Today in Local Sports Coverage: Playoffs!

Everyone’s talking about the playoffs this morning.

The Giants beat the Cowboys 31-24 at the Meadowlands yesterday, and even though they’re still third in the division, the consensus is that this win saved their season. In the Daily News, Gary Myers keeps running with last week’s stoyrline–about how the Giants needed to summon their hatred of the Cowboys to win this one–and says that, in fact, the Giants summoned their hatred of the Cowboys to win this one.

It took the hated Cowboys to bring back the passion and intensity in the Giants that mysteriously had been missing for almost two months.

The summoning got significantly easier after the Cowboys’ bovine left tackle, Flozell Adams, pushed Justin Tuck in the back just before halftime, an exchange that inspired a rather forced back cover in the Daily News–“STRONGER THAN ‘DIRT'”–when Tuck called Adams a “dirtbag” after the game.

Tom Coughlin certainly got intense. He let out a couple ferocious fist pumps that had me worried for the old guy’s shoulder. And Steve Serby says Coughlin even joined the pre-game huddle, which he apparently never does. Serby agrees this one was a season-saver, but he credits the stadium.

It was about saving a season gone awry. It was about an old house — The House LT Built — rallying around its desperate, embattled team and its desperate, embattled team feeding off that old house and rallying around one another.

Even the Times gets a little combative. Judy Battista says Tony Romo’s nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns “might be generously called fantasy statistics,” and she gives Wade Phillips, the Cowboys’ marshmallowy apologist of a head coach, three graphs of rope. In the first, Phillips says of the team’s well-chronicled, impossible-to-deny December struggles:

“I don’t think it’s a mental block. I think it’s something you made up.”

By the third, he’s saying:

“I’m not trying to avoid it or say it’s not true. We’ve got to put it away.”

The Post tries to be optimistic about the Jets’ December chances with a story about how losses by the Texans and Titans could help the team’s slim playoff hopes.

The Jets proved last year that playoff berths are not decided until December, when they collapsed down the stretch. With four games left, the Jets have a pulse, but they also have plenty of work left ahead of them.

But it’s Knicks’ coach Mike D’Antoni who has the most inexplicable case of playoff fever.

After winning three of their last four games to move to 6-15, coach Mike D’Antoni was even caught using the “P-word” for the first time since preseason.

“If we want to make the playoffs,” D’Antoni said, “and I know we have a long way to go, our defense has to get way better.”

This came after a win over the Nets, who at 1-19 seem to be the only team in town not talking about making the playoffs.

  Today in Local Sports Coverage: Playoffs!