Again, the Super Bowl champs are on the verge of not returning to the playoffs

Sam Spiegelman

A year removed from hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, the Giants are now on the outside of the playoff picture looking. They’re relying on a wing and a prayer that the dominoes will fall in the right place so that they can have the opportunity to defend their championship.

But it’s out of the Giants’ control. All the team can do is win what is conceived to be a winnable game against the Eagles and keep their fingers crossed.

For the defending champs, it’s frustrating to see their fall from grace. The Giants have struggled defensively, but have shown the ability to rise to the occasion.

They will try to do that one more time on Sunday.

“It’s tough to realize that’s the position that we’re in, that’s the quality of work that we put together. But the facts are the facts … I’m sure that every guy on the defense in this locker room would say that,” Mathias Kiwanuka said. “So for whatever reason we didn’t put our best effort on a consistent basis throughout the season, but with every game there is an opportunity to turn that around.”

No team has repeated as Super Bowl champs since the Patriots in the early 2000s. More often than not, the defending champions don’t even make it to the tournament in the following year.

Talk about a Super Bowl hangover.

After the ’07 championship run, the Giants went on to become the top seed in ’08, them missed out on the post-season the next two years. They find themselves eerily close to enjoying the same fate again in 2012.

“Winning in this league is difficult. Every week you go out there and teams are very evenly matched and things can swing one way or the other. So winning a championship, in general, is a very difficult thing,” Kiwanuka said. “We’re not thinking about repeating. We’re thinking about this unique group right here trying to make a run to get us a ring and I think that’s the most difficult thing.”

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