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Saturday, November 20, 2004 

If you can make it there...

Tom Coughlin waited a week too long, but finally pulled the trigger this week and named Eli Manning his starter against Atlanta. The Giants were in charge of their playoff destiny after a 4-1 start, but now they're 5-4, three games behind Philadelphia, and tied with Green Bay/Minnesota and St. Louis/Seattle for the two wild-card spots. Warner should have been benched after the 28-21 loss to Chicago two weeks ago, when he put up a horrible 18-36-2-195 line. The Giants had a 14-0 lead in the first quarter but gave up 28 unanswered points before a meaningless touchdown pass with under two minutes remaining. Replacing Warner then would have given Manning a chance to make his debut against an improving, but still mediocre Arizona team. Instead, Warner played another poor game (19-30-0-193) and now Manning debuts at home against Atlanta.

The good news for the Giants is that the Falcons have trouble against the run (see the Chiefs game for an example) and Michael Vick is still inconsistent. Last week against the Bucs, Vick only threw for 147 yards (8-16-1-147) but ran for 73 and Atlanta piled up 205 yards on the ground. But the Falcons are hot and the Giants are stumbling, which gives the edge to Atlanta this week.

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