At the beginning of the season, the Vikings-Giants game looked like the possibility for a statement game by the Vikings. The Giants were coming off a wild-card appearance in which they got screwed out of a potential field goal when a referee missed a pass interference call late in the game and many viewed the G-Men as the favorite this year in the NFC East.
Instead, the Giants are 2-4 and a loss today could all but end their hopes of winning a division title and even earning a playoff spot. But, it isn't really the fault of most of the players and coaches that the Giants find themselves in this position.
Coaches will tell you there are three games within the game -- offense, defense and special teams. While the offense has made far too many turnovers, it has played well enough to win. While the defense has played too erratic, it has played well enough to win. It's the special teams that have abandoned the G-Men this year.
If the Giants miss the playoffs this year, they can point to two special teams gaffes as to why. In September vs. the Cowboys, the Giants had a three-point lead with eight seconds to play and were kicking off. The kick went out of bounds, putting the ball on the 40-yard line and gave the Cowboys one play to get into scoring position. They did, kicked the game-tying field goal and won the game in overtime. Last week, the Giants held the Eagles to 130 yards of total offense, but lost in the final two minutes on a 82-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Take out just two plays by the special teams and the Giants would be 4-2 and the outlook for this game would be very different. Instead, the G-Men have two critical losses in their division that they shouldn't have had and those will come back to haunt them if they end up in any kind of tie-breaker procedure.
* After the Giants beat the Vikings 41-0, the Vikes won just eight of their next 29 games. After going 8-21, the Vikings are now 9-0.
* Only 11 players remain on the Vikings roster that were in uniform when the Giants beat the Vikings in the 2000 NFC title game.
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