Sixteen and zero would have been nice, but it all means nothing unless the Lombardi Trophy is hoisted in February. Ask the Patriots about that in case you’re not convinced. So with the Giants getting beat last Sunday in New Orleans, the world – and their season – did not come to an end. Hardly. As a matter of fact, they can make everyone forget about it if they come out on Sunday and handle the Arizona Cardinals the way that they should.
No disrespect to the defending NFC champions, but the Giants (5-1) are the better team and have already moved on from their first loss of the season. “You already put the last game behind you, so our focus is on Arizona, getting the game plan and I thought we had a good day of practice today, great energy, guys were fired up and we have to go out there and play well,” quarterback Eli Manning said on Wednesday.
Arizona has the horses that can light up the scoreboard, much like the Saints did in the 48-27 victory. A team like the Giants, who take special pride in their tough defense, took the loss as if it were a personal attack on their ability to shut down an opponent. “It won’t be the same for us, I’m sure of that,” Giants defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said confidently. “Our guys have a lot of pride. They expect to win around here so they are disappointed in their performance. They don’t expect to play that way when they line up. And they certainly don’t expect to play that way this Sunday. So, no, we don’t have morale issues.
“Our guys want to play football and they can’t wait to play Sunday night.”
Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, 38, is very aware that he may be facing an angry bunch in a few days. “I think (that) any time you are playing a good football team and they lose a game, and probably, like this team, it is a good football team that very seldom loses two games in a row,” the former Giant said. “That is where the challenge lies. Not that they weren’t focused, but you lose a game, guys get a little more focused. They want to make up for that, they want to get back on track.”
The Cardinals have looked impressive the last two weeks and have improved to 3-2 on the season, matching the San Francisco 49ers’ record for first place in the NFC West. The Giants still hold a two-game lead over both Philadelphia and Dallas in the NFC East.
Drew Brees had a lot of success in the air against the Giants last week and Arizona is a pass-happy team. Warner has not one, but two talented wide receivers in Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. For the Giants to compensate that, they will need to put extra pressure on Warner. Against New Orleans, they did not have a sack and that had a lot to do with the final score.
Getting back on track should be attainable for the Giants, especially with such a one-dimensional opponent. 15-1 is still pretty good.