The NFC East is in shambles these days. The Cowboys may be 2-0 but they will be without both QB Tony Romo (clavicle) and WR Dez Bryant until Thanksgiving at the soonest. The Eagles (0-2) are here to play the Jets this Sunday and no one sees that going well for them, and the Redskins are considering going back to RGIII at QB.
The Giants? Well, they're back on the right track after pushing Washington around at home on Thursday night. After two weeks of handing wins to Dallas and Atlanta on silver platters, they could be back to their winning ways.
The division is up for grabs and this is the year the Giants can seize it. If not now, when? They beat Washington without DRC, Victor Cruz, Robert Ayers and Ereck Flowers. All four of those players are expected to be on the field next Sunday in Buffalo.
The most important addition to the lineup will be Cruz. After nearly a year on the shelf, the Giants could really use his presence. And I say presence. Even if he doesn't return to pre-injury form, defenses will have to account for him.
"He’s improving and we’re hoping. He’s running," head coach Tom Coughlin said on his conference call Friday. "He’ll be running all weekend and we’re hoping that there’s nothing but straight ahead positives in all his activities and we’ll see next week if we can get him on the practice field."
Should he not be able to do the super-human things he did a few years back, that's just fine with the Giants. With the emergence of one Odell Beckham, Jr. as one of the game's true stars and Rueben Randle back healthy and productive, they don't need Cruz to be a superstar. If he can just add a little, and hold on to the football, something his replacements had issues with, the Giants' offense can be an unstoppable juggernaut.
That's what they're hoping, anyway. There's only one ball and with Cruz returning, Coughlin was asked if the targets of Beckham and Randle would be reduced.
"All three of them can play. There wouldn’t any less of anything, I hope. I hope we’d have more," he said.
Cruz on the field will open up a lot of opportunities for everyone. It will spread defenses and make running the ball easier and QB Eli Manning will sharpen up as he always does when Cruz plays.
He will help the defense, too. The balance of time of possession has been slipping away from the Giants. Although they have made some big defensive plays to keep them in games, the task of closing has become difficult mainly because they are gassed by the middle of the fourth quarter.
Cruz will help the offense move the chains, drive the football and run the clock. He excites the crowd, and his smile is contagious. When he's going well, so are the Giants.
There's been too much negativity in the air surrounding the team. They can put their troubles aside and take advantage of other teams' misery for once. And it all starts this week.