during the crucial final four weeks of the season, which is a nice change from 2010 when they fell on nine of 26.

    Defensively, they went from recovering 23 of 42 opposition fumbles to recovering 11 of 21 and those numbers held during the first three weeks of the playoffs.

    Officiating decisions have been a mixed bag over the course of the season, but the Giants got help on two crucial plays over the course of the season.

    One was Victor Cruz's decision to fall to the turf and drop the ball late in the win over Arizona and the other was the ruling of forward progress being halted on Ahmad Bradshaw's apparent fumble late in the fourth quarter against the 49ers last Sunday.

    Both calls were correct interpretations, but both are the kinds of judgment calls, the Bradshaw one in particular, that could have been interpreted the other way just as easily.

    That's part of life in the NFL, but when either loss would have ended the Giants season it is nice that both of them went their way.

    All of this leads us to the most important point about luck. Every one of these breaks that went the Giants' way would be meaningless if they didn't take advantage of them.

    You only need to look to the win over the Packers to see that. The Packers benefited from two terrible calls, but they weren't able to turn those calls into their favor the way the Giants did against the 49ers and Cardinals.

    It's not what causes the crucial moments in the season that ultimately matters. It's what you do with those moments and that's where this Giants team has shone the brightest.

    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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