2005_11_smanning.jpgAfter ten games the Giants are tied with Dallas for first place in the NFC East with a 7-3 record. When the season started, even the most optimistic fan would have been hard pressed to envision this, but now that the playoffs are in reach expectations have grown.

The problem is, to meet those expectations and return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season, the Giants will have to play better against a much tougher schedule. Sunday, they let a bad Philadelphia team hang around and while they eventually triumphed 27-17, they easily could have lost the game. It took two fourth quarter touchdowns to finally put the contest out of reach.

The Giants have road games against Seattle, Philadelphia, Washington and Oakland and only two home games left on the schedule against Dallas and Kansas City. None of them will be easy and the Giants will need to go 3-3 at minimum to get into the playoffs. Eli Manning has made a lot of progress so far this year, but can he take his team into January?

Photo by AP/Bill Kostroun via ESPN