New York Giants: What? When? How? Breaking Down the First 13 Weeks of The Season and Looking Ahead
Photo credit: Joe Nicholson USA Today Sports
To most, it was expected that the Giants season was going to be yet another one to forget, and it certainly started that way. The G-Men would lose the opening week matchup with the now 11-1 Pittsburgh Steelers. If losing isn’t hard enough already, the Giants would lose four consecutive games, on top of losing star running back Saquon Barkley in Week Two to an ACL injury, bringing their record to 0-5 on the season. I think it’s safe to say, a majority of Giants fans alike were in full blown tank mode at this point, not specifically for Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but for at least a top three draft choice.
The Big Blue would get a small taste of victory, as in Week Six, they would secure their first win of the season against the Washington Football Team, who to this point, sported a 1-5 record, with their only win coming against NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles in Week One. The Giants would drop two straight games after this, being defeated by both the Eagles and the Buccaneers.
In a depleted NFC East, where no team is above .500, upcoming matchups with Washington and the Eagles in back-to-back weeks was crucial if the Giants wanted to have any playoff hopes for this season, and they got the job done.
They would win two very important games headed into the bye week. Now sitting at 3-7, and (somehow) still in the race to win the NFC East, it was time for the Giants to do seemingly what they have done best for quite some time now.
Prove everyone wrong.
The Giants arguably have one the harder schedules coming off the bye week. Seeing the Cincinnati Bengals first overall pick from 2020 Joe Burrow have his season ended from an ACL/MCL injury, although seeing another player injured is never good, can definitely contribute to the fact that the Giants would pick up their third consecutive victory.
But now a real test was coming. The 8-3 Seattle Seahawks. This was far and away the best team the Giants had played to this point (I’m not counting the Steelers based off the fact that it was Week One), it would really show what the Giants were all about. Not having Barkley, and now quarterback Daniel Jones for this matchup, the odds were heavily stacked against the Giants (as if they weren’t already).
Sure enough, the Giants got the job done in a 17-12 victory. While also improving their record to 5-7, they would take sole possession of first place in the NFC East. That is until the Washington Football Team majorly upset the Steelers the next night on Monday night football, also improving to 5-7, right on the Giants tails for the top spot in the NFC East.
With all that said, the question is: What has Joe Judge done to wake up this football team?
When Judge was introduced as the next Head Coach earlier this year, he made it a point to let everyone know they would be a hard-nosed, in your face football team the didn’t hand out victories to teams. For the most part, had the Giants still not won a game to this point, he wouldn’t have been totally wrong in what he said.The Giants only lost by more than a touchdown three times this season, one being the opening week matchup with Pittsburgh, 26-16, Week Two with the Rams, 17-9, and Week Three versus the San Francisco 49ers, 36-9. On the flipside, The Giants aren’t winning by a ton either, with their largest win being a ten point victory over the Eagles in Week 10. The defense has clearly been the driving force of the team success, ranked 10th in overall defense in the NFL, thanks to the help of players like Leonard Williams, Logan Ryan and James Bradberry leading the way. The offense however is still a questionable spot for the Giants. Not having Saquon, Jones being questionable going into the Cardinals game this weekend do not help the teams case at all. Lacking receiving (looking at you Evan Engram), not having a very strong offensive line which, I will say has improved in the last two weeks, but still has work to do, all all factors in the lack of offensive production. They do not have a true number one receiver. With that being said, the criticism that Daniel Jones receives, and the offensive tools he has at the moment, is not fair to him in the slightest.
The road ahead isn’t an easy one for the Giants, as there schedule looks like the following:
Week 14 - Arizona Cardinals
Week 15 - Cleveland Browns
Week 16 - Baltimore Ravens
Week 17 - Dallas Cowboys
The Cardinals are a solid 6-6 team. It's a game that really can go either way but one the Giants can easily win. The Browns will be a
tough one for the Giants (I can’t believe I just said that, 2020 is weird). Even without Odell Beckham Jr, the Browns are making some noise in the NFL. The Ravens will be without question the toughest matchup for the remainder of the season. With reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and his pocket full of weapons all over the field, on top of his lightning quick speed, this is the one game I would be the most uneasy about looking into the future. To close out the year the Giants will look at NFC East rival Dallas Cowboys. Depending on how standings may pan out, a Week 17 win, or loss, can make or break their season, all within 60 minutes. Dallas being down their starting quarterback in Dak Prescott for the rest of this season, most of the next, the Cowboys don’t have a ton to work with offensively either, outside of running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Regardless of the outcome of this season, the remaining four games will be very, very fun to watch.