New York abuzz over Giants, Jets

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:07 AM ET

So who is complaining now?

All that groaning from the New York Giants -- a team that was used to having it soft -- suddenly has gone silent in the Big Apple. Amazing what a couple or three wins will do.

Don't look now, but New York is suddenly a good place to be an NFL fan again.

With an upset 14-7 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the Giants (3-1) moved to just behind the Philadelphia Eagles in the tough NFC East.

Then there are the undefeated New York Jets (3-0), who after beating the lightweight Miami Dolphins share top spot in the AFC East.

The bigger surprise may be the Giants, though, a team which made headlines earlier for whining over the boot-camp approach of coach Tom Coughlin. His predecessor, Jim Fassel, was known as a player's coach, which we can now interpret to mean a soft touch.

After a solid start, these Giants appear to have bought into Coughlin's tough love. They play stoutly on defence and an offensive line that seemed disinterested last year is protecting quarterback Kurt Warner, a clear upgrade on Kerry Collins, and making holes for running back Tiki Barber.

The Giants have yet to beat a winning team, so no need to get carried away. Next week's test against the division-rival Dallas Cowboys may provide a truer test of their improvement.

But a team that has forced 13 turnovers in its past three games and seems to play hard on both sides of the ball is clearly headed in the right direction.

"We have a long way to go to be the kind of football team we want to be," Coughlin said yesterday. "I like the way their attitude is in looking at that."

WHO NEEDS VICK?

A year later than many expected, the Atlanta Falcons are starting to look like quality contenders.

If there is a surprise, though, it is that dynamic quarterback Michael Vick isn't the biggest reason.

First-year coach Jim Mora has an attacking defence that will keep the team in most games. When Vick gets around to winning games on his own -- and you know he will -- look out.

KICKING AROUND

As impressive as the Giants were against the Packers, it was not a good day for Oakville native Steve Christie. The veteran placekicker missed all three of his field goal attempts, including a 33-yarder in the final minute that would have given the Giants some breathing room.

Having hit just five of 10 attempts this season, Christie's future in New York could be in jeopardy.

To his credit, Christie made no excuses, saying "I should have hit all three." Coughlin clearly agreed.

"Right now we're going to try to work our way through it," Coughlin said yesterday. "At this moment, we plan on staying the way we are, but that doesn't mean tomorrow we won't have someone in to work out."

PACKING IT IN

When they rebuilt Lambeau Field in Green Bay, apparently they buried some of the mystique.

The Packers are 0-2 at home this season and 6-6 in their past 12 at a stadium where they were once invincible.

Now comes desperation time. The Packers are home to the Tennessee Titans (1-3) next Monday night. The loser of that game can almost kiss its playoff hopes so long.

QUICK KICKS

Hard to see the Miami Dolphins ending the New England Patriots' 18-game winning streak. The foul Fish have just two offensive touchdowns in 16 quarters ... As good as Peyton Manning had been the week before in tossing five touchdowns against the Pack, the Colts may have been even more impressive on Sunday. On the road in oppressive heat, they handled the tough defence of the Jacksonville Jaguars in a 24-17 win.


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