Paul Schwartz: As shocked as many fans were by the performance of the Giants in their miserable 23-11 playoff loss to the Eagles no one should have been greatly surprised, considering the Giants gave us many clues this was coming. After their 11-1 start this became a different team. Although the loss of Plaxico Burress is the obvious key factor it's not the only reason for the sharp decline in performance. What killed the Giants against the Eagles? They couldn't get near the quarterback on defense and couldn't sustain drives or score from inside the red zone on offense. Those were the exact problems that cropped up the last month of the season and they were never rectified. No doubt, the Giants after 12 games were good enough to make it back to a second straight Super Bowl. The Giants who finished up 1-4 were not. Sound familiar? The Giants who were 10-6 during the 2007 regular season were not good enough to make an extended playoff run. The Giants who were 4-0 in the postseason and suddenly elevated their play were. In this NFL, it's about when you are playing your best and the timing was off this time for the Giants.
Ken Palmer: You're dead on, buddy. Last year at this time we were talking about how Dallas couldn't just flip the switch back on during the playoffs and that's why the Giants were able to go into Big D and emerge with their second of four glorious postseason victories. This time the shoe – and the slump – was on the other foot. The Giants just weren't the same after the whole Plaxico Burress fiasco, but like Paul said, that's hardly the only reason they fell so short of their ultimate goal this season. Plax's absence had nothing to do with the fact that the lack of depth on the D-line led to an invisible pass rush. Unless he was mentally affected by it, I don't think Antonio Pierce can blame that unfortunate event for his poor play when the games counted the most. Offensively, however, there's no doubt that no Plax made things more difficult for everyone else. The red zone troubles, the failure to run the ball with any consistency, the fact that Eli Manning looked like a frightened rookie and not a Super Bowl MVP against the Eagles can all be traced back to New York having no number 17 on the field. But the Giants said all along that they could and would overcome. Unfortunately, that was just talk. Perhaps it's time for Tom Coughlin to order more ‘Talk is cheap' t-shirts for his guys; they obviously forgot all about important motto.
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