Commentary

Giants have destiny in their hands

Tied at 7-4 with the Eagles, Big Blue controls its own fate in the division and playoffs

Updated: December 2, 2010, 7:47 AM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

After a crushing Week 11 loss in Philadelphia, the Giants were devastated.

They had done all they could to beat themselves in a monster NFC East showdown and let a win squirt out of their hands like one of Ahmad Bradshaw's fumbles.

But more than a week later, the Giants have regained control of their destiny thanks to the Bears and Justin Tuck's wake-up call at halftime on Sunday.

After Tuck delivered a stirring speech that sparked the Giants to a 24-20 come-from-behind win against Jacksonville, the Giants would watch the Eagles lose in Chicago a few hours later. If they felt completely deflated after their 27-17 loss to the Eagles, Sunday's win and the Eagles' loss breathed new life into the Giants.

"It was pretty good," linebacker Michael Boley said of the Eagles' 31-26 loss to the Bears. "That was one that we were hoping for. Our mindset was to put ourselves back in the same position when we play them again. Whoever wins that game is going to be tops in the NFC East."

The Giants and Eagles are knotted at 7-4 with Philadelphia carrying the edge due to their two division victories, one of them against the Giants. But the Giants still have one monstrous game remaining at home against the Eagles and two divisional games against the Redskins.

And not to be overlooked are two very difficult road games at Minnesota and Green Bay. Philadelphia has to rebound on a short week and play Houston on Thursday night and still has two games against an improving Dallas team, which could play the spoiler. Tony Romo could conceivably return for the last game of the season at Philadelphia. The Eagles also play host to the Vikings. "We never felt we were out of the mix," Eli Manning said. "There's going to be a big game in the season like last week that doesn't go your way, but it doesn't mean you're [finished]. There is still a lot of football left." And there's time for the Giants to get healthy. Despite their injuries practically turning the Timex Performance Center into the New Jersey wing of the Hospital for Special Surgery, the Giants still can win the NFC East.

[+] EnlargeJustin Tuck & Michael Vick
Nick Laham/Getty ImagesThe Giants and Eagles will be in a battle for the NFC East title for the remainder of the season.
If they can take care of business against the Redskins (5-6) on Sunday at home in what amounts to a must-win if the Giants want to remain in the division hunt, Manning might have reinforcements the following week in Minnesota.

Tackle David Diehl (hip/hamstring) has started running and is feeling better each day. Center Shaun O'Hara (foot) has been working hard to return soon as well. Wide receiver Steve Smith (pectoral) is a long shot for this week but realistically could be back next week for the Vikings.

Still, the Giants have to find a way to solve Donovan McNabb. This will be their first glimpse of old No. 5 in new burgundy and gold and the Giants have to hope that McNabb left his penchant for beating the Giants behind in Philadelphia.

McNabb has beaten the Giants four straight times, including a 23-11 win in the playoffs in 2008. But he no longer has DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy and the Eagles' offensive line anymore.

And the Giants might as well share an ownership stake in the Redskins with Daniel Snyder since they have won seven of their last eight meetings with Washington.

This, though, will be their first encounter with Mike Shanahan and his new staff. Could Shanahan and McNabb change the Redskins' recent misfortunes against the Giants?

Outside of Michael Vick's video game-like performance, the Redskins have played teams tough, beating the likes of Green Bay and Philadelphia while losing three of their games by a total of 10 points this season.

This week could feel a lot like last Sunday's struggle with the Jaguars.

Tom Coughlin is just hoping he won't need Tuck to deliver another passionate speech to get his team to show up. At this point, the Giants know what they have to do. The NFC East is there for them to take.

"For us, we can't allow ourselves to get in a lull like that, especially against good teams," Tuck said. "We only have good teams to play. We are not playing mediocre football teams from here on out. To keep pace in the NFC, we have to win games like this."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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