Musings, observations and the occasional insight as we ponder what
• There were no 52 passes this time. And because of it, the New York Giants own a 10th win and are going to the playoffs for a third consecutive year.
The Giants finally woke up and figured out they don't need
The result? Giants offensive coordinator
After last week's 18 of 52 passing performance by Manning in that sloppy 22-10 home loss to Washington, it was only logical to stick to the ground at Buffalo. If your quarterback keeps getting you beat, don't let your quarterback beat you.
Manning still had his problems in the elements against the Bills, throwing two more interceptions and losing two of his alarming five fumbles. But with New York rushing for 291 of their 385 yards, not even Manning could doom a Giants team that can now afford to rest key players such as Jacobs (sprained left ankle) and receiver
Not that the road really intimidates New York. The win at Buffalo was the Giants' seventh in a row away from home, a franchise single-season record. New York hasn't lost on the road since falling 38-28 in Week 1 at Dallas.
And for all their troubles at times this season, with all the suffocating speculation about coach
• Remember when
For a guy who walked in the door saying nothing would be a higher priority than beating Green Bay, the Bears' longtime division rival, that's delivering on a promise.
As for Favre, there's got to be a little concern when you realize he's had his two worst games of the season in the past four weeks -- at Dallas in the Packers' Week 13 loss, and against the Bears, in a game in which he was 2 of 7 for 9 yards passing at the half.
• Do you realize the NFC East could still send three teams to the playoffs -- Dallas, the Giants and Washington -- and yet no one in the division is playing better right now than the last-place Eagles? Philly has won at Dallas and at New Orleans the past two weeks, and embattled Eagles quarterback
With a win next week at home against the Bills, Philadelphia can finish the season on a three-game winning streak, salvaging an 8-8 finish and maybe solidifying
• We know this much:
• Has anyone in the history of NFL punting ever had a worse day than Green Bay punter
All that special teams damage by Chicago, and to think
• Does anybody out there still not think
And is there anyone playing better on offense than the Jaguars as they approach the playoffs, New England included? In their past nine games, the Jaguars have scored 49, 29, 37, 25, 36, 24, 28, 24 and 24 points. Jacksonville is 7-2 in that span. The Jags have topped 400 yards of offense a team-record five games in a row.
• It's just like the Lions (7-8) to wake up now that it doesn't really matter anymore. Though I suppose avoiding a double-digit-loss season for the first time in the seven-year
• I'm shocked that
• Our first extended look at Oakland rookie quarterback
The next step would seem obvious: At 4-11, what's keeping Raiders head coach
• Speaking of the Raiders, they can't end their disappointing 2007 season fast enough. In its last four games of the season, Oakland will play at Green Bay, Indianapolis, at Jacksonville and San Diego. All four teams are playoff-bound, with combined records of 45-14 at the moment.
• In the end, the Saints were doomed by their defense. Until they fix that side of the ball in New Orleans, it's next to impossible to see the Saints as anything more than a lopsided team capable of scoring plenty -- but giving up even more.
• We've all been way too Patriots-centric this season, but it would be a mistake to somehow overlook the 13-2 defending Super Bowl champion Colts. I still say they're the only team capable of going into Foxboro and coming out alive in January.
• I'm starting to think Cleveland receiver