Believe it or not, there is… at least on paper. At 2-4, the New York Giants are only 1 game out of first place in a fairly dismal NFC East. This is where the optimism ends and reality set in. Although the GMEN are very much in the race in the NFC East, anyone who has watched the NFL this season realizes that there is a great divide between elite teams and pretenders. This Giants team falls into this latter category.
Early losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills were forgotten after the Giants inserted Daniel Jones into the role of starting quarterback. He proceeded to orchestrate an exciting tug-of-war win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a convincing win over the Washington Redskins. The legend of “Danny Dimes” was alive and well. Optimism ran rampant that they had found the steal of the draft; Giant fans began to think that perhaps anything was possible. That was until the Minnesota Vikings entered their building in East Rutherford.
The Vikings defense battered the GMEN, sacking Daniel Jones 4 times and hitting him countless other times. Welcome to the NFL, lad! The Vikings were far more physical than the Giants and won the game 28-10 (it could have been worse). The Vikings had 490 yards on offense including 211 yards on the ground. Whatever was accomplished in the Giants two previous victories appeared to be gone.
Next up was the New England Patriots who highlighted the Giants deficiencies even more in their 35-14 victory. The Patriots forced 4 turnovers and dominated the GMEN as the game went on. The legend of “Danny Dimes” took a hit again with a 3 interception game. It didn’t help matters that they were playing against the best defense in the NFL.
Still, there were moments early in the game that reminded us of the magic that occurs when the Giants play the Patriots. When Lorenzo Carter (where has he been?) sacked and stripped the ball from Tom Brady only to be picked up and ran into the end zone by Marcus Golden for a Giants touchdown, flashback memories of Strahan, Tuck and Umenyoura came into the minds of Giants fans everywhere. At least for a little while.
Tom Brady did not have a good first half but did enough to keep the Patriots ahead at the half, 21-14. The second half was another story. Belichek’s defense made their necessary adjustments and dominated the GMEN exposing their injuries to their RB’s and WR’s. When Jon Hilliman fumbled the ball late in the game which was recovered by Kyle Van Noy and returned for a touchdown, the Giants were down 28-14 and the game was officially over.
The Giants were severely outmatched in this game both on offense and defense; that much was clear. With injuries to several offensive players including running backs and wide receivers, and injuries to their defense at the linebacker position, the outcome of this game was a surprise to nobody. Was it too much to count on David Mayo to have another 9 tackle performance as he did against the Minnesota Vikings? (He actually had 13 tackles in this game).
Who, by the way, is David Mayo? David Mayo is the next man up or an undrafted free agent, the Giants answer to a depleted linebacking corps. The Giants all but neglected the linebacker position relying on often injured Alec Ogletree and BJ Goodson who, by the way was beaten out of a starting job by rookie Ryan Connolly. Connolly, after playing well the first few games of the season went down with a torn ACL in week 3. Thus, the Giants had no choice but to turn to free agency using the likes of David Mayo. Mayo actually had 13 tackles in the Patriots game and has to be credited for being around the ball often.
Linebacker was not the only position that the Giants failed to backup adequately going into the 2019 season. Against the Patriots, the Giants suited up the feared duo of Jon Hilliman and Elijah Perry at Running Back. The result of this decision; 16 carries for 52 yards. Hilliman’s late game fumble was likely the reason he was cut promptly after the game to be replaced by veteran running back Buck Allen, a castoff from the Baltimore Ravens. The Giants better hope to have Saquon Barkley back in week 7 if they are to have any chance in a wide- open NFC East race.
So where do we stand at 2-4 after losing the last two games? IN THE THICK OF IT IN THE NFC EAST!
Best case scenario:
Looking at the Giants remaining schedule, I believe they can defeat the following teams: Arizona Cardinals, New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins
This would give the GMEN 6 wins. Throw in a few possible win games against inconsistent but talented teams such as the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears and the GMEN are 8-8. Not good enough to get into the playoffs. This, my friends is the best we can hope for I believe.
The Giants will not go further than this until they can beat the more physical teams including Dallas, Philadelphia, Green Bay and others. Winning the game on both sides of the ball is what is required, even if the magic of Danny Dimes returns anytime soon.
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