Without Fanfare, New York Giants Lead Division
by Eddie Mayrose

Somewhere around the time that Rex Ryan and his New York Jets started their miraculous run through last year’s playoffs, the Giants became a forgotten team. As Gang Green began to dominate the back pages of the local tabloids; for reasons both good and bad, Big Blue quietly went about the business of repairing a defense that disappeared during last December’s collapse. There were no sexy trades, no television shows and, certainly, no Super Bowl predictions. There was simply a change at defensive coordinator and a commitment to the work necessary to regain the top spot in the NFC East.  Funny how effective that formula’s been.

Since Big Rexy showed up in town and started shooting his mouth off, the Giants have almost become the forgotten team in New York and that’s just the way they like it. Free to go about their business with a minimum of distractions and media scrutiny, they’ve seen their defense return to a dominating level while Eli Manning continues to shine.  The Giants seem very content to leave the bluster to the boys in green.  Just as well, as they can better use the time to polish those Lombardi trophies Rex keeps promising.

New York Yankees Back in ALCS

Looks like tanking the last two weeks of the season to get the matchup with the Twins the Wild Card berth brought was a great idea for the Yankees.  Just ask the Rays, who were forced to face Rangers’ ace Cliff Lee twice in a five game series.  Now that the divisional series is in the books, Joe Girardi’s millionaires turn their attention to Texas.
It’s not often that the Bronx Bombers run into a team that can match their offensive firepower but that’s just what Texas brings to the table.  Worse, the Yankees have but two starters on which they can rely in C.C. Sabathia and Phil Hughes; although Andy Pettitte certainly looked healthy against Minnesota. If the Yankees advance, they’ll likely have taken the ALCS in six games as it’s hard to picture them beating Cliff Lee in Game 7.  Throw in an expected loss by A.J. Burnett in Game 4 and things begin to look pretty tight.
So, who am I picking?  The Yanks in six, of course, as Joe Girardi will be the deciding factor.  Not a favorite of the “first time, long time” talk radio crowd, Girardi has patched together a pitching staff for the second straight year and has the Yankees on the cusp of another title.  He gives New York a huge advantage over Texas manager, Ron Washington, on experience alone.  I see the Yankees putting the Rangers away in five games.

Braves-Giants Game 5-Faith Restored, For Now

Just when you’re convinced that you’ve had enough; when you’re starting to believe that being a sports fan requires some experience in the fields of law enforcement or social work, along comes a bunch of guys like the San Francisco Giants to restore your faith.
Monday night, as the New York Jets faced the Minnesota Vikings, there seemed to be as much time spent discussing the legal woes of New York’s Santonio Holmes and Minny’s Brett Favre as there was on the game, itself.  The pre-game shoving match, look-at-me chest pounding and trash talking that followed did little to enhance my viewing experience.  At some point, however, I flipped channels to see who was winning Braves-Giants Game 5 and I was reminded of why we all love sports.  There were the Giants, minutes after advancing to the NLCS, postponing their celebration to applaud outgoing Braves’ manager Bobby Cox.  As Cox took a curtain call and soaked in the love and appreciation of the Atlanta fans, there was the entire San Francisco squad, standing on the infield and following suit.  A shame that they couldn’t have piped that into the new Meadowlands stadium.  It was something Favre and Holmes should’ve seen.

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