In their most convincing performance of the season, the Giants put together a total team effort in dismantling the battered Green Bay Packers, in turn, thrusting Big Blue back into the conversation for the playoff picture.
By no stretch of the imagination does New York's 27-13 thumping of Green Bay mean that Big Blue is a serious playoff contender. At 4-6, the Giants still have an uphill climb with almost no margin for error, but they look like a much different team than what they were five weeks.
On this day it was the Giants defense that took the lead for Big Blue, forcing the Packers into three turnovers, en route to victory, as New York was plus-2 in the turnover margin.
Bottom line the Giants defense made big plays when they needed to.
When the Giants offense went into a collective funk after jumping out to a 10-0 lead, it was the defense that stepped up. They held the Packers to two field goals in the second quarter, when it looked like Green Bay would be poised for touchdowns instead. Then to start the third quarter, New York's new defensive leader Jon Beason picked off rookie quarterback Steve Tolzien at midfield.
A 35-yard bomb by Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks later, and the Giants were knocking on the door; New York settled for a field goal to make it 13-6.
Beason's pick was a huge turning point. It energized the Giants, and killed what started out as a promising drive for Green Bay when they were still in the contest down four points. Beason finished with eight tackles on the day and a hit to the quarterback. He's been a huge addition to this Giants defense, which played solid football for the fourth straight week.
After the Big Blue Wrecking Crew forced another Packers punt, Manning engineered a 10-play 63-yard drive, highlighted by a series of big completions to Victor Cruz to move the Giants deep into Packer territory. Facing a third down at the Green Bay 11, Manning hit Brett Myers for eight yards and first down inside the five yard line, setting up Brandon Jacobs' one yard plunge to make it 20-6.
Yet as had been the story all evening, the defense was star of the show. With New York holding onto a seven point lead late in the fourth quarter, and Green Bay looking to drive down field for the tie, Jason Pierre-Paul stepped in front of a Tolzien pass, tipped it, picked it off, and rumbled 24-yards for a touchdown.
The score: 27-13. Ball game.
The Giants are alive and well. Any fans, who once again thought that Tom Coughlin lost the pulse of his football team are eating crow as they seem to do annually with regards to the Giants. This Giants' team looks pretty good; unfortunately for them so do the Eagles who are on fire atop the NFC East, and the Giants do not own any tie-breakers with the Eagles.
While a playoff berth still looks highly unlikely, this team is going to fight right to the finish.