Today in Local Sports Coverage: Pretenders and Probabilities

You can choose your paper this morning based on whether you want to blame the Giants’ offense or defense for last night’s 45-38 loss to the Eagles.

The Daily News says it was “THE FUMBLES!” that cost the Giants a shot at first place in the division, while the Post says it was actually a “D-SASTER!”

Inside, both of them spread the blame, and bury whatever playoff hopes the Giants still harbor. “First place is the last place these Giants belong,” writes Steve Serby, who says this players team are just pretenders. Justin Tuck called the Eagles’ recent dominance of the Giants “horsebleep,” but Filip Bondy disagrees. “This is not a fluky or ethereal streak,” he tells us.

At 7-6, the Giants could still sneak into the playoffs, but Kevin Kernan is less than optimistic: “Even if they get there, how will they stop anyone?”

The Jets proved they can stop bad teams again yesterday, by beating up on lowly Tampa Bay. Rex Ryan was predictably conservative with backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, relying instead on a defense that didn’t give up a first down for the first two and a half quarters. Asked about his team’s playoff chances, Ryan showed his customary confidence:

“Improbable,” he said with a sly grin. “The so-called experts were ready to write us off three weeks ago. One telecast said, ‘Instead of J-E-T-S … Jets … Jets … Jets … it’s M-E-S-S.'”

Brief pause, another grin.

“I don’t think so.”

The so-called experts would probably point out that the Buccaneers are now 1-12, and the Jets recent three-game winning streak hasn’t come against any playoff teams. The Jets also don’t have the tiebreaker against two of the teams they’re competing with for the wild card, so “improbable” might be more accurate, absent the sly grin. 

  Today in Local Sports Coverage: Pretenders and Probabilities