Yeah, yeah, I know, playoffs, superbowl, yadda yadda yadda. I am an NFL fan, so I'll be watching... but with the Jets and Giants both eliminated, my interest will be mostly academic. I will be rooting against the Patriots and Evil Little Bill, of course, and if the Cowboys somehow make it in, I will be cheering for them to get stomped as well... but there's no one that I will actually be rooting FOR, which takes some of the spice out of the show. (Though it does lessen the tension considerably when you don't actually care who wins).
The Giants won their final game today, crushing the disspirited Philadelphia Eagles to finish at 9-7. That's the same record as last year, but last year it was enough to win the NFL East and start them on their Superbowl run, and this year it's not... mainly due to tiebreakers, although the Giants annual second-half-of-season swoon set up the mess. Big Blue looked great today, on both offense and defense. So great you have to wonder who the hell those guys in the Giants uniforms were the last two weeks. They couldn't possibly have been the same players. My G-Men are very hard to figure. They can beat anyone, and they can lose to anyone. They seem to play up (or down) to the level of competition. This season they dominated both the Packers and 49ers, the two teams most likely to be playing for the NFC championship next month, but they managed to lose to the Bengals, the Steelers, the Falcons, and the Ravens, and (worse) split with all three of their NFC East rivals. Had they made the playoffs, they could have been very dangerous... or maybe they would have been woeful. I never know. Neither, I fear, does Tom Coughlin.
And the Jets... oh, gods... the Jets lost to the Bills. Badly. Mark Sanchez played QB again, and was awful again. 'Nuff said. The curse continues.
Looking ahead to next season, the Giants need to sign Victor Cruz to a long-term deal, and they have a big decision to make on Osi Umenyiora, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. Osi has been a damned good player for us, but I don't see him coming back. He wants big bucks, and the Giants are not going to give it to him. They have Kiwi at LB, just waiting to move up to DE, and Osi has been starting to fade these last few years. He's still a good pass-rusher, but not the sack machine he was, and he's never been great against the run. Too many teams ran right around him this season, when he failed to set the edge. I think he has a few more good years left, but I don't think it will be in blue. Maybe the Jets can pick him up. They need edge rushers. What the Giants need is more beef in the middle, a monster run-stuffing defensive tackle who can provide some pressure up the gut. Some young cornerbacks would also be good. Corey Webster fell off badly this year, especially against the Ravens.
The Jets... the Jets are a mess. They need to get rid of Tony Sparano and get a real offensive coordinator. Maybe Norv Turner, who is shite as a head coach, but very good as an OC. They need receivers. They need edge rushers. And, boy oh boy, do they need a quarterback. Maybe they can get someone in the draft, or pick up a free agent... though if it's Michael Vick, as I said, I am done with them. They should be better when they get Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes back next season, but that alone will not get them to the playoffs. They need to hang on to LaRon Landry as well, he was one of this year's bright spots.
So... a season ends. My seven-day work weeks resume.