The 9-4 New York Giants had a strange journey in search of their latest victory.
A Sunday afternoon game in Minnesota became a Monday night game in Detroit as the roof of the Metrodome collapsed under the weight of 17 inches of snow. After two days stranded in the Kansas City airport, and a few walkthroughs in the airport terminal, the Giants made their way to Ford Field and won the game over the Vikings, 21-3.
It was no simple road trip, but one that brought the team together in the end.
"I thought we handled it well," said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. "The guys did a nice job understanding that it was out of our control so there was no sense in being frustrated or having any anxiety about it. We handled it pretty well and fortunately we were able to win the game."
Much has changed since late November when the Eagles and Giants last met. Both teams have gotten healthier in some areas, while losing key players at other positions. While the Eagles continue to lead the league in offense, the Giants defense has given up a total of 10 points in the last two weeks.
But the biggest improvement in New York has been their versatile rushing attack. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw have combined for 419 yards and six touchdowns over the past two games, each rushing for over 100 yards last Monday against the Vikings. Coughlin had no hesitation when attributing his team's recent success to the power game on the ground.
"We've pounded it away," Coughlin said. "We've just stayed persistent and we've made some plays … we've had some big plays. We've had some long runs and those have paid off as well. We've stayed with it against a lot of people down in the box and we still found a way whether a tackle gets broken or we've made a guy miss."
There's no other way to put it - this Eagles-Giants matchup is the game of the season for both teams. The winner of this game will have the clear advantage moving forward and will likely be the champion of the NFC East. As much as Coughlin tries to downplay its significance, even he can't fully deny the magnitude of Sunday's game.
"It's the most important game of the year for us. But the next game is always the most important game for us. While there are plenty of games to be played (this season), there's no denying the excitement about this particular game so we look forward to it," Coughlin said.
With temperatures expected to be in the 30s, and a chance of snow in North Jersey, this has all the makings of a classic NFC East showdown.
Enjoy it, if you can.
-- Posted by Josh Goldman, 10:05 a.m., December 16