Hey there football fans, and welcome to the NFL Down Under ‘Team of the Week’ column for Week 9. As our loyal readers we figured we should hear which team you think played best each week, instead of having us rant and rave in our narrow-minded and subjective ways. Every Tuesday we will send out a Facebook post and tweet, and based on your responses the team with the most mentions will be crowned weekly champion.
THE NFL DOWN UNDER WEEK 9 WINNER IS:
THE NEW YORK GIANTS (6-2)
Week 6 result- New York Giants 24 – New England Patriots 20. After being deadlocked at 0-0 after the first two quarters, the Giants and Patriots battled out a gritty second half in a seesawing game that saw five lead changes. Three touchdowns were scored in the final four minutes but it was the Giants who delivered the final blow with 15 seconds left on the clock.Divisional standing- First in the NFC East, +14 point differential.
Standout players- QB Eli Manning turned up the heat in the second half and finished the day with 20/39 for 250 yards, two touchdowns and one INT. His ability to keep composed and make clutch plays late in the game makes his performance all the more impressive. There’s been a lot of ‘elite’ talk recently about Eli, but let’s settle down for a second. He’s a great QB who's having a decent season, but he's not elite. Yet. Young livewire Victor Cruz was outstanding again with 91 yards off 6 receptions, while the saviour Jake Ballard hauled in four catches for 67 yards, including a phenomenal clutch reception on a crucial third down followed by the game-winning touchdown.
What it means- This win is huge for the Giants. They find themselves two games clear of second-placed Dallas in the NFC East, and three clear of both Philadelphia and Washington. The 6-2 record is also helpful if another East team makes an unlikely late surge in the season, as the Giants are primed for at least a Wild Card spot in the playoffs. Fun fact- The Patriots have lost consecutive games only three times since 2003. No comment. Next week- The Giants head to the Bay area as they clash with the surging 49ers in a game that’ll be easily one of the best for the week. Stop Gore and rattle Smith and New York should be able to get those San Fran fans back to their usual state. Final thought- Not once did I make a Super Bowl XLII reference in this article. Are you proud?
Reader Speak: Who is your 'Team of the Week'?-
Joshua Wye - "Giants beat Pats without Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks and in Foxboro. Eli is (Eli)te!!" Carren Anne - "Giants. Eli did well to get it going after the interception. Plus it was like a replay of the superbowl."