So here's the situation.
The Giants get into the playoffs as a sixth seed next week if they beat the Redskins and the Bears beat or tie Green Bay, OR if the Giants beat the Redskins and New Orleans loses Monday night and next week, OR if the Giants beat the Redskins and the Packers and the Bucs both lose or tie.
Bleak, bleak, bleak. And don't forget, the whole basis of the scenario is the Giants beating the Redskins, which at this point looks like a remote possibility even with the ever-loveable but generally inept Rex Grossman at the Redskins' helm.
There's little other way to feel after a 45-17 loss in a "Win and In" game. But it's not just what happened in Green Bay that has virtually everybody using words like "collapse" and "fired." It's what has happened over the last two games.
In a span of just over 68 minutes, the defense and special teams have allowed a grand total of 73 points. This, by the way, is the Perry Fewell defense that looked uncollapsable just a few games ago as it held Washington to a touchdown, Minnesota to a field goal, and Philadelphia to 10 points over the first three quarters. Ever since the Eagles started the roof a-fallin' with 7:58 remaining in the fourth quarter, Fewell's defense has looked worn out and ineffective.
The blitz doesn't get there. The four-man rush doesn't get there. Osi Umenyiora and Barry Cofield have virtually disappeared. And while it's true that Aaron Rodgers and Michael Vick have turned the stomachs of many defensive coordinators this year, a better showing should have been made against both of them.
That's why it might have been understandable for the Giants to lose close in Green Bay. But for the bottom to fall out the way it did in the second half? Uh-uh.
Tom Coughlin, stuck in Appleton, WI, until the metro-area airports open Tuesday morning (a little salt in that wound, right?) said the six turnovers took the life out of his team. And that's true enough. It's hard enough to contain Rodgers, but give him a short field and it's nearly impossible. Three second-half drives started in Giants territory. including one that came off Eli Manning's fourth interception.
The Giants are clearly reeling, spiraling toward a second straight non-playoff year. And even if the Giants do back themselves in, they really don't deserve to be there anyway. One should not get too angry about a one-and-out postseason. After all, magical runs like 2007 come along once in a lifetime, not twice in a decade.
More likely, they'll finish only one game better than last year after bringing in a new defensive coordinator and a more aggressive system. One game better than 2009 after Manning becomes the first Giants quarterback to throw 30 touchdowns in a season since Y.A. Tittle in 1963.
It doesn't really add up. Actually, it does, to a bunch of bad math.
It's almost over, though.