Plaxico Has the Giants by the Balls
I remember reading the same language recently, and it was regarding the Dodgers and Manny. Now that the Giants ended their season losing four of five games, including a playoff loss at home to the Eagles, Plaxico Burress has a ton of leverage. Counting the loss against the Vikings is difficult because the Giants had already clinched the top seed while the Vikings needed the win. Still, the Giants offense while looking good in their first game without Plaxico (a 37-29 win over the Cardinals), was uninspiring without him. The Giants averaged just 17.2 points per game in their final five games. They had routinely scored over 30 points per game before that. The Giants scored just 14 and 11 points in their two losses against the Eagles. Plaxico had four touchdowns and 411 yards in five games against the Eagles the past three seasons. Eli Manning had just two touchdowns and four interceptions in those five games to end the season. Manning had 13 touchdowns and seven picks with Plaxico on the field.
Some of this data is difficult to analyze because the Giants played well in two games without Plaxico during the season (Burress also missed a 44-6 week 5 against Seattle), prior to the whole self shooting thing. But after seeing how poor the offense looked down the stretch without him on the field compared to how good they looked with him (and how much Burress elevated his game in the playoffs last year), there’s no way to say that the team doesn’t need him out there. The Giants, with the exception of the Panthers game where they pounded on the ground, couldn’t move the ball in the last month of the year. Some of that is the weather making things tougher on the air game, but a lot of it is not having a game-breaking receiver who commands attention and often double coverage. The Giants lacked a playmaking threat without Burress.
I don’t like the guy because I feel that he has been a bad teammate (he was fined like 50 times for various things like showing up late and skipping practice), but the team needs him on the field and you can tell that based on what some of the players have said. Even Eli Manning knows he needs Burress as a go-to guy because Plax makes a lot of plays to bail him out. It’s unfortunate that a guy with a bad attitude can come out ahead, but it’s looking like that’s the case. Plaxico certainly has the upper hand in this relationship, the only problem is the government might have him by the balls.