The Giants have looked relatively impressive the last couple of weeks against Minnesota and Washington, but are the Giants really among the NFC's Elite?

For starters, there is no question that the defense has looked extremely impressive, with relentless pressure on opposing quarterbacks and causing several turnovers. Jason Pierre-Paul is now silencing the doubters he's had all season, and the secondary has been covering receivers like a glove.

Also, let's give proper recognition to the Giants offensive line. With David Diehl finally healthy on the left side, both Bradshaw and Jacobs have exploded in the running game the last few weeks. However, the question surrounding the offense is this: has the improved running game allowed Eli Manning to think being "average" is okay?

In the last few years, the exceptional running game always meant opposing defense putting 7-8 men in the box and more single coverage on receivers for Eli to throw the ball to. But over the last couple of weeks, Manning has been less than impressive and allowed his running backs to literally carry the Giants to victory.

Over the last four games, the Giants may have gone 3-1, but Eli Manning has failed to even come close to 300 yards passing in all 4 games. The closest Manning came was 226 yards against Jacksonville, and that was because the Giants had to come from behind and used the passing game for a good portion of the fourth quarter. If this team wants to go deep in the NFC playoffs (or even get in the playoffs), they need to have a more balanced offense where Eli Manning is able to compliment the stellar running game.

On top of that, we found out yesterday that Steve Smith has been placed on I-R due to an injury to his left knee. In the games against Philadelphia and Jacksonville, it was evident that Eli missed Steve Smith like crazy, and the problem was only worse when Hakeem Nicks went down after the first Eagles game. With Steve Smith out for good, this means that Big Blue must now rely on either of their big-time sideline receivers (Nicks or Manningham) to play as the #1 receiver in the slot, a position Smith has mastered... but not so much for his potential replacements.

And now, just to really rub it in on how "good" the Giants have been... I have to bring up the schedule, folks. You injured enough quarterbacks to build up a 5-game winning streak, which completely inflated your ego... only to see it lead to losses against a revitalized Dallas squad and a superior Eagles team. Now the G-Men have struggled through Jacksonville, out-classed Washington and outmuscled Minnesota without Brett Favre... so the Giants are suddenly a "great" 9-4 team?! To quote the Monday Night Countdown crew on ESPN, "C'MON MAN!!"

So Giants fans, I need you to do everyone a favor and take off what Sinkoff would call "your Big Blue sunglasses." Just admit that your Giants are good, but not great. And if you won't do it for everyone, just do it for me.