The Arizona Cardinals are coming off a huge three game stretch against division opponents in which they put some distance between themselves and the rest of the West. Even though the rest of the division has combined for as many wins as the Cardinals themselves, these three games were crucial to locking down the first division title for the Cards in 33 years. The Giants are coming off of their own tough stretch with four games against teams that were a combined 24-15-1. They beat the Steelers, Cowboys, Eagles and Ravens by an average score of 30-17 and two of those games were on the road. But can the Giants get up for another big game for the fifth week in a row?
There's a reason that there have only been two teams in the history of the league finish the regular season undefeated and it's not because they weren't the best team in the league. It's because it's incredibly hard for a team to play their absolute best football for 16 consecutive weeks. Teams lose focus, get complacent or simply overlook an opponent on nearly a weekly basis in today's NFL. That combined with the lack of truly elite, dynasty-type teams has led to the "Any Given Sunday" mantra. The Giants have already had one of those games this season when they lost to the Cleveland Browns following a dominating win over the Seahawks and a 4-0 start. Here are some factors that could lead to New York let down:
"Trap Game:" It's an overused, overrated term but it might actually apply here. The Cardinals still don't get the respect that a 7-3 deserves and the Giants next game is at Washington, the second place team in their division. If you ask any Giants player, coach or fan who they'd rather beat, I'm sure they'd say (after you got through the 'we want to win every game' stuff) the Redskins. For that reason alone, you have to at least consider that the Giants could come out flat.
Injuries: The Giants have played four physical football in a row and the normal wear and tear on a team is starting to show. They had a season high six players on the injury list last week and even though they haven't released on this week yet, we know two starters that will be added, Brandon Jacobs and Aaron Ross. Both underwent MRI's on Monday and although neither showed significant damage, they're obviously not 100%. There have been conflicting reports on Jacobs injury but the consensus seems to be that there's no significant damage. They are worried about swelling though and there is some concern that he might miss the game because they might not "need" him. Ross, a starting CB with 2 Ints, aggravated a hamstring injury from earlier in the year.