But now the Giants get into their NFC East division slate with a game in decidedly unfriendly Philadelphia, and based on how they played against the Colts, it could be believed that they have reasonable expectations of beating the Eagles.
On the other hand, based on how the Eagles played against Houston, those expectations might be easier to envision than to bring to fruition.
Eli Manning played very well against his big brother's team and should continue to show his maturity and experience as this season unfolds. But he is going to need some help from his teammates when it comes to crucial situations.
While they out-gained the Colts by more than 100 total net yards (433-327), there were critical penalties to be dealt with. "We hurt ourselves more than the Colts hurt us," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "I thought we had the penalty situation under control, but we just did too many stupid things."
Indeed, the Giants committed 10 penalties for 64 yards while the Colts, clearly demonstrating significantly more control, were flagged only three times for 20 yards.
However, playing the Eagles will not mean stepping into the jaws of the NFL's most ferocious passer, Eli's older brother Peyton. Peyton completed 10 of 14 passes on third down alone, for 120 yards - and all 10 completions resulted in first downs.
"We need to tighten up on defense," said Coughlin. "The thing is we go up against another hot quarterback (Donovan McNabb) and we'll have to play better."
With the NFC East considered the toughest and closest in the league, a victory against Philadelphia is an absolute necessity. Of course, the Eagles would also consider it a big win, especially considering that they didn't win a division game all last season. Plus, starting the year 2-0 with the Giants - and possibly Dallas and Washington - getting off to 0-2 starts, would be a nice way to get things going.
The Giants went into the game feeling confident that their improvement and the home field would win the game for them, and they almost made it. Eli Manning was exceptional, completing 20 of 34 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns, and running back Tiki Barber opened his season with 110 yards on just 18 carries. Tiki also shared the team lead in receiving with five catches for 61 yards.
But for every positive play the Giants made, the Colts made two. Peyton was the catalyst for a dynamic passing game that resulted in field position good enough for four Adam Vinatieri field goals in as many tries; the Giants' Jay Feely missed his only try, a 40-yarder that was wide left.
Nevertheless, it was a suspect call in the final four minutes that finally put the Giants in a hole for good. Eli had just completed a third down pass to wide receiver Tim Carter for 19 yards to the Giants' 37-yard line when a flag fluttered to the ground. It was a call against Carter for offensive pass interference. It never happened. What did happen was that Carter fooled Colts' cornerback Nick Harper, who ran past him and then fell when he tried to recover. The official saw that as a push-off. It wasn't. But on the next play Harper intercepted a third-and-11 pass, allowing Indianapolis to move into position for Vinatieri's fourth field goal to force the Giants to go for a touchdown to win the game.
No further information was released after the game, although head coach Tom Coughlin said that his son-in-law "was going to undergo a series of tests". Those tests revealed that there was no fracture. Rich Seubert filled in for Snee.
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