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New York Giants: Week Four- The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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As always, with a game like Monday’s 24-3 loss, it’s difficult to find positives when you’ve watched your team turn in a performance like that after a 10-day rest. The article, however, is called the good, the bad, and the ugly, and when you look past the dross, there are a few positives. 

The Good

If the Giants are going to solve their issues on offence, one player that needs to be involved more is Wan’Dale Robinson. Robinson was on the field for 48 snaps, in which he had five receptions on six targets for 40 yards. He likely would have had more had Jones seen him doing star jumps in the backfield. 

Matt Breida is the only other player who potentially deserves praise. Admittedly, he only got 30 yards on 14 carries and was poor at pass blocking, but he caught all five of his targets for 48 yards and had the Giants two longest plays, a pair of 22-yard catches.  

Weirdly, despite this being the defence’s best performance of the season statistically, there are only a couple of players that truly deserve praise.  

Kayvon Thibodeaux did exactly what we have been asking for, grabbing a pair of sacks to go along with his two quarterback hits, one hurry, and two tackles for loss. He was also unlucky not to have a pick-six after he batted a pass from Geno Smith.  

Fellow edge rusher Azeez Ojulari unfortunately didn’t record quite as high numbers but still had five hurries and a tackle for loss, while Dexter Lawrence, who is yet to record a sub-80 PFF score, also had three hurries, one quarterback hit, and three tackles.  

The Bad

Last week I tried to explain why Jones’s struggles were less him and more a combination of other factors; however, this week he must be front and centre.  

As mentioned before, he clearly missed a wide open Wan’Dale Robinson in the first half, but what’s more concerning about that play is that Jones abandoned what was seemingly a clean pocket. It’s obvious he has no faith in his offensive line, and as such, he’s a jittery mess.

He held onto the ball way too long time and time again, so it’s no surprise that a good chunk of the 10 sacks he took were attributed to him and not the offensive linemen. The turnovers that he’d cut out last season have also returned, with Jones being at fault for his lost fumble and both interceptions. This combination of stats means that Jones has another unwanted record of being the first QB to throw a pick 6 and be sacked 11 times in a game since 1985.  

Jones’s struggles are compounded by an absolutely inept offensive line that crumbled after JMS left the game after the first series. The Seahawks handily beat them again and again, even when the Giants added in a blocking tight end and a chipping running back. It’s no surprise to yet again see three of the linemen on the bottom performers list.    

On the defensive side, Wink Martindale’s comments about the Giants tackling issues were “Chart’em,” and unfortunately for him, the Giants fans did just that.

16 was the number last week against the 49ers, and although this was an improvement, it was still in double figures, albeit only just. The worst of the 10 misses was actually a double miss from Adoree Jackson and Bobby Okereke, which culminated in Noah Fant’s 51-yard catch and run.  All in all, the Giants had seven different players miss tackles, and all of them, apart from Adoree Jackson, are from the front end of the defence, which explains the 110 yards Walker and Charbonnet got on just 22 carries.  

Finally, let’s talk about special teams because, outside of Graham Gano and, to a degree, Jamie Gillan, it’s awful. SIX penalties (which should have been seven), a muffed punt from Gray, and Adoree back on punt duties.  

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The Ugly

Now, as poor as the players are playing, some of the blame evidently needs to be pointed at the coaches too.  

Mike Kafka’s playcalling is uninspiring and unimaginative. Wink’s defence is getting better, but he has to fix the missed tackles and lack of takeaways, and to say that Thomas McGaughey’s unit outside of its kickers has underperformed is an understatement.  

The thing that binds all these together, though, is Dabes, and somehow he needs to get this team in check fast. There’s no fight, no grit, mixed messages from players, and that aura of fun from last year has disintegrated into frustration and sloppiness. The team is freefalling, and unfortunately for us fans, it’s hard to see where it stops.  

What’s Next

It’s back on the road for the Giants as they travel South to Miami to face the NFL leaders in points scored, overall yards, passing yards and rushing yards. Let’s hope that the defensive improvements continue because if not we could be looking at another demoralizing watch.

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New York Giants: Week Three – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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A matchup against one of the favourites for the Super Bowl was always going to be tough, but a poor offensive line, missed tackles, and lacklustre commitment meant that the San Francisco 49ers barely had to get out of second gear.

The Good

Offensively, the Giants sustained a solid first drive of the game, and unlike Week 1’s disaster against the Cowboys, the field goal wasn’t blocked. The 49 yards on 12 plays were about as good as it got for the offence, but more on that later.

One positive personnel development was the return of Wan’Dale Robinson, and despite him only getting 11 snaps as he continued his comeback, he was targeted five times, making four catches for 21 yards. There was a slight scare as he took a shot to the back of the head on his first catch of the game and looked unstable on his feet, but there seems to have been no negative impact from that.

Defensively, I think the Giants fans may have to tip our hats to Micah McFadden. One week after both myself and the rest of the Giants fandom questioned his execution and skillset, he came out and delivered a solid performance. Constantly during the game, it seemed like his name was being mentioned as he finished the game with ten tackles, four of them for a loss and a quarterback hurry. The only blemish on his night were the three missed tackles.

Another player who had a disappointing showing last week against the Cardinals and elevated his play against the 49ers was D.J. Davidson. There were a lot of raised eyebrows that Davidson was active over Jordon Riley, but he had a solid showing with a pass batted down, a quarterback hit, and a shared sack with Leonard Williams. He also impacted the play that got Kayvon Thibodeaux and the Giants their first sack of the season.

Speaking of Williams, he looked much more powerful than the previous two weeks, picking up four pressures, one hurry, two quarterback hits, the sack, and four tackles, all for a loss. His partner in crime, Sexy Dexy, also had four pressures, all hurries, along with four tackles, three for loss.

Finally, it’s time to give some love to Jamie Gillan. Yes, he’s inconsistent; however, when he’s averaging 52.7 yards per punt and getting improved hangtime, you have to praise a job well done.

The Bad

I want to start with Jones, but it’s difficult because there is so much to factor in, so let’s get that out of the way, and then we can talk about Jones.

Ok, yes, the offensive line gave up fewer sacks and pressures to the 49ers than their previous two opponents, despite missing two starters; however, that was just 52 snaps. That’s 11 fewer than the Steelers had against the 9ers in Week 1 and 28 less than the Rams in Week 2. The Giants pass blocking grade on Thursday was the third worst league-wide since 2020, and a direct result of that was Jones’s average time to pressure, which was 2.2 seconds. That’s worse than it was in Week 1 against Dallas!

Next point, the running game was non-existent, despite Brieda’s 8-yard touchdown run. The Giants ran the ball a total of 29 yards on 11 rushes. That is their second-lowest number of attempts in the Super Bowl era; the lowest was back in 1989. Even Nick Bosa said after the game that he was surprised that the Giants didn’t try more zone reads, though he did say it might be because they prepped for it.

Darren Waller also had a game to forget, as he had three catches on seven targets with two drops, one of which resulted in yet another interception. Jones now has four on the season, three of which have hit his receivers in the gloves.

Right, Jones, should he have maybe done better on the throw to Waller? Probably, but he had two rushers pretty much about to smash him, and as for the aforementioned interception, that’s a freak play that bounces off Waller and then is pinballed into the air.

The problem I do have, though, is that he seems unwilling to take risks. He had Hyatt on one play with only safety coverage and didn’t take the shot. In fact, he only had two passes over 20 yards in the whole game, and only six were farther than 10 yards. As a result, his pass completion percentage of 69 looked nice on paper, but when you dig into it further, it’s a meagre 4.3 yards per attempt.

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The Ugly

Two points here: missed tackles and third downs.

In Thursday’s game, the defence finished the game with 16 missed tackles. That’s right, 16! Three each from McFadden, Tre Hawkins, Jason Pinnock, and Bobby Okereke; two from Xavier McKinney; and one each from Tae Banks and Kayvon Thibodeaux. To put into perspective how bad that is, the Giants had 49 the whole of last season. The Giants were already 28th in the league in missed tackles before this game, and it’s only getting worse.

The 49ers faced 16 third downs Thursday night, and they converted nine of those for a conversion rate of 56.3%. On one drive, the Giants gave up a third and 15, a third and 13, and a touchdown on a third and five. They also had two penalties on third downs, meaning two free conversions. The killer was the screen pass, which meant both Deebo and McCaffrey were converting at will thanks to those previously mentioned missed tackles.

What’s Next

After two weeks on the West Coast, the Giants return to MetLife Stadium on Monday night to face off against the 2-1 Seattle Seahawks.

The two battled it out last season in Week 8, with the Seahawks emerging victorious 27-13 despite the game being close all the way up until midway through the 4th quarter.

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New York Giants: Week Two – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Wow….what a comeback. In what was the ultimate game of two halves the Giants recovered from a 20-0 half time deficit to win 31-28 against the Arizona Cardinals.

The Good

Daniel Jones, despite his slow start, was clinical, carving up the Arizona defence on the first play from scrimmage in the second half, hitting rookie Jalin Hyatt for 58 yards before getting the Giants first touchdown of the season two plays later with a 14-yard scamper.

After that, he was almost flawless, as he became the first QB in history to throw for 250+ yards, rush for 50+, throw multiple touchdowns, rush for a touchdown, and have no turnovers in the second half of a game.

As for Jones’s weapons, there was plenty to appreciate in that second half. Saquon rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown while also having 29 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. Jalin Hyatt was the comeback catalyst in only his second game, as he had the aforementioned 58-yard catch to kick off the half, but he also had an impressive high-point catch for 31 yards later in the game. Waller showed off the skills that got Giants fans excited for his arrival with a six reception, 76-yard showing.

The offensive line also deserves a shoutout, with Bredeson, Glowinski, Ezudu, McKethan, Neal, and Schmitz all contributing to the time Jones was afforded giving up a pressure on 29.5% of his dropbacks, a massive reduction from the 66.7% he was pressured on last week. It was not perfect, with three sacks allowed and some almost drive-stalling penalties, but it was miles ahead of Week 1’s showing.

On the defence, Dexter Lawrence seems to be determined to become a one-man wrecking ball with five total pressures (three hurries and two QB hits). Pinnock, despite missing two tackles, was everywhere again, finishing with 10 tackles, three of them for loss. He did also have an interception chalked off due to defensive pass interference. Tre Hawkins was once again impressive with one tackle, one pass breakup, and zero receptions allowed on two targets.

The Bad

Well, from an offensive perspective, the second half was good, but the first was abysmal. It was a disjointed, sluggish, pass-heavy affair that resulted in five first downs, 81 yards of offence, a horrible interception that saw the ball shoot through Barkley’s hands, and no points on the board. That’s compared to the Josh Dobbs-led Cardinals, who had 16 first downs, 241 yards, and 20 points.

Whereas the offence showed up after the half, the defence took another quarter to look like they cared. Before they were able to shed the shackles, they allowed James Conner to run all over them and made journeyman Josh Dobbs look like Prime MVP season Lamar Jackson.

Shout out to @clt_ny on X for this, but Wink used 12 different DL combinations against Arizona. However, during the 10 snaps with Nacho and DJ Davison on the field, we gave up six rushes for 47 yards and two touchdowns, two passes for 13 yards and a touchdown, a 2-point conversion, and a penalty.

Penalties crept in as well, with Bobby Okereke guilty of two while Xavier McKinney had an inexcusable roughing the passer flagged. After opening with a Matt Prater missed field goal, the Cardinals then scored on their next five drives, four before the half and one after. It was performances like this that condemned the Giants to obtain unwanted records being shown on screen, like being the first team to allow 54 unanswered points to start a season since the 1989 Steelers.

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The Ugly

For the second week in a row, the opposing quarterback was afforded plenty of time, with the Giants pass rush failing to record a sack for the second successive game. With a total of 10 hurries and five quarterback hits, the Giants faltered again and again, but unfortunately, one man under pressure to perform who isn’t is last year’s 6th overall pick, Kayvon Thibodeaux.

According to PFF, he graded 52.4 overall. 49.8 run defence. 51.9 pass rush. 64.7 coverage and failed to record a single tackle despite being on the field for 61 of the 64 snaps the defence had.

Giants legend Carl Banks was quick to defend Thibodeaux, though, pointing out that we don’t know what the coaches are asking him to do, and he does have a point. Looking at the stats, Kayvon dropped back into coverage on 25% of his snaps, which surely isn’t playing to his strengths.

What’s Next

The Giants stay on the west coast this week as a Thursday Night Football showdown against the dominant San Francisco 49ers is up next.

Did you know that since 2012, the two teams have played six times with the teams alternating wins, with the last winners being the 49ers, who triumphed in the 2020 COVID season 36-9 at MetLife Stadium?

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New York Giants: Week One – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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I’d like to say the less said about that game, the better, but that wouldn’t really work when you’re writing an article about it. I guess we might as well get straight into it.

The Good

The game is over? It’s only week one? We can’t be worse this season?

All valid points, but to be fair to some of the players on the field, there are a few that do deserve slight praise.

Micah McFadden continued to tackle hard throughout the game when it looked like others were too shellshocked to get out of their own heads. According to PFF, the sophomore player finished with seven solo tackles, two assisted tackles, and four stops.

Dexter Lawrence had a quieter game than expected but did still finish the game with four pressures (two hurries and two quarterback hits), three solo tackles, one assisted tackle, and three stops. He was also the Giants highest-graded defender in both pass-rushing and run defence.

Rookie wise Tae Banks didn’t allow a reception the two times he was targeted and looked solid until his exit with cramps. Fellow rookie cornerback Tre Hawkins III also had an okay showing despite the contentious pass interference penalty that was called against him, and finally, defensive tackle Jordon Riley looked good in his limited snaps, showing off his power and speed to record a nice tackle for loss.

The Bad

Let’s start with the trio of plays that mentally stunned the Giants players into the catatonic black hole that they never seemed to be able to shake off. Firstly, it was a false start from the normally reliable Andrew Thomas that disrupted the run-heavy opening possession that saw the Giants make it to the red zone. Then rookie centre John Michael Schmitz’s snap shot out of his hand in the torrential rain, causing it to pass Daniel Jones, who recovered it for a nine-yard loss. The trio was then completed as Joshua Ezudu’s inability to choose one of two rushers on the field goal try saw Graham Gano’s kick blocked and returned for the first of many Dallas scores.

One player who definitely never recovered was Daniel Jones, who struggled for the remainder of the game, throwing two interceptions, one of which was a rebound out of Saquon Barkley’s hands into the arms of Dallas cornerback DaRon Bland, who ran it in for the pick six. There is the argument that Jones wasn’t helped by the offensive line, but even when he was finally afforded decent protection, he did nothing of note.

Defensively, it wasn’t much better either, as the Giants pass rush and run defence spluttered through the game. Wink Martindale is known for his affinity for exotic blitzes and schemes, but the Giants defence was unable to record a sack against the Cowboys for the third game in a row. This is despite the Giants attempts to get more depth at the defensive tackle position and having both Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari injury-free.

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The Ugly

Giants fans everywhere were fed positive noise prior to the offseason as Evan Neal was shown in private coaching sessions with former Bengal Willie Anderson; however, it doesn’t seem to have fixed anything as he and fellow right-sided offensive lineman Mark Glowinski, who got a 1.0 PFF pass blocking grade, were constantly guilty of poor footwork and blocking technique.

To put it simply, it was an all-you-can eat buffet for the Cowboys defensive front, as they generated four of the five sacks, two of the three quarterback hits, and 11 of the 19 hurries via that right side alone.

What’s Next

Up next for the Giants is a trip to the West Coast to face the Joshua Dobbs-led Arizona Cardinals, who lost a narrow game to the Giants divisional rivals, the Washington Commanders.

Dobbs, who struggled against the Commanders, threw for 132 yards, was sacked three times, and had a couple of fumbles.

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Five Things: The New York Giants Offseason 2023

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The 2023 season is now a month old, and, in that time, there have been plenty of comings, re-signings and goings. Now with the NFL draft quickly approaching us, it’s time to look at the five things that have stood out.

Danny Dollar Dollar

3:56 pm EST on the 4th of March.

With four minutes to go until the franchise tag deadline and after three and a half weeks of painstaking negotiations, the Giants finally ended up agreeing with Daniel Jones’s new agents on a new $160 million, four-year contract based on a picky swear and a hug.

The initial reaction to the contract itself was intriguing, as it was easy to argue that both sides (Athletes First and the Giants) had come away with big wins. Athletes First were able to secure a guaranteed $84 million in the first two years, getting Jones his $40 million plus AAV, but the contract shifts in year three as it dips to an AAV of $37.5 million with none of it guaranteed unless Jones is on the roster on the fifth day of the 2025 league year.

Looking forward, getting the deal over the line prior to the deadline allowed the Giants to not only bring back Saquon Barkley, as he was given the franchise tag at a more palatable number of $10.09 million than Jones’s franchise tag hit of $32 million, but overall, it gave the Giants front office much more flexibility in the free agency market without having to panic negotiate to free up cap space.

Big Splashes

Speaking of free agency, it didn’t take long for Joe Schoen to start looking at upgrading some of the Giants’ Achilles heels from last year, and without the shackles of last year’s Gettleman-caused cap restrictions, he was able to cast his net wider.

His first big splash was to sign ex-Indianapolis Colt linebacker Bobby Okereke to a four-year, $40 million deal, with $22 million of that guaranteed. The 27-year-old Okereke had 16 starts in 2022, recording a career-high 151 total tackles, two forced fumbles, and a 79.3 PFF rating as a run defender.

The second big free agent signing came two days later as another ex-Colt made the switch to East Rutherford in wide receiver Parris Campbell, who has just come off his best season as a pro. Campbell, who had struggled with injuries in his first few years in the league, played 17 games last year, recording 623 yards on 63 receptions. His contract with the Giants is a 1-year, $3-million deal with up to $1.7 million in per-game roster bonuses.

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Shock Trade

Sandwiched between the two deals above was arguably the most shocking and potentially best value move the Giants have made so far this offseason.

With most of the insiders suggesting that a standout wide receiver should be the Giants’ number one priority, they ended up trading for Darren Waller from the Las Vegas Raiders, who arguably on his day can give you that number one target in the same way the Kansas City Chiefs use Travis Kelce. Ironically, the cost to acquire Waller was the third-round pick (number 100 overall) that the Giants received as part of the Kadarius Toney trade to the Chiefs.

The 6-foot, 6-inch, 255-pound veteran has 298 receptions for 3,572 yards and 19 touchdowns in his career so far, and despite only appearing in nine games last season, he still managed nine 20-plus yard catches, which was only bested by Darius Slayton on the Giants roster.

The contract the Giants inherited had no dead money hits after 2023; however, after restructuring his deal to free up cap room, there are now hits if he were to be released after either of the 2023 or 2024 seasons.

Focusing on Depth and Familiarity

After a season spent either signing the best players they could to vet-minimum deals or having to resort to either practise squad poaching or street signings, Schoen and his team were able to focus on finding better depth pieces as well as keeping the better performers from last year.

There was a spate of re-signings prior to the start of free agency, with exclusive rights free agents Lawrence Cager (TE), Wyatt Davis (G), Jack Anderson (G), and surprise 2022 standout Isaiah Hodgins (WR) all signing new deals. They were then rejoined by Casey Kreiter (LS), Jamie Gillan (PT), Sterling Shepard (WR), Matt Brieda (RB), Jihad Ward (DE), and Darius Slayton (WR).

On the new signing front, the Giants have added Jeff Smith (WR), Rakeem Nunes-Roches (DT), Leonard Johnson (CB), Bobby McCain (S), Jamison Crowder (WR), Amani Oruwariye (CB), Tommy Sweeney (TE), and J.C. Hassenauer (C).


As is the norm with free agency, there are inevitably going to be players who move on, either by signing with another team or being released/cut.

The one that will likely affect the Giants the most will be losing one of last season’s defensive captains and the man who led all Giants players in tackles, Julian Love. Love, who will be suiting up for the Seattle Seahawks next season was drafted by the Giants back in 2019, became a bit of a Swiss army knife during his time in blue and even took up calling the defensive plays when fellow safety Xavier McKinney was injured last year.

Other than Love, the G-Men have seen former center/guard Nick Gates, who recovered from his horrific leg injury to play last season, sign a contract with divisional rivals the Washington Commanders; Jon Feliciano, who is the Giants only other recognised centre left for the San Francisco 49ers after most expected his re-signing to be a matter of time; and wide receiver/special teamer Richie James Jr. move on to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs.

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Five Things: Super Wildcard Weekend – New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings

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You like that!? The New York Giants showed they aren’t in the postseason just to make up the numbers with an exhilarating 31-24 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. Here are five things that stood out:

Danny Dollars

Daniel Jones was predicted to fail by analysts from the moment he was drafted in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. To be fair, his first few years would be difficult as a revolving door of head coaches and offensive coordinators struggled to utilize Jones and the inevitable questions arose. Would Jones ever be good enough to be a franchise quarterback? Can he stay healthy? When will he learn to protect the football?

Not only did he answer those questions emphatically this season by playing accurate, turnover-free football, but he’s also shown his leadership and reliability as he’s become more comfortable with the coaching staff. This was clear on Sunday as Jones put the Giants’ offence on his back, displaying a methodical passing and rushing attack as he orchestrated five scoring drives, all of which were over 75 yards.

Oh, and who is the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 70 yards in the playoffs? You guessed it, Daniel Jones.

The Secondary vs Jefferson

After decimating the Adoree Jackson and Xavier McKinney-less Giants secondary in Week 16, many expected Justin Jefferson to be the potential deciding factor once again. However, the Wink Martindale-led defence had constructed a game plan to stifle the superstar receiver, and outside of the first drive, they executed it to almost perfection.

With the Giants adapting their usual blitz-heavy attack for a more conservative one featuring more zone coverage, Jefferson was able to gain 30 yards on four catches on the opening possession, but he would only catch three more passes for a further 17 yards, with his longest catch of the night being only 10 yards. Obviously, focusing so intently on one player runs the risk of opening up opportunities for other players, and as is par for the course with this Giants team, this meant tight end TJ Hockenson was able to bring in 10 catches for 129 yards, but in the end, the defence stood strong and was able to close the game out.

Outstanding Offense

As alluded to in the previous section, the Giants’ offence possessed the ball seven times (nine if you count the kneel-downs at the end of each half) and was able to score five times. Though Jones was the main driving force, he still needed his supporting cast to match his hunger, which they did.

Outside of the seven pressures that rookie Evan Neal allowed, the offensive line mostly stood strong, allowing Jones ample time to pick his passes while also opening running lanes for both the quarterback and running backs.

Barkley scored two touchdowns and rushed for 53 yards despite only carrying the ball a season-low tying nine times while adding 56 receiving yards on five receptions. Isaiah Hodgins had a team season-high 105 receiving yards and a touchdown on 8 targets, Daniel Bellinger caught both of the passes thrown his way, finishing with 17 yards and a touchdown, and Darius Slayton, despite his almost costly drop on the Giants’ last meaningful offensive possession, still had four catches for 88 yards.

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Vikings Final Drive

Slayton’s ill-timed drop forced the Giants to punt back to the Vikings, and it almost felt inevitable that Kirk Cousins would drive up the field to tie the game 31-31 and force the game into overtime, but this isn’t the same Giants team of the past few seasons.

After an awful roughing the passer call on the outstanding Dexter Lawrence saved the Vikings from a likely intentional grounding call. The clearly frustrated Giants’ defence was caught out for a 13-yard Hockenson catch that saw the Vikings near midfield, but after an incomplete pass and a minimal gain run, the Vikings had two key downs to save their season, but ultimately it was the Giants’ defence that stepped up.

Firstly, the third down saw an outstanding bit of pass defence from rookie Cordale Flott, who prevented K.J. Osbourne from completing a catch. Then, on fourth down, the coverage from the Giants and pressure from Dexter Lawrence forced Cousins to throw to Hockenson, who was wrapped up by McKinney way short of the first down to extend the Giants’ postseason.

Destination: Philadelphia

Next up for the Giants is a trip back to Philadelphia for their third meeting of the season with their hated divisional rivals, the Eagles.

After being blown away in the first matchup between the two sides in Week 14, the second meeting just over a week ago was a much tighter affair despite the Giants resting all their key starters. With the Eagles coming off a bye week courtesy of their number one seeding in the playoffs, they will have had the added benefit of a week’s rest, but if quarterback Jalen Hurts is still not 100%, the game could swing either way.

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Five Things: Week 18 – New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

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In what was tipped to be a rebuilding season, the Giants exceeded all expectations and will next head into the playoffs. Before that, though, we had the small task of taking on the Eagles, who had everything to play for. Here are five things that stood out:

Well Deserved

Was this the most entertaining loss to the Eagles ever? With the Giants firmly secured in the No. 6 spot in the playoffs, it made little sense to risk any of the starters, regardless of the fact that this was a divisional game. Due to the risks afforded to starting backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, it was decided that Davis Webb would be front and under center.

Webb, who first joined the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2017, re-joined the team as a third-string quarterback this offseason and was finally rewarded for his hard work and dedication to the league.

Admittedly, the first half didn’t go according to plan, with some ugly sequences, including the fake punt and reverse to Cager. The second half, on the other hand, was much better, with Webb scoring a rushing touchdown by running through the Eagles’ Reed Blankenship while also doing something Daniel Jones hasn’t done this year: passing a touchdown to Kenny Golladay.

The 75 Million Dollar Man

We might as well carry on where we left off with the last point and talk about Kenny Golladay. It’s no secret that his decline from reliable contested ball catcher to benchwarmer has been one of the few sour points this season, and due to a combination of a huge cap hit and lack of production, it’s very likely he will be let go in the offseason.

Golladay’s stats for the season prior to Sunday’s matchup were 198 snaps, 10 targets, four receptions, 51 yards, and no touchdowns, not exactly wide receiver one material. Let’s not beat around the bush Sunday’s game wasn’t exactly a breakout performance with a measly two catches on seven targets for 30 yards and a touchdown, but the touchdown itself was a look at what might have been. It’s likely this will be his one and only Giants touchdown, with the catch happening on the last offensive snap of the game and it being unlikely that his performance has threatened the trio of Slayton, James, and Hodgins.

Evan Neal’s Tough Season

It’s been a baptism of fire for the young rookie, and the season itself has likely been full of just as many high points as low points for him. With most of the starters being rested, that wasn’t the case for Neal, who played the entirety of the first half before being replaced by Matt Peart. Despite his limited action, it was unfortunately another rough outing as both Haason Reddick and Brandon Graham were able to get pressure on Davis Webb.

Neal, who missed four games due to an MCL sprain, finished the regular season with 738 snaps across 13 games. 453 of these snaps were in pass-blocking sets, with Neal giving up 22 hurries, 10 quarterback hits, and 7 sacks; that’s a total pressure rate of 8.6%, the highest among rookie tackles (minimum 400 snaps). Bear in mind, however, that we had similar issues with Andrew Thomas, who had a pressure rate of 9.3 in his rookie year, which was the worst in his draft class. Hopefully, Neal follows a similar trajectory.

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Defensive Backups

Despite the 22-16 loss, there were plenty of plus points for the Giants’ defense, which contained the Eagles starters for most of the game, only giving up one touchdown and constantly forcing Philadelphia to settle for field goals. Here are a few defenders that stood out:

  • Tomon Fox: Despite his stat sheet only showing four tackles (one for a loss) and three hurries, the undrafted free agent was a constant thorn in Jalen Hurts’ side.
  • Micah McFadden: Impressive throughout the game and finished with seven tackles (one for a loss) and one sack.
  • Dane Belton: A solid showing from the rookie safety, as he finished with six tackles, one pass breakup, and an end zone interception.
  • Jarrad Davis: The veteran made his Giants debut and shone with 10 tackles (one for a loss), 1 quarterback hit, and a half-sack.
  • Nick McCloud: The cornerback was one of a few recent starters that played, but instead he shone in the pass rush this week with five tackles (one for a loss), two quarterback hits, and one and a half sacks.

Minnesota It Is

For the second time this season, the Giants will travel to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Vikings on Wildcard Weekend. The first game between the teams back in Week 16 was a tight affair that was decided by a franchise-record 61-yard field goal by Greg Joseph, but there is more riding on this game than just revenge.

The Giants have slowly been getting their injured players back, and after resting most of their starters against the Eagles, they should have not only a well-rested team but a strong one as both Xavier McKinney and Adoree Jackson, who missed the previous meeting, should be back. Adoree’s return will be especially critical as he will follow the regular season leader in both receiving yards and receptions, Justin Jefferson, who torched the Giants secondary for 133 yards in Week 16.

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Five Things: Week 17 – Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants

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The New York Football Giants are in the playoffs! The G-Men dominated the Colts from the get-go and punched their ticket to the playoffs with a convincing 38-10 victory. Here are five things that stood out:

The Curse Has Been Broken

Prior to the Giants’ last playoff game in January 2017 against the Green Bay Packers, the now-infamous boat picture featuring the teams’ wide receivers was released. Since then, it’s felt like a curse has followed this team, but after five straight losing seasons, three head coaches, and some of the most downright uninspiring football many Giants fans have seen, the curse is over.

This wasn’t the only hoodoo to be broken on Sunday, however, as the Giants also put the nail in the coffin on two other scoring stats: the first is that the Giants finally scored over 30 points after failing to do so since an October 2020 loss against Dallas (that’s 43 games ago), and the second is that this is the first time we’ve scored more than 30 points at home since a 36-20 win over the Miami Dolphins in 2019.

So, with a raucous crowd behind them, the Brian Daboll-led Giants broke the curse and secured the sixth seed in the playoffs. They now have the option of resting their starters in the game next week against the current number-one seed Philadelphia Eagles, who ironically do not have the luxury as their defeat to the New Orleans Saints has opened the door for both San Francisco and Dallas to beat them to the punch.

Franchise Quarterback

At the beginning of the season, when it was revealed that the Giants wouldn’t be taking up the fifth-year option in Daniel Jones’s contract, many thought the writing was on the wall for the Duke product, and most of the chatter in the offseason focused on how many weeks Jones would get before Tyrod Taylor would lead the team for the rest of the year. How wrong we all were, and for that, Daniel, we are sorry.

Jones was already posting career numbers prior to the game against the Colts, but his performance in this game was a defining moment for him, with chants of “MVP” ringing around the stadium after he ran in for his second rushing touchdown and a fourth total touchdown. Finishing the game with 177 passing yards, two touchdowns (one to Richie James Jr. and one to Isaiah Hodgins), 91 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, and a passer rating of 125.2 Jones received a standing ovation from all four corners of the stadium when he was removed from the game on the Giants’ final drive.

The Defensive Front

Although the defence only had two sacks against the Colts, it was yet another stellar performance from the Giants’ defensive line as they finished the game with four quarterback hits, three tackles for loss, and one pass defended. This is despite the fact that for a majority of the game they only had two of their fearsome starting front four as Leonard Williams was limited to 29 of the snaps due to a stinger and Azeez Ojulari, who is recovering from last week’s ankle injury, only had six.

Both of the sacks were phenomenal plays, but they will be remembered for very different reasons. Kayvon Thibodeaux was unblocked as he ploughed through Nick Foles, unfortunately injuring the quarterback. A lot of ire has been cast at the young pass rusher as he started to do snow angels next to the injured Foles. It’s my belief that Kayvon had no idea that Foles was badly hurt, and this was backed up by his post-match comments. Dexter Lawrence’s sack, however, will be remembered for how he abused Quenton Nelson, the highest-paid guard in the league, and used him as a weapon to sack Sam Ehlinger in the third quarter.

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Landon Turns Back Time

It’s been a tough few years for Landon Collins. After being drafted by the Giants in 2015, Collins would be named to the all-rookie team, a first-team all-pro in 2016, and a pro bowler for three straight years between 2016 and 2018. The Giants, however, would let him go as an unrestricted free agent after 2018, and after three injury-ridden years in Washington derailed his promising start, he started this season without a team. Collins rejoined the Giants in October, albeit on the practise squad, and was promoted to the active roster on December 22nd.

On Sunday, with the Giants up 14-3 late in the 2nd quarter and the Colts driving near midfield, Collins cut in front of a Nick Foles pass intended for Parris Campbell and returned it to the house for the Giants’ first pick-six of the season. Collins, whose last pick-six was back in 2016 against the then-St. Louis Rams in London, is still only 28 and could be a valuable veteran presence for the Giants for both the rest of the season and beyond.

Coaching Excellence

As mentioned earlier in this article, the Giants have fired three head coaches since their last appearance in the postseason, and during that time, we’ve also gone through four offensive coordinators, three defensive coordinators, and two general managers. The difference now, though, is that we finally have a complete coaching and back-office setup that seems set up for the future, and once we shake off the cap shackles brought on by the Dave Gettleman era, this Giants team could return to the days of competing for the NFC East division every year.

As far as the present goes, we can look forward to a playoff berth that we can be proud of regardless of the outcome, and despite us having a young roster, many of whom have never experienced the playoffs before, we have a coaching staff that has been moulded by them. Brian Daboll was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator for much of their AFC dominance, as well as the Bills’ offensive coordinator in recent years. Wink Martindale coached in four playoff games while in Baltimore, allowing only 20 points per game, and Mike Kafka was the QB coach at Kansas for the past few years, including their Super Bowl victory in 2020.

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Five Things: Week 16 – Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants

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The Giants went toe-to-toe with the Vikings this week before Greg Joseph sealed the 27-24 Minnesota victory, putting an end to Giants fans’ hopes of clinching a playoff berth with two games remaining. Here are five things that stood out:

One-Score Game…Again

Prior to Sunday’s matchup, both the Vikings (10) and the Giants (8) had combined for a total of 18 wins by one score, so it was written in the stars that this week’s encounter would end in the same way. By virtue of Greg Joseph’s 61-yard field goal, the Vikings now have 11 wins, the most one-possession wins in NFL history, only a week after they claimed the biggest comeback win record.

Admittedly, being in close games is something that has benefited the Giants this season, with our record in such games now 8-3-1, but with the personnel that we currently have on the roster, it’s not a sustainable model for success. The Giants have only been in three games that were not decided by a single score: losses to Seattle, Detroit, and Philadelphia.

Even more concerning is the fact the Giants haven’t scored more than 30 points this season and haven’t been over 25 since their trip to London. The last game in which the Giants scored more than 30 and won was a 41-35 overtime win against the then-Washington Redskins in December 2019.

Good But Not Quite Enough

The most frustrating part of the loss to the Vikings was that for most of the game, the Giants not only proved that they were deserving of their record but that, for the most part, they were an equal competitor. The stat line after the game showed that the Giants not only outgained their opponents, 445-353, but they also matched their first down total of 23 as well. The issue was a series of miscues that likely prevented the Giants from walking away with the win.

The Giants lost the turnover battle 2-0, with the usually reliable rookie Daniel Bellinger losing a fumble late in the first quarter and Daniel Jones throwing an interception to Patrick Peterson early in the fourth. There was also a blocked punt that set up the Vikings deep in the Giants’ territory, a series of penalties on both sides of the ball, and two drops in the fourth quarter by Richie James, one of which killed a drive and forced the Giants to settle for a field goal.

The State of the Receivers

It’s no secret that the Giants’ wide receiver group has struggled this year. Kenny Golladay, who accounts for 10% of the Giants’ total salary cap, is currently sitting at 51 yards for the season, while Isaiah Hodgins, who is our third-lowest-paid player, has 350 despite playing one less game. Astoundingly, yesterday’s starting trio of Darius Slayton, Richie James Jr., and the aforementioned Hodgins account for a combined 2.5 million dollars, which is less than Jahan Dotson’s or Chris Olave’s rookie contracts.

Despite this, the three managed to combine for 258 yards on 26 targets, easily the best performance from the Giants’ starting wide receivers this season. Hodgins, who was previously on the Bills practise squad, was outstanding once again, finishing the game with another touchdown and likely the highlight moment for the offence with his full-stretch catch. Slayton made the most of his limited targets, converting one short pass for 32 yards and setting up Saquon Barkley’s late touchdown, and James, despite his drops, still finished with a team-leading 90 yards on eight catches.

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Improving Defensive Line

As part of a continuing trend, the Giants’ defensive front was able to generate almost consistent pressure on Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins thanks to defensive coordinator Wink Martindale’s blitz schemes. Obviously, this can prove to be a double-edged sword, which the Vikings were able to take advantage of late in the game, but with the Giants’ defensive backfield as weak as it is, it’s a risk worth taking.

This week, the Giants’ defenders were able to spread the load as Leonard Williams, Azeez Ojulari, Oshane Ximines, Jaylon Smith, and Landon Collins all recorded sacks. However, one huge contributor to this recent resurgence has been the return of Azeez Ojulari. Since his return in Week 13, the Giants’ sack average has gone from 1.9 sacks per game to a phenomenal 4.75 sacks per game. Ojulari’s individual stat line during this time? 16 pressures, 7 hurries, 4 quarterback hits, and five sacks.

Just One More Win

The biggest silver lining here, though, was that despite the loss, the Giants’ playoff hopes are no worse off than they were prior to the game. With the Seattle Seahawks losing to Kansas City, the Lions losing to the Panthers, and the 49ers beating the Commanders, none of the Giants’ closest rivals gained any ground.

Due to this, the clinching scenario for the Giants this coming week against the Colts is simple, win and you’re in. Otherwise it’s a case of scoreboard watching and hoping that the following happens:

Seattle loss + Washington loss or

Seattle loss + Detroit loss + Green Bay loss or tie or

Washington loss + Detroit loss + Green Bay loss

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Five Things: Week 15 – New York Giants at Washington Commanders

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It’s back to winning ways for the first time in five weeks for the Giants as they defeat the Washington Commanders 20-12, helped by a monster performance from Kayvon Thibodeaux. Here are five things that stood out. 

Primetime Likes Me  

In the lead-up to Sunday’s critical game, Kayvon Thibodeaux was asked about his first game under the spotlight of Sunday Night Football, and his reply? “Prime time likes me. Y’all can use that one.” By the time the game had finished, it was fair to say that Kayvon had proven exactly what he meant. 

The newly crowned NFC Defensive Player of the Week dominated the game from the get-go with three huge tackles on the Commanders first drive, but the defining moment for the young rookie came during Washington’s third drive in a play scarily similar to one from overtime two weeks ago. 

With Washington backed up on their own 10-yard line thanks to a penalty, Heinicke took the snap, and before he had a chance to set himself, Thibodeaux blew past offensive lineman Charles Leno Jr., swiped the ball out of Heinicke’s hands, followed the fumble across the goal line, scooped it up, and took it in for not only the Giants’ first defensive score this season but Thibodeaux’s first since he had one as a tight end in high school. 

His final stat line for the day? 12 tackles (9 solo), 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 fumble, 1 fumble recovery, and 1 touchdown.  

The 97-Yard Drive  

With the momentum changing after Thibodeaux’s touchdown, there was hope that it would invigorate the offense; however, after the Washington punt was downed on the 3-yard line, most would have expected a quick three and out. That’s not what happened, as Daniel Jones led potentially the best drive of the season so far and the Giants’ longest in eight seasons. 

This was not a high-octane sprint down the field; it was more like a methodical march, with the Giants carving out an 18-play drive that took over eight and a half minutes off the clock with a short pass-heavy attack that included a clutch 4th down conversion to Richie James and culminated in a 3-yard touchdown run with Saquon Barkley lined up in the wildcat. 

It is only fair that Mike Kafka should get some credit for this drive. Kafka, who has made questionable decisions at times, has overall had a successful first season as a play-caller. This is evidenced by the improvement in red-zone touchdown conversion as the Giants have moved from 32nd last year (44.74 percent) to an impressive 8th this year (63.5 percent). 

Spin Move Barkley  

It’s no secret that since his 152-yard showing against the Houston Texans, Barkley just hasn’t been able to get a lot going on the ground, and his stellar rushing season has stuttered. From the season opener to week 10, his average rushing yards per game was 103.4, which has dropped to a measly 38 in the last four weeks, and as such, questions about his durability have begun to be raised again. 

Barkley did little to dispel those rumours in the first three quarters of Sunday’s game, as he was unable to show off his previous explosiveness, rushing 12 times for 39 yards and showing no sign of the shifty cuts he has become known for, aside from one instance during the Giants touchdown drive. In the fourth quarter, though, something switched, and Barkley started not only breaking off some chunk runs but pulling out a trio of Madden-esque spin moves that the Commanders defence could not seem to handle. This invigorated Barkley is what we need as we enter crunch time, and the fire seems to have been lit. 

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The Ending  

It would not be a Giants game without a bit of drama, though, would it? As has been customary for the Giants faithful, we found ourselves in yet another tight game entering the final two minutes and with the score at 20-12 as Washington started what would be their final drive. 

Frustratingly, the Giants seemed to crumble at the worst time, as within three plays (including the kick-off return), Washington was already in the red zone after two plays. As nightmares of another 20-20 game going into overtime started to creep into existence, cornerback Nick McCloud had an excellent opportunity to ice the game but dropped the interception, giving Washington another chance. 

With the hearts of Giants fans firmly in their mouths, Heinicke almost turned into the heartbreaker with a run towards the end zone that looked destined to be converted before the monstrous Thibodeaux crushed him at the 1-yard line. A one-yard touchdown by Brian Robinson was then negated by an illegal formation penalty on Terry McLaurin. Another incomplete pass followed before a controversial non-call on the game-sealing pass breakup by Darnay Holmes that, on reflection, the Giants were lucky to get away with. 

The Unsung Heroes 

With so many big talking points in the game, it’s tough to highlight some of the players that shone in this game, so here are a handful of my unsung heroes: 

  • Landon Collins: Called up from the practise squad for what was billed as a revenge game, made a number of key third-down stops. 
  • Jason Pinnock: In his best game of the season, had a quarterback hit, five total tackles, and forced a fumble. 
  • Richie James: Came up big with a couple of key catches on the 97-yard touchdown drive, including two key first-down catches. 
  • Ben Bredeson: Playing in his first game since October, instantly made the offensive line better while also making a key block on the Barkley touchdown run. 
  • Dexter Lawrence, Azzez Ojulari, and Ryder Anderson: All three got themselves a sack of Heinicke during the game, while Lawrence also forced a fumble that was recovered by Leonard Williams. 
  • Graham Gano: Two 50-yard field goals in the second half, both of which kept us ahead by eight points.