The last stand for the bleeding Giants and their falling superstar

From the time Chuck Bednarik knocked Frank Gifford cold, the Eagles have been a thorn in the Giants’ side. And yet it always stuck in the city of Philadelphia’s craw that the Giants had won four Super Bowl championships and its beloved Eagles had never once marched into Giants Stadium or MetLife as defending champs.

Until now.

Until Thursday night.

And waiting for them with fists balled is a 1-4 Giants team that knows it must make a last stand right here and right now or almost certainly kiss another sorry season goodbye. A 1-4 Giants team that was a 3-13 Giants team a year ago, that has lost 8 of its last 10 home games, that is 19-21 at home since 2013, that hasn’t won a home playoff game since Jan. 8, 2012, 10-7 over the Falcons.

Enough is enough.

In another time, in a desperate hour like this, Lawrence Taylor would have never let the Eagles out of Giants Stadium alive.

Kill two Birds with one stone.

Of course you’d have to be a delusional romantic at this point to imagine Eli Manning on another Canyon of Heroes float holding another Lombardi Trophy high.

But how about the Giants giving Giants fans a night?

How about about the Giants giving Giants fans a season?

If ever there is a night for the Giants to stop cheating themselves and their fans, it is this night.

Because without this night, there will be no season.

This night when Olivier Vernon is expected to make his season debut and all hands are on deck.

The Eagles are 2-3 and vulnerable. Carson Wentz hasn’t found his mojo yet and has been holding the ball too long. Left tackle Jason Peters is 36 and, like Wentz, is back from ACL-MCL woes. Running back Jay Ajayi is on IR. The pass defense has been exploited. Coach Doug Pederson is no longer being hailed as a genius. It’s not always who you play but when you play them. This is a good time to play the Eagles.

It is a forgiving crowd, but after all the losing they have seen since Super Bowl XLVI, they will be in a demanding mood when the Giants get one last chance to change the complexion of their season.

And the one it will be demanding the most from will be Odell Beckham Jr., of course.

Giants fans want to embrace him with unrequited love, they want him to terrorize defenses the way LT terrorized offenses. They’re still waiting for him to mature into a leader who yearns to be legendary not just for himself, but for their New York Football Giants as well.

It is the price you are obligated to pay for being The $95 Million Man.

Beckham dropped the ball in his infamous ESPN interview on matters relating to Manning and Pat Shurmur and his happiness in New York, and he better not drop the balls that Manning throws him on Thursday night or he will hear it from the crowd. In that playoff loss at Lambeau Field the week after the infamous boat trip, his performance left Giants fans seasick, remember, and left him punching a wall outside the visitors locker room.

The only drama the crowd wants now from the NFL’s highest-paid receiver is dramatic touchdown catches and a dramatic victory that can launch an NFC East title run.

When John Mara explained why he banked on Beckham, he said, “He knows what’s expected of him.” It is unknown whether Mara is a Lil Wayne fan, but the last thing Mara expected was another Beckham fumble.

They say Beckham spoke from the heart when he apologized to his teammates Saturday night, and the Giants are hailing it as an awakening and the cementing of a bond between them. They are sick and tired of losing. Their fans are sick and tired of watching them lose. The threat of thunderstorms? It’s rained enough on their parades. The Giants believe a breakthrough is coming. Shame on them if they give their fans another night for the Birds, and another season for the Birds.

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