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New York Giants in Mid-Collapse

Every week the Giants struggled, and every week people rushed to make excuses for them. They’ve done this before. They love to squeak into the playoffs and wreak havoc once they’re there. Just wait; the Giants will right this ship and be the best team in the league once again. Except it hasn’t happened, and now the Giants have a less than 10 percent chance of making the playoffs.

It all came to head on Sunday when the Giants allowed the Baltimore Ravens to post 533 yards of total offense in a disgusting 33-14 shellacking. New York has lost five of its last seven games, and coming a week after a 34-0 defeat at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons, the Giants could ill afford to lose to the Ravens. Instead, they straight up got embarrassed. “Obviously, we have a bad formula going on right here,” Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said. “We’re having trouble stopping people and our offense doesn’t hold the ball at all to give the defense a chance to catch their breath. We’ve had two games in a row, pretty much the exact same scenario.”

The Giants have appeared flat and lifeless for most of the season, victims of the infamous Super Bowl hangover. However, that wasn’t so at the beginning. Indeed, as Grantland’s Bill Barnwell writes, only a few short weeks ago the Giants had a 90 percent shot at making the playoffs. That number has now dwindled to an 8.5 percent chance. The team that once thoroughly controlled its own destiny now needs a lot of help to back in to the playoffs. In the last week of the year, the Giants need to beat the Eagles, need the Redskins to beat the Cowboys, need the Packers to beat the Vikings and, most improbably, need the Lions to beat the Bears. That’s a lot of “ifs” for a team that once had a 90 percent chance of being in the playoffs.

“I feel badly for everyone in that locker room because they can’t turn this thing around either,” Coughlin said. “What has happened over the course of the last couple of weeks is very difficult to explain. We just don’t look like a well-oiled machine offensively at all.”

However, the blame doesn’t just lie with the Giants’ offense, though they have played a big part in the team’s downfall (during their 2-5 swoon, the Giants’ offense is averaging seven points less of scoring per game). The G-Men’s vaunted defensive line has failed to create the pressure it’s so known for; Jason Pierre-Paul leads the team in sacks with just 6.5. Many have questioned if the effort is the same as it was last year, and that may be true; however, everything collapsed simultaneously for the Giants.

“I think everything goes into play at this particular point in time, especially when you lose games by such a huge margin,” safety Antrel Rolle said. “I am just kind of at a loss for words right now. I really don’t know how it went wrong but it definitely has taken a wrong turn and we have to find our way back.”

While the “Super Bowl hangover” is a convenient and easy way to chalk up all of the Giants’ ugly losses this season, there’s simply more to it than that. Their passing offense has dropped off, Eli Manning is getting sacked more, and their defensive line hasn’t gotten the same pressure they usually do. All of that has added up to one of the worst, if not unpredictable, swoons in modern NFL history.

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