Giants Kick Off December Football with Rival Jets

Tom Coughlin talks about how the Jets use their tight ends, the need for Eli Manning to step up and how the Giants will manage their offensive line with the injuries they've suffered.

The calendar flipped to “December” Tuesday and Tom Coughlin took notice. With only five games left in the regular season, Coughlin acknowledged in his weekly press conference Wednesday that the time must be now for the Giants to make their run.

It all begins Sunday as they renew their rivalry with the Jets.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Coughlin and the Giants is the state of their offensive line. Facing a Jets defensive front led by All-Pros Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson — along with emerging rookie Leonard Williams — Big Blue would have their hands full even if they were at full strength … which they’re not.

The team placed starting guard Geoff Schwartz on injured reserve earlier this week. In addition, both Weston Richburg (ankle) and Justin Pugh (concussion), who didn’t play last week, were limited in practice Wednesday and starting tackle Marshall Newhouse (back) missed practice.

Coughlin was cautiously optimistic when discussing the status of Richburg and Pugh. The fact that Pugh was at practice indicates he may no longer be in the league’s concussion protocol, which bodes well for his chances of playing Sunday.

With the offensive line in flux, the Giants will be leaning heavily on one man to help put the Giants back into the win column: Eli Manning.

“He has to (rise to the occasion),” Coughlin said. “He’s our guy and he’s done it so many times before.”

Coughlin has supreme confidence in Manning, but admitted that he needs help.

His message to the players was simple.

“Do everything in your power” he concluded. “We’re in December now.”

For more on the Big Blue-Gang Green showdown watch Giants 1st & 10 on MSG Friday at 10:30 PM or Sunday at 10:30 AM.