Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 12/31/12
A total of 15 teams remained standing as the clock struck 1 PM EST on Sunday afternoon, the day before New Year's Eve.From there, in three or four hour increments, that list whittled down to the mandated 12 necessary to form a playoff pool.We here at the Football Nation Medical Examiner's Office know how difficult this last week of post-mortem examination can be.Well, not from an emotional standpoint; that's left for the fans, players, and others to digest. I'm referring to the layers of broken optimism that need to be scraped off the cadavers before we can begin working. Sometimes it's like trying to chip through five inches of solid ice with a plastic spork.These are the teams that needed just one or two breaks to go their way, and they'd be alive today, vying among a field of a dozen for a trophy awarded only to one.Instead, they plot their next move, bitterly vowing that they'll be back, better than ever.But until such opportunity arises, embrace the squalid stench of death. At least in this state, you won't feel a thing when I carve into the remains....Subject: New York GiantsDate of Death: December 30, 2012Record at Time of Death: 9-7Contributing Factors to Death:1. Inversion of Eli ManningWith big brother Peyton staring down the barrel of retirement early in 2012, and kid brother Eli taking home his second Lombardi Trophy/Super Bowl MVP combo, all pretenses of Peyton being the undisputed 'better sibling' seemed to lose their weight.Eleven months later, with Denver looking like one of the strongest teams in the NFL, and the Giants eliminated, the previous assumption is putting on the pounds once more.From Week 16 in 2011, through the end of Super Bowl XLVI, Eli Manning threw 13 touchdown passes and just two picks. He beat the Jets to eliminate the Eagles in Week 16, then Dallas a week later in the finale to claim the final playoff spot.From there, obviously, he led the Giants to four straight wins, including a fourth quarter comeback in the big game, to win his second title.Manning, like the greatest of quarterbacks, was there when New York needed him to be.Not the case in 2012.Take away his evisceration of the lackadaisical Eagles in the final week (5 TD passes), and Manning threw 21 touchdowns against 15 picks in 2012. His rating outside of that final game was 83.6, which would have been his lowest since 2007.If not for the Eagles game, he would have finished behind Carson Palmer and Cam Newton, and barely ahead of Ryan Fitzpatrick.Consistency was also an issue, as Manning completed less than 54 percent of his passes in six different games.2. Defense Proved InconsistentYes, it's a 'passing league' these days. Yes, quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and even Matthew Stafford are putting up passing numbers that would made heads explode if they happened with this frequency in the 1980s.But still, that's no excuse for pass defenses to get walked on in the modern NFL. If anything, defensive schemes need to evolve to match the blitzkriegs that a Rodgers or a Brees can unleash.On the turnover front, the Giants have been stout at poaching. Their 21 interceptions are third in the NFL (8 for breakout star Stevie Brown) and the Giants are third overall in turnovers (14 fumble recoveries).But it's feast or famine. If the Giants can't force the opponent to give up the ball, they're prone to getting blasted.The Giants have given up the fifth most passing yards in the league, 4,068 through the air. And 26 touchdown passes given up are the thirteenth worst total among 32 teams.As for the run defense, the Giants have given up 140 yards on the ground seven times this season, and New York is 2-5 in those games. New York's given up 2066 yards rushing, the eighth highest total.3. Second Half SlideDoubling as the NFC East beat writer for Cold Hard Football Facts, I experienced my own "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment on the night of October 28.Fresh off a 29-24 win over Dallas, the Giants improved to 6-2, and stood above the wreckage of their division over the Cowboys (3-4), Eagles (3-4), and Redskins (3-5), with nothing but daylight ahead of them for a divisional repeat.Then November happened.The Giants would go 3-5 the rest of the way, while the Redskins would win seven straight beginning November 18, winding up 10-6 and taking the East.As for New York's descent into futility, their second half included narrow losses to Pittsburgh (coming back from down 10 scores late) and the Skins on a Monday night (which helped shape how the division would be decided).They were also blown out several times, by the Bengals 31-13 (the pass defense crumbled), to the Falcons 34-0 (worst loss by a defending Super Bowl champ), and to a sliding Baltimore team, 33-14.All the Eagles win on Sunday did was help New York salvage a little dignity.For other autopsies, such as the Eagles, Steelers, Saints, and more, click here
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Tickets for ‘Monday Night Football’ game in Mexico sell out

Kevin Durant says he never told Russell Westbrook he was staying in OKC

God Shammgod hired by Mavericks as player development assistant

Soccer player terminates contract after being attacked by stray dogs

Todd Bowles confirms Ryan Fitzpatrick is Jets starting QB: ‘It’s his job’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Carmelo Anthony shocked Dwyane Wade left Miami for Chicago

Report: David Lee signs with the Spurs

Craig Sager to miss Olympics while undergoing bone marrow transplant

Jarryd Hayne wouldn’t have retired if NFL had minor league system

Draymond Green: ‘Me and LeBron are friends’

Pierre-Paul won't need to wear club on hand this season

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

Denard Robinson blames falling asleep at stoplight for pond crash

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Hue Jackson: Browns will give Josh Gordon a fresh start

Diamondbacks nearing Daniel Hudson trade

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

What would George Costanza have traded to get Bonds and Griffey?

Gabby Douglas can make USA Gymnastics history at Olympics

Week 3 will determine the Big Ten's reputation this season

Cam Talbot thinks the Oilers are close to making the playoffs

The new era of WWE SmackDown has liftoff

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker