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New York Giants season preview: Rise and fall with Eli Manning

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New York Giants season preview: Rise and fall with Eli Manning

Before the Eagles set off on what is sure to be a 100-year-dynasty of NFC East Championships, we’ll take a look at each of their divisional rivals and what they’ve got that could potentially derail the Birds seemingly surefire destiny.

Today we’ll cover the New York Giants, a team that is so smug in its own persona, they must have forgotten they share a stadium in North Jersey with the Jets.

New York Giants

What Happened Last Season: For the first time since 2011, the New York Giants made it to the playoffs, and the entire season felt like some terrible time warp where this maddeningly inconsistent team was gonna find a way to go from the Wild Card to the Super Bowl like an Amish family pulling their cart through a toll via EZ-Pass. Seriously, rooting against the Giants last year was like viewing an early season of "Game of Thrones." No matter how crazy things got, you knew deep down it was a foregone conclusion your favorite characters were going to be violently murdered before your eyes. Oh Oberyn, you were doomed before we met you.

Thankfully, for the first time since Asante Samuel wore midnight green, the Giants lost a playoff game they were supposed to lose, getting absolutely creamed by the Green Bay Packers 31-13. Man, do I love the Green Bay Packers. Reggie White may have been onto something.

The highlight of Big Blue’s season, both on and off the field, was superstar and sticky-glove case study Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ is admittedly awesome at football, but he had a terrible year in PR. It started with a weird thing between him and the kicking net. It ended with an ill-advised boat trip before a playoff game (or as we use to call it in the 2000’s, “a Romo getaway”). 

Overall, it was a strong first season for rookie coach Ben McAdoo. Unfortunately, that strong first season was overshadowed by a disappointing playoff appearance. It was like making great time on a road trip, only to have your car explode when you pulled it into the garage. That’s why John Mara always buys American.

What About The Offseason?

Did the Giants have an offseason? After spending big last summer, the only notable acquisition this year was 33-year-old Brandon Marshall, who could prove the perfect compliment to Beckham, assuming they’re both healthy (and as of this writing, neither of them are). Marshall is replacing Victor Cruz, who, like a fart in the night, was a tremendous annoyance that will quickly be forgotten and likely replaced by something stinkier.

The Giants offseason was most notable for what they didn’t do; sign Colin Kaepernick. Owner John Mara, who inherited all his money, said it was because fans wrote him a bunch of letters, so I guess it’s our fault for not putting pen to paper when the G-Men decided to keep domestic abuser Josh Brown on the roster a year ago. Seriously, a kicker!? You stick your team’s reputation on the line for a stinkin’ kicker? Even Howie Roseman’s thinking ‘Jeez dude, that’s a bad look.’

Mara is nearly as hypocritical as the New York media, which roasts Beckham for his little boat trip but pulls its punches against Eli, who may-or-may-not have been the center of a Super Bowl memorabilia fraud case. It doesn’t take a masters class in civil justice to figure out what’s going on here, in either case.

What’ll Happen This Season (Best Case Scenario): Landon Collins becomes the Defensive Player of the Year, and the addition of Marshall helps the 36-year-old Lesser-Manning take a step forward in the McAdoo Offensive… which, as far as I can tell, consists solely of “Beckham runs as far as he can and Eli tries to overthrow him.” Brilliant stuff, Ben. I can’t wait till the 30-for-30 comes out. The Giants offensive gameplan typically has the creativity of a response from Siri.

What’ll Happen This Season (Worst Case Scenario): Eli has one-too-many of his patented half-dozen turnover performances, Beckham acts in a fashion that has the MSM label him a “distraction,” and the entire season goes down the tubes, putting McAdoo on the hot seat and Eli Retirement Threat Levels at MAGENTA. Worth noting; the Giants spent a third round pick on a quarterback this April, which is about as passive-aggressive as things get in this business. Somewhere in Arizona, Donovan McNabb is mumbling “Kevin Kolb” over and over again as he waits for his Uber. Eli will know his pain.

Conclusion: Ever since Jerome McDougle took eight years off his life in his first professional game, Eli Manning has been equally capable of single-handedly beating the most impressive of opponents… or losing to a squad with the talent level of a decapitated weasel. You do not get to play against Eli Manning. Only Eli Manning plays against Eli Manning. No stat line of his will ever surprise me, and expecting any of that to change in his 14th professional season is as probable as John Mara showing up to Week 1 in a “Black Lives Matter” hoodie.

The Giants will be as good as Eli allows them. They’ll be good enough to beat anybody, but probably won’t.

Previously:

Washington Redskins preview: Dan Snyder's undrainable swamp

Dallas Cowboys preview: some new faces, same choking hazards

 

 

 

Joel Embiid: 'I don't think you want to try me'

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Joel Embiid: 'I don't think you want to try me'

We've seen it plenty and we love it.

Joel Embiid talking trash and trolling the opposition.

But is he ever concerned with possible payback?

It doesn't sound like he is, and for pretty decent reasons.

Embiid, entertaining us like always, explained those reasons beautifully on ESPN's Tuesday edition of "SC6."

Here was his answer:

Oh, no, I'm not worried about that. If those guys that want to get their feelings hurt, if they're not strong mentally, that's not my fault. I think when it comes down to it, and if we all got to square up, I mean, I'm 7-2 and I'm a big dude. I don't think you want to try me. And I'm African, too, so.

That's the whole point of playing basketball — having fun, go out there, have fun, kick someone's ass and just play basketball.

Not sure if Embiid will ever have to square up with an opposing player. He may have to look out for a big dunk when he's protecting the rim or some extra fire from the competition, but it's good to know he's ready to rumble if necessary.

For the video of Embiid on "SC6," you can watch it here, via The Athletic's Rich Hofmann.

Sixers pick up first boring win of the season against Jazz

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Sixers pick up first boring win of the season against Jazz

There was a time as Sixers fans when being 16 games into the season meant it legitimately felt like there was no chance the team would ever win another game of basketball. Now, we're beating teams at home by a lot because we're better than them, moving to multiple games over .500, and -- as of last night -- even breaking even with our overall scoring differential. Yawn. 

The Philadelphia 76ers beat the Utah Jazz last night by a score of 107-86. Joel Embiid had something of an off night (15 points on 7-16 shooting), our shooters couldn't quite get it going (4-15 from deep), but we still won by 21. It wasn't quite a blowout, but it definitely wasn't a nail-biter. It wasn't an upset or a moral loss or a validating triumph. It wasn't anything, really, except a win. 

In it's own way, of course, that makes it the most meaningful W of the season for Philly. It has been a very long time -- maybe since the Doug Collins era -- since the Sixers won a game without it being a referendum on either team. The Sixers simply won because they're a better team with more good players -- especially with the Jazz missing a couple key dudes, though we also beat them in Utah a couple weeks ago without Joel Embiid, so whatever. And the Jazz aren't even the worst team in the league, or really even one of them -- they're just a not-totally-terrible team that the Sixers are still decisively superior to. 

Long have I dreamed of wins like this, to have a game where there was nothing to say in the recap except how there's nothing really to say in the recap. Next time the Sixers pick up another W this casual -- and it probably won't take all that long, either -- I won't even be able to write this column again. I'll probably have to try writing in haiku or cryptogram or something to attempt to make the story interesting. 

And that's fine: After four years of historic losing, we'll trade narratives for Ws any time. You keep it real boring, Sixers.