Giants survive scare from Miami

Eli Manning and the Giants improved to 5-2 with a win over the Dolphins. (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Through 54 minutes, the New York Giants had not held a lead against the winless Miami Dolphins.

But all that matters is who's on top at the end, and when the final horn sounded, Tom Coughlin's squad had improved to 5-2, guaranteeing they'll stay atop the NFC East for another week.

The Dolphins got off to a quick start, taking a 14-3 lead in the first half. But Miami managed just a field goal in the second half as the Giants came back for the 20-17 victory.

Eli Manning had a lot of time to find his receivers and was very good, completing 31 of 45 passes for 349 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He's quietly having a strong year with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions. Manning, who led the league with 25 INTs last year, has finished four of his last five games without a pick.

The Giants' defense finished with five sacks, two coming on the Dolphins' final series. Matt Moore and and company took over from the Dolphins' 16 with 3:35 left, needing a field goal to tie. But after a pair of sacks, Moore threw an interception on 4th-and-23.

Even though New York entered the day in first place, the Giants needed this victory. Going into Week 8, they had the most difficult remaining schedule, according to Football Outsiders. Check out the Giants' next five games: at New England, at San Francisco, vs. Philadelphia, at New Orleans, vs. Green Bay.

If the Eagles lose to Dallas, they'll be three games out of first place. With a win, they'll be two back.

Some other notes from the 1 o'clock games:

* Kevin Kolb and the Cardinals went another week without picking up their second win. Arizona was a Week 1 winner, but hasn't notched a victory since. Today, the Cardinals blew a 24-3 lead, falling to the Ravens, 30-27. Kolb, whose first significant NFL action came in Baltimore against the Ravens back in 2008 when Donovan McNabb was benched, finished 10-for-21 for 153 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He was sacked six times.

* How many guys are more fun to watch than Cam Newton right now? The Panthers rookie quarterback completed 22 of 35 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns against Minnesota. He also was the team's leading rusher with six carries for 53 yards. With 2:43 left and Carolina down three, he led the Panthers on a 57-yard drive, setting up a 31-yard field goal attempt. But Olindo Mare missed the kick, and the Panthers lost. Still, Newton passes the Red Zone Channel test. Every time the Panthers are on, you want Scott Hanson to go to their game when Newton and the offense have the ball.

* A week after hanging 62 points on the Colts, the Saints fell to the previously winless Rams, 31-21. Chris Long, who Todd Herremans did such a good job against in Week 1, sacked Drew Brees three times. Steven Jackson ran for 159 yards on 25 carries. The Dolphins (0-7) and the Colts (0-8) are now the only two teams without a victory.

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