The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Slaying the Giants

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The Giant collapse is on. The Titanic choke isn't far behind. Tennessee wasn't supposed to be this good this season. They weren't supposed to have Kerry Collins as their starting QB let alone control their own home field destiny. Chris Johnson was an unknown, LenDale White was still unproven, and they were battling in a division with perennial power Indianapolis and an emergent Jacksonville franchise. So to be where they are, at 12-2, with a first-round bye already in place, even a playoff loss wouldn't be a complete choke. Sure, at this point, it would be a disappointment if the Titans didn't represent the AFC in the Super Bowl, but I wouldn't be completely surprised. The Steelers, Colts and Patriots all have been deep in the playoffs in recent years. Tennessee should be considered the favorite, but far from a Super Bowl lock.

Now the Giants are a different story. They won a Super Bowl last year as a Wild Card team who refused to lose on the road. They rolled into Tampa, the hostile confines of rival Dallas and the freezing conditions of Green Bay. And the New England upset speaks for itself. This year's Giants are better than last year's championship team. At least they were. But then Osi Umenyiora went down, and then Plaxico Burress personally put a bullet into the team's momentum. Then Brandon Jacobs got hurt and suddenly Eli Manning looks like the old Eli Manning. All of this was unexpected. At 11-1 and rolling along, the Giants were a clear Super Bowl favorite. Now, they are playing for home-field advantage, and aren't necessarily favored to win it. They were over-matched versus two divisional opponents. And now, as fate would have it, the Carolina Panthers are heading to Giants Stadium, peaking at the right time with playoff control now in their destiny as well.

New York is on the verge of being mauled by Panthers. The damage could be too great for the defending champs to overcome in the playoffs. That would classify as a collapse, a Giant one to be precise.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  December 16, 2008; 9:45 AM ET  | Category:  New York Giants Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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