Tuesday, January 08, 2008

NFL Fever?

The Monk gets ill enough as a Giants fan in the Dallas area every time Big Blue plays the Cowpatties during the NFL season. Now, it's worse. For the first time ever, the Giants face the Cowgirls in the NFL playoffs.

Hoo boy.

According to ESPN last night and in a report on Sunday, there have been 53 occasions where teams had met twice during the regular season and then faced each other in the playoffs. In 17 of those matchups, one team had swept the regular season series. Thus, it's far more common that teams had split their two matchups. Of the 17 times where one had swept the season series, 11 times the regular season winner turned the trick in the playoffs; only six times did the team that went 0-2 gain revenge.

The Giants are 3-1 in playoff games against NFC East foes since the AFL/NFL merger. In 1981, they knocked off the defending NFC champion Eagles in the wild card game; in 1986, they beat the Redskins for the NFC title; in 2000, they beat the Eagles in the divisional round of the playoffs; last year, they lost to the Eagles in the wild card round. In '81 and '06, they had split with the Eagles during the regular season. In '86, the Giants swept the Redskins during the season and whupped them in the playoffs. In '00, the Giants whipped the Eagles twice during the season (33-18, 24-7) and scratched by them in the playoffs (20-10 -- no offensive TDs).

Considering their storied playoff history (32-23), the Cowherders are surprisingly just 2-4 against the NFC East. Their last playoff win was in 1996, and they lost badly to the Cardinals in '98 after beating them twice during the regular season.

How much does all that mean? Between little and nothing. If T.O. is even as healthy as he was during the Patriots-Eagles Super Bowl (he played hurt and still had a big game), the Cowtippers will win. The Giants have had no answers for Dallas' deep passing game this year and The Monk fears only that Big Blue won't be able to develop one in one week with a banged-up secondary that was average (at best) all year.

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