Giants travel to Minnesota for major tilt
Jaime C. Harris | 4/12/2011, 5:22 p.m.
There are still four games remaining in the regular season for the Giants. But today, as they carry out the many practice repetitions in preparation for their confrontation with the rejuvenated Minnesota Vikings this Sunday (1:00 P.M.) on the road, the word that best defines them is resilient.
"I think it does," said the Giants' superlative defensive lineman and team leader, Justin Tuck, after Big Blue's 31-7 mauling of the dysfunctional Washington Redskins at the New Meadowlands this past Sunday.
"We've had our ups and downs, and hopefully we don't have any more downs. But like I said, we respond as a team. ...It says a lot about the trust we have in each other."
That trust has enabled the Giants to recover from a 1-2 start to open the season and then back-to-back losses the second and third Sundays in November that placed their playoffs hopes in peril.
They go to Minnesota with an 8-4 record, which puts the Giants among the top six teams in the NFC with only six post-season invites available.
But their path to the playoffs will be arduous. The Giants will play three of their final four games away from home, with the one game in New Jersey coming against the Eagles next Sunday, a crucial match up in the battle for the NFC East championship.
If they do make it to the NFL's second season, the Giants will get there the same way they have been able to get off the canvas: With a strong ground game and punishing pass rush.
Against the Redskins, running backs Brandon Jacobs (103 yards, two TDs) and Ahmad Bradshaw (97 yards, two TDs) combined for 200 yards rushing and four touchdowns.
On the other side of the ball, the defense accounted for four sacks on Skins QB Donovan McNabb, including two by the rising rookie defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The first round pick has four sacks in the Giants' last two games.
"I guess you can say all of that hard work is finally paying off," he assessed.
As for dealing with the pressure of each remaining game being critical, head coach Tom Coughlin views it pragmatically.
"...I just think it's reality and it is what it is," he asserted on Monday.
"We're very aware of it, and in order to keep pace with the way in which it's going and unfolding, you have to keep winning."