Under normal circumstances this would be enough to make the Giants and their fans gag on their turkey, but these aren’t normal circumstances this year. So aside from wishing everyone a “Happy Thanksgiving,” the Giants will have another wish when they pull at the wishbone on Thursday.
“Go Cowboys, Go!”
As much as it will pain them, the Giants have no choice but to be rooting for the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday afternoon when they play host to the NFC East-leading Washington Redskins. The Redskins (6-4) have a one-game lead over the Cowboys (5-5) and a three-game lead over the Giants (3-7). If the Redskins lose and the Giants beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, that lead will be cut to two with five games still to play.
Sure, it’s all still a longshot and the more important part of the equation is that the Giants have to keep winning. It’s also true that the Cowboys might be the most dangerous team in the division, now that the Redskins have lost quarterback Alex Smith for the rest of the season.
But for now, math is working against the Giants, so they have to root for the first-place team to be pulled back to the pack – whether they want to even admit that they’ll be rooting or not.
“I mean, we’ll watch the game, but you never know how it’s all going to end up or play out, so just watch,” Eli Manning said. “If it had direct impact, I’ve rooted for a divisional team if I thought it would help us out one way or the other.”
It certainly would help the Giants to only be two games behind the Redskins and Cowboys, who will be in a first-place tie if the Cowboys win – especially since the Giants still have to play both of them down the stretch. If the Redskins win, it will become much harder for the Giants to make up a three-game deficit (assuming they beat the Eagles, of course) with five games to go. Remember, the Giants are already 0-3 in the NFC East, so the tie-breakers are not on their side.
Ironically, the Eagles (4-6) are in a similar situation. The defending Super Bowl champs are in danger of falling out of the race, too. If the Cowboys win on Thursday, they’ll have a chance to pull within one game of the division lead if they beat the Giants on Sunday.
So the Eagles will be holding their noses as well as they root for the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day, too.
“Well,” said Eagles coach Doug Pederson, “this time of year you do what you have to do.”