NY Giants coach Tom Coughlin keeps it simple for team as it looks to end two-game slide vs. Green Bay Packers; both teams eye better playoff positioning

Giants Coach Tom Coughlin is big on motivational themes — little bromides that keep his team focused on the task ahead. Last year when the Giants went on that incredible run to the Super Bowl it was “All-In.’’ Coming into training camp this year it was “Building the Bridge.’’ As the Giants (6-4) come out of the bye with six more games remaining on the regular-season schedule, Coughlin does not have to search for pithy sayings to remind his team who they are, where they’re at and where they’re trying to go in advance of their game against the Packers at MetLife Stadium in a nationally televised game on Sunday night. All he has to do is write “Green Bay Packers’’ on the board. Enough said. “We coming off a bye and clinging to a small lead in our division and have to win football games,’’ Coughlin said. “And the fact that it is a six-game schedule for us now. One game at a time for six weeks, everything that we got, full speed ahead, improve the quality of our football team. I’m really tired of answering all the questions about what’s wrong and I’d rather we play a game and play it well and answer the questions that way.’’ Playoff positioning is on the line for both teams, the last two Super Bowl champions. But for the Giants, the game represents an opportunity to get a tighter grip on the NFC East division, put some distance between themselves and second-place Dallas and Washington, and prove that they are worth mentioning as a serious Super Bowl contender. “We’ve played crappy football the last couple of weeks. We really would like to swing this momentum back in our favor,’’ said defensive end Justin Tuck. “We’d like to come out of this football game feeling very confident about where we are as a football team heading into the rest of the schedule. It’s a great opponent, a great Continue Reading

NFL Week 15 Bettor’s Guide: Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers rivalry game highlights the matchups

From the best NFL games to bet this weekend, to the ones you should steer clear of, check out Sean Brennan's guide to get you through the weekend a winner. Then check out how the rest of our crew of pigskin experts see this weekend's action as they pick against the spread.GIANTS at FALCONS So what does David Wilson have in store for an encore? It looks as though the rookie running back will have ample opportunity to provide more thrills as Ahmad Bradshaw’s balky left knee could lead to Wilson’s first NFL start. The Giants may need another big outing from Wilson and the rest of his playmates as the Falcons are not easily beaten at home. In fact this season they are 6-0 in the dome, and Matt Ryan has a rather impressive 32-4 home record in his career. Reason for optimism for Wilson and Big Blue’s ground game? The Falcons give up rushing yards in big chunks, over 125 yards a game, which could translate into lots o’time of possession for Eli and Co., thus keeping the ball out of Mr. Ryan’s capable hands. The Falcons are coming off their worst performance of the season, getting a thorough beatdown from the lowly Panthers, so you wonder if an 11-2 team has back-to-back stinkers in it. The Falcons also have a bit of revenge in mind after getting trashed, 24-2, by Big Blue in the playoffs last season. But Atlanta has a comfy cushion as far as home-field advantage, and with the Giants trying to hold off Dallas and Washington in the division, this is a must-win for Big Blue.IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Giants and the overJETS at TITANS Maybe the Mayans could move Doomsday up a few days and none of us would have to be subjected to watching this storied matchup. OK, if they’re going to play it anyway, maybe the Jets can continue their recent hot streak and keep alive their faint playoff hopes. To that end, this procession of NFL dregs the Jets have lined up late in the season (Cardinals and Jaguars the last two weeks, the Titans, Chargers and Continue Reading

NFL Week 12 Bettor’s Guide: Despite Green Bay Packers’ five-game winning streak, talented NY Giants should bounce back

From the best NFL games to bet this weekend, to the ones you should steer clear of, check out Sean Brennan's guide to get you through the weekend a winner. Then check out how the rest of our crew of pigskin experts see this weekend's action as they pick against the spread. PACKERS at GIANTS½BRENNAN'S BUZZ: The Packers have been doing it with mirrors the past few weeks as injuries to key players have mounted on both sides of the ball. Key among the injured are Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson on defense and Greg Jennings and RT Bryan Bulaga on offense. Somehow, however, the Packers have continued to post Ws, five in a row in fact. But four of those five victims (Rams, Jaguars, Cardinals and Lions) don’t come close in the talent pool to what the Giants can trot out there Sunday night. Yes, the Giants were limping into their bye week with back-to-back losses and yes, Eli Manning has not been himself of late — he has one TD pass in his last 99 attempts — but the Packers’ lack of star power on defense could go a long way toward rectifying the Giants’ offensive ills. Despite Green Bay having won the last four times it has come east to play the Giants, I think their bend-but-don’t-break defense finally breaks here and Eli’s three-game drought without a TD pass comes to an end. IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Giants and over New York Daily News Daily News experts pick the Week 12 games. For more picks, see below. BRONCOS AT CHIEFS½Just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse for the Chiefs after losing seven straight games and seeing a plane carry a sign over Arrowhead Stadium calling for the firing of GM Scott Pioli, well, here come Peyton Manning and the Broncos, winners of five straight and starting to run away in the AFC West. At least the Chiefs are at home, you say. Well, that’s not a good thing as K.C. is 0-5 at home and has been outscored 140-72. Then there’s the fact that Continue Reading

In pivotal game vs. Green Bay Packers, NY Giants go up against Tom Coughlin’s bad December history, angry Big Blue fans and Aaron Rodgers

The Giants don’t play for the NFC East on Sunday. They don’t. They can still win the East if they lose to the Packers and somehow win out from there against the Cowboys, Redskins, Jets on Christmas Eve, the Cowboys again. Maybe they can even win the division at 9-7. But in all the big ways, the Giants do play for their season at 4:15 at MetLife. They try to get up after getting knocked around and knocked down the way they were in New Orleans Monday night. They try to look as if they haven’t quit their season even before it quits them. The Giants gave up 577 yards on Monday night against the Saints. You know by now that no Tom Coughlin team in the NFL, Jacksonville or here, has ever given up that many yards. And only one team all season — the Dolphins, Week 1, against Tom Brady and the Patriots — has given up more total offense than that in 2011. Add it all up and it was the worst defensive performance in all of Giants’ history. Perry Fewell, the defensive coordinator, had a lot to say this week about effort, or lack thereof. So would you if your defense looked as lost against the Saints as revelers wandering around Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. And Fewell had a lot to say about what his guys are going to do to Aaron Rodgers on Sunday. We’ll see about that at MetLife. I have been writing and saying for the past couple of months that Rodgers isn’t just playing as well as any quarterback in the league right now, he is playing the position as well as it has ever been played. He has been a combination of talent and confidence and poise and leadership that has been thrilling to watch. The Giants go up against that on Sunday, after the way they looked Monday night. They go up against all their bad December history under Tom Coughlin, with the obvious exception of the year they finally won it all. They go up against the notion from a vocal and angry fan base that their team gave up on national television, particularly on Continue Reading

Eli Manning can make Sunday another important day in NY Giants history vs. Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay Packers

Whatever list you make of the most important days in all of Giants history, one of them will always be April 24, 2004, when Ernie Accorsi made his draft-day trade for Eli Manning. This is what it was like in the offices at old Giants Stadium that day, after Accorsi had told A.J. Smith, the San Diego GM who had taken Manning with the first pick of that draft, that the Giants would draft Philip Rivers with the fourth pick, send Rivers and a boatload of draft choices, including the next year’s No. 1, to San Diego for Eli Manning. Smith had asked for Osi Umenyiora. Accorsi said no. Smith said he’d need a No. 1. Accorsi said yes. The two men made the same as a handshake deal over the telephone. Not long after they did, Archie Manning and Olivia Manning and Eli were on their way to Jersey from New York City. Accorsi was waiting for them. So were John Mara and two of his brothers, Chris and Frank. The late Wellington Mara was there, too, along with the late Robert Tisch. They had all been there with Accorsi as he closed the deal for a quarterback Accorsi believed could — and would — change everything for the Giants. “I can still see the Mannings coming through those old double doors that led to our offices,” Accorsi was saying Tuesday, on his way back from his hometown of Hershey, Pa., to New York City. “The minute the kid crossed the threshold, he was a Giant.” NY GIANTS PLAYOFF REWIND: A LOOK BACK AT BIG BLUE'S THREE SUPER BOWLS Now he is one of three Giants quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl. It all started in April of ’04 because Accorsi went all in on Eli Manning for the best possible reason: “I believed he had greatness in him.” “You have to feel it with quarterbacks,” Accorsi said yesterday. “I always felt it about Eli.” So the Giants took Rivers, the Giants made the trade and gave up plenty. Ben Roethlisberger, Accorsi’s fall-back position in a Continue Reading

NFL Week 13 Bettor’s Guide: Green Bay Packers should crush NY Giants playoff dreams again this season on Sunday

It's that time of the week again and our experts try to break down all the odds for your Sunday spreads and odds. Check out Sean Brennan's guide to get you through the weekend a winner. And, after that, stop by and play our football Pick 'Em game.PACKERS at GIANTS 4:15 p.m., Ch. 5, Packers by 7, 53 BRENNAN’S BUZZ: So here are the Giants, sitting on playoff death row after strangling their hopes with three straight losses. And with time running out, they are hoping for that reprieve from the governor. That call never comes and instead the undefeated defending Super Bowl champs show up as your last visitor. No last meal. Nothing. A week after giving up 577 yards to Drew Brees and the Saints, what do you think Aaron Rodgers and the Pack-Men have in store for Perry Fewell’s beleaguered defense? The Pack has won 17 straight and it all started with a win over Big Blue last December. It was a loss that all but ended the Giants’ postseason hopes - just like this one will. IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Packers and the over. JETS at REDSKINS 1 p.m., Ch. 2, Jets by 3, 38 ½ BRENNAN’S BUZZ: Do the Jets ever make anything easy on themselves? All they have to show for their last month of work are a pair of wins over the sinking Bills (thank you, Stevie Blunder for that drop) sandwiched around losses to New England and Denver. On paper, the Skins look like easy pickings, but the Jets have a history against Washington and it’s not very good. Gang Green is 1-8 all-time vs. the Skins and has lost four straight since last knocking them off in 1993. That score was 3-0. (I didn’t know Brian Schottenheimer was the OC back then). The banged-up Skins have little offensive punch with Chris Cooley and Tim Hightower among the missing and, of course, there’s always Rex Grossman at QB. (Our sympathies, Skins fans). An early Christmas present for the Gang Greenies. IF I WERE A BETTING MAN: Jets and the under. COLTS at PATRIOTS 1 p.m., Patriots by 20, 47 Continue Reading

It won’t be as cold, but NY Giants looking for repeat of magical playoff victory over Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field

The first thing everybody remembers is the cold.Tom Coughlin’s face fire-engine red. It made fingertips useless.CHECK OUT THE DAILY NEWS STAFF PICKS FOR GIANTS VS. PACKERS “Let’s just put it this way,” says former Giants center Shaun O’Hara. “It was so uncomfortably cold that I remember not even caring at one point if we won or lost the game. I just wanted to get warm. I wanted it to be over.” So O’Hara can only imagine how Packers cornerback Charles Woodson must have felt. Woodson is really the first thing O’Hara thinks about when he recalls one of the greatest games in Giants history. He can still see the Giants’ first play from scrimmage, and Brandon Jacobs taking the handoff and running right towards Woodson. And he can still see Jacobs lowering his head and right shoulder and barreling right through and over Woodson, who went flopping to the ground. It was that moment when everyone in the building that day realized those underdog Giants wouldn’t be intimidated, not by the Packers and not by the Lambeau Field mystique. That play, “when Brandon Jacobs almost ended Charles Woodson’s life,” as O’Hara recalls, changed everything about that game. “On a hot day that would’ve been an excruciatingly painful hit-slash-tackle,” O’Hara says. “But the fact that it was 20 below, I don’t know that he ever recovered from that hit the rest of the day, if not the rest of the year. That just kind of set the mood for the day. I think from there everything just kind of fell into place.” It won’t be nearly as cold on Sunday, when the Giants return to Green Bay for a divisional playoff game against the 15-1 Packers. If the forecast holds, it could feel almost 50 degrees warmer. But there are similarities to that classic game in the challenge these Giants are facing. They are a facing a team that seems unbeatable at home with a Continue Reading

NFC Breakdown: New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys direct potent offenses

The Daily News breaks down the NFC, team-by-team, position-by-position, on both sides of the ball, highlighting weeks to avoid starting their fantasy studs against some of the top opposing offenses and defenses across the league. Each team capsule includes a fantasy depth chart at all of the pertinent offensive positions. NFC EASTBYE: Week 4Minn.), Week 9 (at G.B.), Week 13 (at Ind.), Week 17 (at Phila.) OFFENSE: If Tony Romo comes anywhere close to his 4,483-yard, 26 TD, 9 INT season of 2009, look out.  Miles Austin has as much upside as any starting skill-position player in the league. TE Jason Witten is a Points Per Reception league dream at 94 catches last season. Expect Dez Bryant either to unseat Roy Williams at the No. 2 WR or at least to steal catches from him while both are on the field. Murky waters in the backfield, though, as Marion Barber is still listed No. 1 on the depth chart and more likely to carry the ball near the goal line, but Felix Jones is one of this year’s potential breakout backs. DEFENSE/ST:  Dallas gave up 15.6 points per game in 2009. Only the Jets (14.8) surrendered fewer. In return game, rookies Jamar Wall and Bryan McCann are slated for punt and kick returning duties, respectively. FANTASY DEPTH CHART: QB Tony Romo, Jon Kitna; RB Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Tashard Choice; WR Miles Austin, Roy Williams, Dez Bryant (R); TE Jason Witten; K David Buehler. PHILADELPHIA EAGLESBYE: Week 8Giants), Week 16 (vs. Minn.) OFFENSE: The Eagles are counting on Kevin Kolb delivering more like he did in two starts last season against the Saints and Chiefs (55-of-85, 718 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs) than he did two seasons ago playing two quarters against the Ravens (10-of-23, 73 yards, two INTs). He will have help from deep receiver DeSean Jackson, the sure-handed Jeremy Maclin and TE Brent Celek, who has been Kolb’s favorite target both last season and so far this preseason. LeSean McCoy has  running back duties to Continue Reading

Sunday Morning QB: New York Giants file complaint with NFL about Thanksgiving week schedule

Just as New York football fans are finishing up their holiday dinner on Thanksgiving night in 11 days, the Giants will be getting ready for kickoff 1,750 miles away from home in Denver. How does the organization feel about it? Not happy. Giants co-owner John Mara told the Daily News it's a competitive disadvantage for his team to play two time zones away in a short week. Mara, like his father before him, is the ultimate league man, but he filed a complaint with the NFL claiming the scheduling is unfair. "It's not an ideal situation," Mara said. The advantage is magnified because once the Broncos arrive home tonight from their game in Washington, they don't have to travel before Thanksgiving. They play the Chargers at home next Sunday and then will wait for the Giants to travel halfway across the country. That is not even taking into account the Giants' players and coaches and front office staff being away from their families. Mara is a long-time member of the powerful competition committee that makes rules recommendations on the competitive aspects of the game. The committee is expected to address the Thanksgiving situation next year. "I don't mind playing on Thanksgiving," Mara said. "My complaint is sending us all the way to Denver on a short week." In order to create inventory for its NFL Network and appease a handful of owners who felt the NFL should break tradition and not award the Thanksgiving games to Detroit and Dallas, the league added a third Thanksgiving game to the schedule in 2006. To go along with the 12:30 p.m. game in Detroit and 4:15 p.m. game in Dallas, a third game with a rotating host was made part of the annual schedule and starts at 8:20 p.m. The late Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt had pushed for Dallas and Detroit not to get the games every year. Three years ago, the third game debuted in Kansas City. The Chiefs beat the Broncos, 19-10. Two years ago, the Colts went on the road and beat the Falcons, 31-13. Both reasonable length Continue Reading

Giants vs. Green Bay is battle for ages

They are two storied franchises whose rivalry dates back to leather helmets and classic brawls on frozen fields. They share a link that says football in one word - Lombardi - and Sunday they will maul each other for the right to play for his trophy in Arizona.Five times they have met for pro football's ultimate prize before Super Bowl entered the lexicon. Four times the Packers have won. The players who remain still remember."The Packers," says Giants Hall of Fame linebacker Sam Huff. "They had the greatest coach who ever lived. Fortunately for me, I was able to play for both (Vince) Lombardi and (Tom) Landry (as Giants assistants). They taught me more about football than anybody in the world. Then I finished out as a player-coach for Vince Lombardi when he coached the one year at Washington and he died of cancer the following year."So I had a great beginning and a great ending," says Huff, almost wistfully. "And in between were the Green Bay Packers and the Baltimore Colts."The Brooklyn-born Lombardi departed the Giants after the unforgettable '58 Championship Game against the Colts, The Greatest Game Ever Played, to take over the woebegone 1-10-1 Packers whose once-proud tradition was moth-eaten. Setting new coaching standards, he molded Green Bay into one of the greatest dynasties of all time - six championships in eight seasons. Had he not, who knows how we would regard those Giants, who made it to five title games in six years from '58 to '63 and lost all five - twice to the Pack?"The Giants were kind of like a big brother to us because Vince came from the Giants and he really admired those guys," says Packer Hall of Fame lineman Forrest Gregg. "He also knew them really well. He knew the team and what the players were capable of. We had a great respect for the Giants football team."Respect was one thing. Beating up on each other was something else.In the '61 Championship Game at City Stadium (it hadn't been renamed Lambeau Field yet), the Packers shellacked Continue Reading