When the 6-5 Giants host the 11-0 Packers on Sunday afternoon, it looks like a battle of teams both headed in opposite directions. For Green Bay, an 18th consecutive overall victory would put them that much closer to an undefeated season and New England’s record of 21 straight wins from 2003-04 (the Colts own the regular-season mark with 23 consecutive victories from 2008-09). And ironically for QB Aaron Rodgers and company, the 2003-04 Patriots are also the last team to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Speaking of the Pats, they were the last team Tom Coughlin’s club defeated this season, ending the team’s 20-game regular season winning streak at Foxborough and wrapping up a 6-2 start for Big Blue. But ever that rousing victory it’s been rough sledding for the Giants, who have lost 3 in a row to the 49ers, Giants and Saints, the latter on Monday night courtesy of a 49-24 blowout.
Most are quick to point out New York’s longtime trend of strong first-halves and so-so stretch runs for this franchise under Coughlin dating back to arrival in 2004,but the numbers show that Jim Fassel’s final season as head coach also featured a second-half collapse as the ’03 Giants opened 4-4 then lost their final 8 games to finish 4-12. Dating back to that season, the G-Men are an impressive 51-21 in their first 8 contests of the season (.708) compared to just 24-43 (.358) the final half of the year.
We also seem to forget the recent history of this club in terms of win-loss marks. In back-to-back seasons in 2006 and ’07, the Giants finished 8-8 and 10-6, the former resulting in a Wild Card berth (and loss to the Eagles in the playoffs) and the latter one of the great postseason runs as Coughlin’s squad won road playoff games at Tampa, Dallas and Lambeau Field and then stunned the unbeaten Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
But the football gods of sorts can be cruel. Following a 12-4 finish in ’08 in which they were the NFC’s number-one seed but failed to win a playoff game, New York finished 8-8 and 10-6, respectively, in consecutive seasons in 2009 and ’10,. The former featured a 3-8 finish after a 5-0 start and no playoff berth, while the latter had them and the 10-6 Buccaneers on the outside looking in come postseason invite time.
So once again here comes the stretch run and these injury-plagued Giants aren’t playing their best football. But they still have a chance to turn things around considering they have a pair of games remaining with the 7-4 first-place Cowboys. Of course, the odds of them winning the NFC East would certainly drop if they fall 2 games behind this weekend with 4 to play, but stranger things have happened--to not only the Giants but Dallas as well.