Giant Takeaways: Giants Slide Continues in Snowy Loss to Packers
The losing streak has now hit eight games. If the weather were to encapsulate New York Giants football in 2019, the snow and freezing rain at MetLife Stadium accomplished that. Despite starting strong, the wheels of the Giants’ machine fell off, as they drop 31-13 to the Green Bay Packers.
After Aaron Rodgers’ touchdown pass to the Davante Adams in the first quarter, rookie Daniel Jones answered with an 11-play drive, culminating in a beautiful touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard. Following that score, the Giants season-long struggles have reared it’s ugly head. Turnovers and shoddy defense.
Now 2-10 and officially out of playoff contention (which was never happening, even in the terrible NFC East), here are some takeaways from the Giants’ latest stinker.
Defense, or Lack Thereof
The Giants defense played the role of Rodgers’ punching bag on Sunday afternoon, as they have to opposing quarterbacks all season.
First off, New York’s pass rush was non-existent, as they were unable to post a sack on the former NFL MVP all game. That’s hard to do when James Bettcher’s defensive front was unable to place any pressure on the offensive line. Rodgers had all the time in the world inside the pocket, waiting for his receivers to breakaway for an opening deep downfield.
The main example being Allen Lazard’s 37-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter, where he fooled safety Antoine Bethea out of his cleats and was wide open just outside the end zone.
Speaking of the secondary, the lone bright spot in the backfield was rookie safety Julian Love, who came up with big tackles and a forced fumble.
Yet, Rodgers found the weak links in the secondary and capitalized. DeAndre Baker continued to struggle in his assignments, most notably allowing a touchdown to tight end Marcedes Lewis. To make matters worse, Rodgers telegraphed the play to the Giants defense, and they still couldn’t pick up on it. Corner Grant Haley was targeted for the better part of an entire series late in the game.
The lack of production on the defense stems from general manager’s Dave Gettleman’s roster building abilities, and Bettcher’s inability to get the most out of his squad. Best believe there will be some huge changes coming on the defensive side of the ball, especially with a ton of money to spend in the next league year.
Jones Interception-less Streak Ends
Daniel Jones entered Week 13 on a streak, and no, not the team’s losing streak. While facing the Packers, Jones had not thrown an interception for 111 consecutive snaps. Yet, like everything, all good things eventually come to an end.
In the second quarter, Jones made a terrible mistake for a rookie, and that’s eye down your target for an extended period of time. Jones stared down receiver Darius Slayton for a couple of second before throwing the ball. That allowed Packers corner Kevin King to read the route and pick off Jones.
Jones’ struggles continued in the fourth quarter, as he overthrew Shepard by a significant margin, where the pass landed directly in the bread basket of Green Bay rookie safety Darnell Savage. On New York’s next drive, Jones was picked off by Packers corner Tramon Williams to put the game on ice (pun intended).
On the day, Jones finished throwing 20-of-37 for 240 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions.
It’s good for Daniel Jones to get the in-game mistakes out of the way in his first season. But as it is with any rookie, Jones is trying too hard to make a play, and it’s leading to turnovers.
Barkley’s Best Game Since Injury
If there was one positive on the offensive side of the ball, it was the bounce back performance of running back Saquon Barkley.
The second-year rusher stressed that he still wasn’t feeling the effects of his high ankle sprain, and after watching his game against the Packers, he wasn’t lying. Barkley showed moments of explosiveness and breaking away for runs longer than five yards.
Barkley took 19 carries for 83 yards and hauled in three passes for 32 yards. While it’s not the numbers the Giants were used to in his rookie season, this is a step in the right direction.
Shurmur’s Job Security Still in Question
Pat Shurmur continues to be under the media microscope due to his performance this season. After finishing his first season with a 5-11 record, Shurmur followed it up with a now 2-10 campaign. Granted many will point to the purge of talent this past offseason, but it’s up to the coach to make the best of what’s given to him.
Just look at Brian Flores with the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins were expected to go winless throughout the 2019 season, but have pushed themselves to 3-9, including an impressive victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
While Shurmur stresses the progress from behind the scenes and the “fight” shown on the field from this “historically young” team, the end result is just two wins and thousands of empty seats at MetLife Stadium. That’s something owner John Mara doesn’t like to see.
Shurmur does have an advantage in keeping his job, and that’s to further develop Daniel Jones. No team likes to have their rookie quarterback learn multiple playbooks early on in their careers. But if the team doesn’t show any of that fight Shurmur praises, then he’ll likely be out of a job once the 2019 regular season reaches it’s conclusion.
“Chase for Chase” Update
The New York Giants loss keeps them at the No. 2 slot in the upcoming NFL Draft, with the obvious caveat of selecting Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, who would be an immediate upgrade to the defense.
With the Cincinnati Bengals (1-11) earning their first win of the season against the New York Jets, the Washington Redskins (3-9) beating the Carolina Panthers, and the Dolphins (3-9) defeating the Eagles, the Giants’ odds of earning the first overall pick have drastically increased.
No team or fan base likes to lose, but this is a generational talent that could end up donning Giants blue. As long as New York lands in the top two of the draft order, the odds of selecting Chase Young are tremendous.
The New York Giants travel down the New Jersey Turnpike to face the rival Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. While the Eagles were embarrassed in Miami, they are still heavily favored to defeat the Giants. This game ends in one of two ways.
The Giants pull off the stunning upset, or the losing streak hits nine games.
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