Playoff spots, jobs on the line in Week 17
[quote:710f4b050d]Editor's note: ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton's "First and 10" column takes you around the league, with a look at the best game of the week, followed by primers for 10 other games. Here's his look at Week 17.
[url=http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=clayton_john&page=firstand10/week17][b:710f4b050d]First … New York Giants at Washington Redskins[/b:710f4b050d][/url]
Tom Coughlin sits on the hottest seat in the NFL.
With one week to go, he demoted offensive coordinator John Hufnagel, giving Kevin Gilbride the chance to turn around struggling quarterback Eli Manning. That's the ultimate sign that Coughlin knows his job is on the line. If the Giants beat the Redskins Saturday, he has a fighting chance to keep his job. If not, well, the internal politics begin.
The Giants have lost six of their last seven games and Manning has regressed. Considering the organization traded what have turned out to be three Pro Bowl players to get Manning, Giants ownership might not look favorably on Coughlin. The Giants could try a Hail Mary and go after Notre Dame's Charlie Weis or look around the NFL at a top offensive head coach candidate.
The last thing in the world the Giants need is a coaching change, though. Coughlin is disciplined and produces winners. With Manning struggling at the end of last season, Coughlin captured the NFC East title in his second year with the Giants.
Coughlin will always have the ownership support of John Mara, and that will help. But getting into the playoffs and maybe winning a game would help even more. The challenge starts against a Redskins team that is trying to find its way with Jason Campbell at quarterback.
Campbell is 2-4 as a starter, but the Redskins have been in every one of the games. Their biggest loss since he replaced Mark Brunell was by 10 points. Week by week, Campbell is showing progress.
Coughlin wishes he could say the same thing about Manning. No one can figure out why Manning has hit this midseason funk. It goes beyond the injuries to wide receiver Amani Toomer and left tackle Luke Petitgout.
Earlier this year, Manning made great strides in improving his short passes. He's always been pretty good on the long throws. But the short passes improve one's completion percentage, and Manning is barely over 51 percent during this seven-game stretch.
Manning needs to cross the 60 percent completion mark this season, but he's dropped to 58.3 because of this seven-game slump. His quarterback rating is 77.4.
The pressure is on. If the Giants lose, the odds of all the other wild-card contenders losing and allowing New York to back into the playoffs are slim. So Tiki Barber might be playing his last game. General manager Ernie Accorsi could be pulling out of the office for the final time on Monday. Making the playoffs at 8-8 might not have been what was in mind early in the season, but a win against the Redskins all but assures the Giants a spot in the playoffs. And right now, that sounds pretty good to them. [/quote:710f4b050d]
Other ten games can be found [url=http://www.thehogs.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=301527#301527]here[/url]