Giants Sneak out of Detroit Alive

C'mon, you didn't really think it would be easy, did you? The Giants struggled mightily at times in Detroit, yet when all the dust had settled, it was the G-Men who emerged from beautiful Ford Field victorious. In the process, New York stamped itself not only as a strong wild card contender, but as THE top wild card candidate in the NFC.

Yes, there are still six games left to play, but you can pretty much pencil New York in for one of the NFC's two extra post-season positions. Having basically already kissed any hopes of winning the NFC East goodbye, that's about all the Giants can accomplish at this point. Then, once they get into the post-season tournament they can focus on getting Tom Coughlin his first playoff win as Giants coach. As you all already know by now, Big Blue's been bounced out of the first round of the playoffs each of the last two seasons.

As things currently stand, the Giants would be headed to a first-round playoff matchup against either the NFC South-leading Buccaneers or the NFC West leaders, Seattle. But that's a topic for another day. We all know a lot can change between now and then. But what's least likely to change is the fact that New York is headed to the playoffs for the third straight season. For now, Giants fans can just relax knowing that their club walked away with a victory in Detroit that it very easily could have coughed up. And very well would have coughed up last season.

Twice late in the game the Lions came storming back trying to take the lead. And both times New York's defense stood tall, picking off passes and sending the Lions packing in the process. Of all people to shine late defensively, it was James Butler and Sam Madison posting game-clinching picks. The Giants definitely didn't earn any style points, but they didn't need to. The win's the thing.

Here are some random thoughts as New York's season-ending six-game stretch approaches…

Can Brandon Jacobs please stay healthy? He's an absolute beast with the ball but almost always succumbs to some sort of ailment. This week it was a hamstring injury that knocked Jacobs from the game. He had already posted more than 100 combined yards and bulled his way for the Giants' only touchdown of the day. But he couldn't finish the game and the Giants had to count on Reuben Droughns to run out the clock. With only 13 yards on 11 carries from Droughns, it's easy to see that the Giants missed Jacobs – badly…

It sure was nice to see the Michigan receiving connection contribute to New York's offensive output in the Motor City. Former Michigan State star Plaxico Burress caught four passes for 47 yards and Michigan grad Amani Toomer added four catches of his own for 39 yards…

The Giants are halfway to last year's win total during the season's second half. Big Blue topped only Carolina and Washington during the second half of last season to back into the playoffs. It'd be shocking, to say the least, if that type of scenario unfolded again in 2007…

Last year's crushing ninth-game loss to Chicago was the first of four straight losses for New York. This win over the Lions snapped New York's losing skid at just one – the Dallas loss and the Dallas loss only…

Never mind my comments elsewhere in this paper about Jon Kitna being for real. Sure, he made some very nice throws at times during the game. Of course that's the case when you throw for a gaudy 377 yards. But he also made some awful throws, including three INTs, and twice late in the game misfired on passes that would have been huge plays, if not touchdowns. It seems silly to say you're not impressed with a QB that threw for 377 yards, but those who watched the game closely will recall how many more yards and points Kitna left on the field. But worst of all, Kitna was seen screaming at a receiver coming off the field. Regardless of who was at fault for the miscommunication, you'd never see Eli Manning barking at one of his receivers, and rightly so…

Speaking of Manning, we must give credit where credit is due. For the first time in weeks it seems, Manning played a perfect game. In other words, he didn't make the one or two crucial errors that we've gotten used to seeing lately. Sure, Manning only threw for one TD and it was a short pass to Jacobs. But he wasn't intercepted and finished the game with a 100.7 QB rating. All of that was even more impressive because it came on the road in a very loud and hostile environment…

And how about the game big number 92 had? Michael Strahan played a vintage contest. He finished with six tackles, with half of them sacks. He was all over, around and in the face of Jon Kitna all game long. Strahan now has eight sacks on the season and really appears to be rounding back into top form just in time…

After the game, LG Rich Seubert and TEs coach Mike Pope sought out former Giants tight end Dan Campbell on the field. Campbell, Big Blue's third-round pick in 1999, is on Injured Reserve with an elbow injury. It was a fitting compliment to Campbell, who proved to be one of the best all-around guys in the Giants locker during my 12 years on the beat. Here's hoping DC returns to health and has another solid year like he did in 2006 when he averaged close to 15 yards per catch and grabbed four TDs.


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