Shorthanded Giants Outlast Cardinals, 37-29

Eli Manning threw three touchdown passes as the New York Giants overcame the absense of two injured starters to beat the Arizona Cardinals 37-29 on Sunday.

The Giants returned to Glendale, Arizona, the site of their improbable Super Bowl XLII victory, to face the surging Cardinals. Coming into the game, Arizona knew that its high-powered offense would only be as good as the line's ability to slow up the menacing New York pass rush.

And while 37-year-old quarterback Kurt Warner was able to move the ball -- having Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin as targets certainly helps -- the Giants' defense also supplied enough pressure to keep Warner from putting up those familiar MVP-type numbers. In addition to the usual suspects -- Justin Tuck, Matthias Kiwanuka, Fred Robbins -- the secondary also played well, particularly rookie Terrell Thomas, who intercepted Kurt Warner with 10:30 on the clock and New York leading by 12 points.

Eli Manning was without running back Brandon Jacobs and wide receiver Plaxico Burress, but he was still able to efficiently move the ball down the field. Nothing spectacular, mind you -- Manning finished the day 26-of-33 for 240 yards, 3 TDs and 0 interceptions -- but unlike years past, he also avoided the big mistakes.

Despite the defense's tenaciousness, and the offense's effectiveness, New York's 10th win is, in large part, due to Domenik Hixon singlehandedly dominating special teams. He returned a second-quarter kick 83 yards, down to the Cardinals' 17 (the Giants would get a field goal out of it), and following an Arizona field goal, he'd took the ensuring kickoff 68 yards (a Manning-to-Amani Toomer touchdown followed six plays later).  The Cardinals were able to cut the lead to 24-19 early in the fourth quarter, but Manning promptly drove the Giants 80 yards in 10 plays, and found tight end Kevin Boss in the end zone to all but put the game out of reach.

New York maintains their three-game lead in the division, and the only remaining question if they'll earn a first-round playoff bye. There are still NFC East matchups against the Redskins, Eagles and Cowboys, as well as games against the Panthers and the Vikings. None of these are gimmies, but given how the Giants are playing, it apparently doesn't matter who's on the schedule.

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