x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Season is on the line for Giants

The New York Giants (8-6) are hoping to get some much-needed help to win one of the two NFC wild-card play-off slots still up for grabs.

The Philadelphia Eagles (10-4) have clinched a play-off spot but are still battling the Dallas Cowboys (9-5) for the NFC East title, while the New York Giants (8-6) are hoping to get some much needed help to win one of the two NFC wild-card play-off slots still up for grabs. With all four NFC divisions having already qualified a team, the battle is between the Cowboys, Giants and Green Bay Packers (9-5) for the final two play-off positions.

The Giants face the longest odds: they must win twice and hope either the Packers or Cowboys lose at least once. Rather than worry about someone else today, New York need to focus on the Carolina Panthers, erratic but dangerous opponents who last weekend beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-7. "We just have to win. We have to win games. We have to win," said the Giants' coach, Tom Coughlin, ensuring no one could remain in any doubt about what they have to do today.

That will not be easy against a Carolina team who can get after the quarterback and force turnovers (13 in the last four games). The key for the Giants will be to protect their quarterback, Eli Manning; if they fail to do so, their play-off hopes will be over. Meanwhile, Dallas have to avoid a letdown against the Washington Redskins (4-10) after beating the previously undefeated New Orleans Saints last week.

"That was a big win but it won't mean nothing if we lose the next one," said the Dallas safety Ken Hamlin. His syntax may be faulty, but his assessment of the team's situation is not. Dallas have been horrendous in December under quarterback Tony Romo, who is 6-10 in his career in that month as a starter. Romo has played brilliantly in the Cowboys' three games this month, but Dallas still lost two of them. They cannot afford to lose another.

@Email:rborges@thenational.ae