Oct 112022
 
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (October 9, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

QUICK RECAP

On October 28, 2007 – the first Super Bowl-winning season of the Eli Manning era, the NFL played their inaugural game in London with the Giants taking on the Miami Dolphins. They won a 13-10 defensive battle in wet conditions as Manning passed for 59 yards, the second lowest of his career. Fast forward nearly 15 years and the League is now playing multiple games overseas, branching into multiple countries spread out over multiple weeks. NYG last played overseas in 2016, a 17-10 win over the Los Angeles Rams thanks to a four-interception day by Case Keenum. Their 2022 contest was, for a third time, considered a road game, against Aaron Rodgers and the 3-1 Green Bay Packers.

The Giants roster has been one of the more injured in the league. They were without multiple receivers (Golladay, Toney, Shepard, Robinson), multiple cornerbacks (Robinson, Flott, Williams), multiple outside linebackers (Ojulari, Smith), their top defensive lineman (Leonard Williams), and their starting left guard (Lemieux). Matching up against a Rodgers-led team, the 2021 MVP, with such a bare cabinet was yet another tall task for this new regime to take on. The Packers had already beaten CHI, TB, and NE in consecutive weeks while allowing 17 points or less to all three of those offenses respectively (NE scored a defensive touchdown in their match-up).

Rodgers led GB to three points on the opening drive via the foot of Mason Crosby. His rookie season was in 2007, the year NYG first played in London. The first two NYG drives, on the other hand, resulted in a couple of three-and-outs, four yards gained, and five yards of penalty (net -1 yards). GB’s third possession was very-much aided by a 33-yard pass interference penalty called on safety Xavier McKinney. Two plays later a quick-strike throw, the offensive theme for GB in the first half, resulted in a four-yard touchdown to Allen Lazard. GB had a quick 10-0 lead, and the game was heading in the direction many thought it would.

NYG responded with 42 yards on three plays, including a 26-yard strike from Daniel Jones to Darius Slayton. The drive stalled out, but it was productive enough to warrant a 48-yard field goal attempt by Graham Gano, which he nailed. GB responded with their second-straight touchdown-scoring drive, this one a two-yard pass from Rodgers to Marcedes Lewis, a tight end drafted five spots ahead of defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka in 2006. He is the last active player from the class.

NYG continued to show the “this feels different” mantra I have had in my head the entire season to this point while watching this club. How so? They responded with yet another positive drive of their own. Eleven plays, a forty-yard gain by Saquon Barkley, and two third-down conversions (one of 13 yards, one of 9) brought NYG inside the five-yard line. They scored on a trick play of sorts, a double reverse that was designed to end in a pass by tight end Daniel Bellinger but instead had him taking the ball into the end zone as a runner. (Brian Daboll hinted to him it would be there). NYG got the score to 17-10 with over a minute remaining for Rodgers with three timeouts at his disposal. For him, time-wise, that might as well equal an entire half of football to work.

Rodgers and the GB offense gained 45 yards, economically used all three timeouts, and set up Crosby for another field goal attempt with a running clock. Crosby nailed the 48-yarder as time expired to make it three-straight scoring possessions by GB to give them a 20-10 lead at the half.

NYG came out of the half keeping the game’s scoring streak alive. A couple of third down offensive line gaffes (false start by Ben Bredeson and a missed block by Evan Neal) stalled the drive at the 19-yard line where Gano hit a 37-yard field goal to make it a one-score game. The momentum took a turn on the following drive. After three straight scores by the GB offense, NYG forced a punt after GB was once again in NYG territory. A third-down sack by Dexter Lawrence, one of the top defensive tackles in the game, was the nail in the coffin for the GB scoring streak as it knocked them out of field goal range. NYG had the ball, with momentum, down one score, as the fourth quarter got under way.

Barkley went down with a shoulder injury after a one-yard loss on the next drive. In the past, this would have resulted in the wind disappearing in the sails. Instead, NYG responded with what I consider to be their best drive of the season, partially because they accomplished it without #26 on the field. 15 plays, 8 first downs, 8 players who touched the ball, and a two-yard touchdown by Gary Brightwell (the first of his career) tied the game up at 20. NYG then forced another GB punt after a three-and-out and the game was fully in their control.

Barkley was back on the field, and he let everyone know right away. He took the second play of the next drive 41 yards after a short pass. He was then the one who crossed the goal line on a two-yard run out of the wildcat following an unnecessary roughness penalty by Rasul Douglas that gave NYG an automatic first down.

Rodgers, an eventual first-ballot Hall of Famer coming fresh off a MVP award, took the GB offense all the way inside the NYG 10-yard line. 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1 from the six-yard line did not result in a single run despite the fact the GB backfield was averaging well over 5 yards per carry. The team opted for two passes, both of which were batted at the line, giving NYG the ball back as they kneeled the ball inside the five-yard line to get rid of the GB timeouts. Punter Jamie Gillian ran out of the end zone with the ball rather than exposing the team to a Matt Dodge situation. This ended up giving GB the ball back, down five, and without any timeouts at their own 41-yard line. After a false start, Rodgers dropped back and tried to escape pressure so he could throw a Hail Mary for the win, but he was sacked by Oshane Ximines.

NYG wins 27-22.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 21/27 – 217 yards / 0 TD – 0 INT / 100.2 RAT

Jones also added 41 rushing yards (not including the three kneel downs) just days after nobody knew if he would miss the game because of an ankle injury suffered last week. Mid-week, we were wondering if NYG would sign Brian Lewerke or Jake Fromm to backup Davis Webb. Now we look back and I think this was Jones’ top performance of the season considering the circumstances. We may see better statistical games from him, but he made multiple big time throws, took some of the biggest hits we have seen this year, and still made a huge difference on the ground. Prior to this game, I wrote down a list of things to look for. At the top? “How does Jones impact the game on a bad wheel?” Athletic quarterbacks are all the craze in the League now, everyone wants one. But what happens when they are nicked up? What happens when they age and lose some of their movement capability? Jones rose to the occasion and what he did post-Barkley injury on the touchdown scoring drive cannot go overlooked. 6/7 – 56 yards including two 3rd-down conversions and 25 yards rushing. What he did with what he had is exactly what good quarterbacks do: create more than the sum of parts. Big-time performance for Jones.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 13 att – 70 yards / 1 TD / 3 rec – 36 yards

Barkley went past 100 total yards for the third straight week and for the fourth time in five games. He missed what ended up being just 14 plays with a minor shoulder injury. He had two big plays, one in the running game and one in the passing game. A 40-yard run and a 41-yard reception were the two biggest plays of the day, and both of those drives respectively ended in touchdowns. These big gains do more than just accrue points for your fantasy team. When a drive has zero 15+ yard gains, 4.3% reach the red zone, 5.9% score points, 2.2% score touchdowns. When a drive has one 15+ yard play, 40.8% reach the red zone, 51% score points, 28.8% score touchdowns (information taken from Sharp Football). Explosive plays mean the world to an offense that is trying to score points. Barkley, in his current state in this current system, is absolutely vital to this team’s success.

-Matt Breida saw a season-high 18 snaps and gained a season-high 27 yards on 6 touches. He also threw a key block on Barkley’s 40-yard run. Gary Brightwell scored his first career touchdown on one of his two carries and also threw a key block on Barkley’s touchdown. It is great to see the depth chart contribute with subtle, but key components to game-changing plays.

WIDE RECEIVER


-Darius Slayton: 6 rec – 79 yards

Perhaps the most-overlooked player on this roster by everyone as we headed into this game. Slayton is, by far, the most-talented pass catcher on this team. A team that is without (arguably) their top 4 receivers. A team that has been signing guys off the street and playing multiple players without a full season of starts on their resume. Let’s not forget that Slayton has had success (2019 rookie season that saw a 48/740/8 season long stat line). There have been countless lows and very few highs since that year, but he stepped up in a big way here. 5 of his 6 catches went for a first down and a quality route forced a defensive holding (also resulting in a first down on a play that was originally a sack). Two of Slayton’s first downs came via yards after the catch + yards after contact. He showed grit and strength, and both ended up being huge plays when looking back. This is the best game we have seen out of him since Week 5 of 2020. Let’s see if this will turn into something because this could be THE opportunity of a lifetime that will undoubtedly set up his future in the league.

-Marcus Johnson, David Sills, and Richie James all caught every single one of their targets. Jones was accurate and these guys did their job. Johnson is tools-rich and many around the League know it. While he has never quite capitalized on opportunities consistently, Johnson has been a part of over 24 transactions since 2016 including two trades. Everyone sees the upside, but he just hasn’t had consistent looks and has had some injury misfortune. I liked his routes when looking at the All-22 and I like how he attacked the ball. He, like Slayton, is playing for his career right now.

-I also need to give credit to Sills for multiple big-time blocks on multiple plays that were game-changing. “Smart, tough, dependable”.

TIGHT END

-Daniel Bellinger caught two passes for 22 yards and scored a touchdown on the ground. I credit Daboll and Kafka for the play design (both have used this play at previous stops) and I credit Bellinger for instilling the confidence in the staff to put this kind of trust in him. Remember, this was a designed pass for him, but Daboll hinted the run would be there. It was, and Bellinger used the power and momentum he had to take it on himself to score. He is a rookie playing like a third-year vet when it comes to nuances. His transition to the league has been stunning. He was flagged for a hold and graded below average as a blocker, a work in progress who does show positive flashes there every week, especially on the move.

-Chris Myarick and Tanner Hudson played nearly half of the snaps. NYG went with a lot of heavy personnel and while these two did not impact the game much as receivers (Myarick had 1 catch for 4 yards), they both were solid as blockers both in the run and pass game respectively.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Andrew Thomas and Ben Bredeson both had sacks nullified by defensive holding in the GB secondary. Thomas, besides that, threw another shut out. The potential All-Pro continues to shine and his run blocking in this one was a key difference maker as well. Bredeson was flagged for a false start and allowed 1 pressure. His overall performance was average, which all things considered, ends up just fine for who he is and what he has been doing. He struggled to get a push against the powerful interior GB defensive line, but he did stay sticky to his guy, which is the minimum I look for.

-The right side was up and down. Guard Mark Glowinski allowed a pressure and was beat for a few tackles in the running game, but finished out average. Rookie Evan Neal’s struggles in pass protection continued. He allowed a sack and a pressure as we are seeing the footwork issues arise week to week. He did get movement off the ball in the running game but his gaffe on a 3rd-down run by Jones up the middle was a key miss. We have seen worse out of Neal, and this was a tough matchup for him, but I want to see the outside shoulder and speed up the edge improve. We are seeing too many of the same losses week to week.

-Center Jon Feliciano plays the game hard and he brings some plus quickness and attitude. But he is, as many NYG centers have been since Sean O’Hara, a major weak point. He allowed a pressure and a TFL. But even more than that, he was constantly giving up ground to the likes of Kenny Clark (a very good player) and T.J. Slaton, a sizeable-second year pro. This is an issue for the running game that needs to be fixed. Nick Gates is knocking on the door.

EDGE

-With each week that passes, we see more out of rookie and #5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux. Even within this contest, he took his game to a higher level in the second half. He finished with 2 pressures, 0.5 TFL, 3 tackles, and 2 pass breaks ups, including one on the final drive that prevented GB from tying it up. A productive game for a kid who, in my opinion, still isn’t reacting. He is thinking too much and not moving naturally which is common for young edge players. He looks stiff. With all the time missed in the preseason, Thibodeaux is right where he should be and I suspect the sacks are coming, just wait. Maybe the refs will actually call a hold or three next week on the tackle trying to block him.

-Oshane Ximines had 2 tackles, 1 sack, and (technically) a forced fumble. The sack was at the end of the game on the Hail Mary attempt, but he has now hit the quarterback in every game and 6 times on the year. He hit the quarterback 5 times in the previous two seasons combined (14 games). Tomon Fox added 2 tackles in a backup role.

-Jihad Ward had 1 tackle, 0.5 TFL, and a pressure which came from the defensive tackle position on third down. An unsung hero of the strong defensive performances. It stems from his unique skill set that credibly belongs at multiple spots of the front.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-Dexter Lawrence came up with a key sack right as NYG was turning this game around. I think it was one of the biggest plays of the game and possibly the biggest one on defense. He also added a pressure and 5 tackles showing great range and push. He is changing how offenses approach the middle in a big way.

-In a game like this, it is easy to discuss unsung hero Nick Williams. When a team wins, you want to bring in all the components to the win but in a game a team loses, it is common to overlook a solid performance from a guy that who on the bubble in August. He played just over half the snaps and finished with 3 tackles and 2 pressures. He and Justin Ellis were stout inside and while the run defense still could have been a hair better, these guys got the job done.

-D.J. Davidson left the game on a cart. A lower body injury to him that forces any missed time makes yet another position group on this team thin, especially if Leonard Williams is out any longer.

LINEBACKER

-Jaylon Smith, signed just weeks ago, made multiple highlight-reel hits on the move. While we need to be careful in using splash plays on tackles beyond the line of scrimmage as an influential barometer in player evaluation, Smith’s presence needs to be discussed. There is an attitude that comes with a Wink Martindale defense. Smith embodies that and it brings energy to the defense. He had 6 tackles and there was one he essentially ran laterally step for step with GB rookie receiver Christian Watson, a credible sub-4.4 receiver. Smith’s hit was direct and sure, and Watson got up awkwardly afterward.

-Tae Crowder added 3 tackles and a TFL, filling the inside running lanes in a hurry. Micah McFadden was beat to the outside multiple times against both the run and pass. He did add 2 tackles, though. I just worry about how an offense can expose him in space right now.

CORNERBACK

-Adoree’ Jackson missed the second half with a knee injury but finished with a productive game. He had 6 tackles and a TFL. I am pleasantly surprised by how aggressive he has been when filling on the outside. It hasn’t always been a strong point to his game, but then again, his durability has been an issue in the past. A lengthy injury to him would be a major blow to the defense.

-Nickel Darnay Holmes had 3 tackles and a pass break up in the end zone. He also added a pressure and a quick tackle that does not show up in the box score. Minimizing yards after catch is such a huge part of defending today’s plethora of short passing concepts. Holmes did a nice job playing to that strength.

-With Aaron Robinson, Cor’Dale Flott, and Rodarius Williams already out, NYG had to give substantial playing time to Fabian Moreau and Nick McCloud. Even Justin Layne saw 17 snaps. All three of these guys were added after training camp after being by cut by their original 2022 teams. Moreau and McCloud both had a pass break up, but both had two negative plays as well. Layne contributed a breakup via a physical hit that jarred the ball loose from Lazard. An entire game with those three seeing significant snaps would worry me.

SAFETY

-The safety duo of Julian Love and Xavier McKinney were the glue on the back end that kept things together. Love led the team with 6 tackles and a TFL while McKinney added 3 tackles and pass break up on 4th-and-goal to essentially seal the game. He was flagged for a 33-yard pass interference on a GB touchdown scoring drive, however. Did you notice BOTH of them knew exactly where Rodgers was going to throw the ball before the 4th-and-1 snap? Rodgers tapped his right shoulder pre-snap and they BOTH told McCloud the ball was coming his way. Those little things are what can make us feel good about this team in big situations against big-time talent. Much like what Antonio Pierce provided as a middle linebacker 15+ years ago.

-Dane Belton had a tackle and a pressure and Tony Jefferson added 3 tackles in their backup roles.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Graham Gano: 2/2 (Made 48, 37)
-P Jamie Gillian: 2 Punts / 50.0 avg – 44.5 net

3 STUDS

-QB Daniel Jones, WR Darius Slayton, DT Dexter Lawrence

3 DUDS

-OC Jon Feliciano, OT Evan Neal, LB Micah McFadden

3 THOUGHTS ON GB

1. A fun fact for you. Marcedes Lewis was the FIRST EVER 1st round pick to catch a touchdown from Aaron Rodgers. Crazy to think about. Over 450 touchdown passes – and that was the first thrown to a 1st rounder. I respect GB and the way they have run their organization throughout history and my lifetime. But even the best has their warts and the one I strongly believe here is the fact they made Rodgers continue to create with lesser-than-ideal targets to throw to. Look what he did with Davante Adams, see what it looks like without him. And just remember they chose QB Jordan Love over the likes of Michael Pittman and Tee Higgins (taken 7, 8 picks later). To think GB could walk away with just ONE Super Bowl appearance with Rodgers under center makes you think, doesn’t it? Not good enough.

2. Fortunately GB is in a division that is already very much just a two-team race. While MIN does appear a notch above right now, the fact they get four games against CHI + DET combined certainly paves the way for a likely wildcard appearance. While they have issues on both sides of the ball, I trust their defense will be good enough because they have very good players at key spots at all three levels. Throw in Rodgers and a likely progression of their young receivers, I think they get into postseason play pretty easily. What do they need, though? Like Rodgers suggested, I think they need to go get Odell Beckham when that knee is ready to go.

3. The starting offensive line for GB: 4th round, 6th round, 2nd round, 4th round, 2nd round. Their top backup and current rotational left tackle (Yosh Nijman) was undrafted. Their backups? 4th round, 6th round, 3rd round, 7th round (in addition to Nijman). Every single one of these guys was drafted by GB. I think this means a lot to future upside and maximizing the value of a collection of players. Chemistry means more to quality OL play than most people know.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

1. One of the most overlooked positive components to this game? The tackling. I had a season-best 2 missed tackles for that side of the ball as a whole. They were averaging 5 per game prior to this matchup. This was vital to their success as 17 of Rodgers 25 completions were caught within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage and 10 behind it. That is a common component to this offense, but even more so because of the defense the Giants employed. Quality tackling is, undoubtedly, game-altering.

2. Where to go and what to do with the middle of the offensive line? Will Shane Lemieux make that big of a difference when he comes back, and can he even stay on the field? Can Nick Gates finish off the comeback story and return to his level of play pre-injury? I have a hard time putting money on either. Rookie Joshua Ezeudu has not shown enough to instill confidence for 2022. As I said above, chemistry does have value and I think NYG has to roll with what they have. It will limit them, maybe even more so than it has already, but the coaching staff will need to try and stay a step ahead of opponents because it has the potential to get ugly.

3. When the NFL started the international series of games in London, teams always had a bye after playing abroad. Thanks to the Colts requesting otherwise in 2016 because they did not want a bye week so early in the season, that rule has changed. NYG comes back with three more games before their mid-season bye. They have another home game up first against BAL. That means they will go a league-high 6 weeks between true away games at the opponent’s home stadium. Another solid advantage for their friendly schedule. Two of their next three opponents have very forgiving defenses (BAL and SEA) and then the two games following the bye are HOU and DET (a combined record of 2-7-1 and 29th/31st in yards allowed) at home. This win against GB and the win against TEN week one were huge when looking at the 2022 season as a whole and the hope for a postseason birth. Up first, the Ravens. Think Wink will be up for this one?

Oct 092022
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (October 9, 2022)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 27 – GREEN BAY PACKERS 22…
An undermanned New York Giants football team upset the heavily-favored Green Bay Packers in a gritty, come-from-behind, 27-22 victory at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England on Sunday. The Giants trailed the Packers 10-0, 17-3, and 20-10 before storming back with 17 second-half points while shutting out the Green Bay offense after halftime. The Giants are now 4-1 on the season.

The Giants held advantages in first downs (24-22), total net yards (338 to 301), net yards rushing (125 to 94), net yards passing (213 to 207), and time of possession (32:11 to 27:49). Neither team turned the football over.

The Packers received the ball to start the game and immediately put points on the scoreboard with 9-play, 49 drive that ended with a 46-yard field goal. The big play was a 35-yard completion from quarterback Aaron Rodgers to wide receiver Randall Cobb on 3rd-and-8.

After two three-and-outs by the Giants and one by the Packers, Green Bay went up 10-0 on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Rodgers to wide receiver Allen Lazard. The two big gains on this 5-play, 60-yard possession were a 22-yard pass and a 33-yard pass interference penalty called against safety Xavier McKinney.

With the first quarter winding down, the Giants finally moved the ball, driving 45 yards in eight plays to set up a 48-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. More than half the yards came on a 26-yard pass from quarterback Daniel Jones to wideout Darius Slayton. Packers 10 – Giants 3.

However, the Packers appeared to take firm control of the game on the ensuing possession, scoring their second touchdown in two straight drives. The 13-play, 75-yard effort ended with Rodgers’ 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Marcedes Lewis. Packers 17 – Giants 3.

To New York’s credit, they responded with a gritty, 11-play, 86-yard drive. Running back Saquon Barkley broke off a 40-yard run on a direct snap. Jones threw a 15-yard strike to wide receiver Richie James on 3rd-and-13. He followed that up with a 10-yard completion to Slayton on 3rd-and-9. Two snaps later, tight end Daniel Bellinger scored on a double reverse. Packers 17 – Giants 10.

With 1:15 left before halftime, New York’s defense gave up their fourth scoring drive in five first-half Green Bay possessions. The Packers were able to move the ball 45 yards in eight plays to set up a 48-yard field goal to extend their lead 20-10 heading into the break.

The Giants received the football at the start of the third quarter. Jones converted on 3rd-and-3 with a 14-yard pass to Slayton and on 3rd-and-4 with a 6-yard run. However, New York’s offense was stopped just inside the red zone and the team settled for a 37-yard field goal, cutting the score to 20-13.

On their first possession of the second half, the Packers managed to pick up 46 yards and four first downs, but punted after a huge 6-yard sack by defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence on 3rd-and-8. The Giants then amazingly tied the game at 20-20 with a 15-play, 91-yard possession that took eight minutes off of the clock and resulted in a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Gary Brightwell. On this drive, Jones completed a 13-yard pass on 2nd-and-11, ran for 14 yards, threw a 11-yard pass on 3rd-and-4, ran for eight yards on 2nd-and-7, completed a 16-yard pass on 2nd-and-8, and threw for 5 yards on 3rd-and-3.

For the second straight possession, the Giants’ defense forced a punt, this one after a quick three-and-out. New York’s offense kept up the momentum, traveling 60 yards in just six plays. Barkley caught a short pass and sprinted for 41 yards to the Green Bay 19-yard line. After a 10-yard run by running back Matt Breida and penalties by both teams, Barkley scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 2-yard touchdown run around right end off a direct snap. Incredibly, with 6:08 to play, the Giants had scored 17 unanswered points to take their first lead of the game.

Missing both outside cornerbacks who had started this game in Adoree’ Jackson and Fabian Moreau, the undermanned Giants’ defense attempted to hold on. Rodgers and the Packers gained 69 yards in 13 plays, reaching the New York 6-yard line with 1:05 to play. But on 4th-and-1, the Giants blitzed and Rodgers’ pass was broken up by McKinney, turning the ball over on downs.

The Giants had to sweat out the final minute as Green Bay still had two timeouts and forced the Giants to punt. Head Coach Brian Daboll had punter Jamie Gillan take the intentional safety. After the free kick and a false start by the Packers, Rodgers was sacked on the game’s final play by linebacker Oshane Ximines at the Green Bay 29-yard line.

Playing with an injury-depleted receiving corps, Jones finished the game 21-of-27 for 217 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. On a gimpy ankle, he also ran the ball 10 times for 37 yards. Slayton led the receivers with six catches for 79 yards. Barkley carried the ball 13 times for 70 yards and also caught three passes for 36 yards.

After giving up 20 first-half-points, the defense shut out the Packers in the second half. Lawrence and Ximines had the team’s only two sacks, but the Giants were credited with six official quarterback hits on Rodgers and five tackles for losses. The Giants also broke up seven passes, including two by outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, the Giants signed S Tony Jefferson from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster. The team had a vacant roster spot and did not have to make a corresponding roster move.

The Giants activated (standard elevation) QB Davis Webb and WR Marcus Johnson from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster on the same day.

Inactive for the game were QB Tyrod Taylor (concussion), WR Kenny Golladay (knee), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring), OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf), DL Leonard Williams (knee), and CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf).

TE Chris Myarick (ankle) left the game in the first half, but returned in the second half. RB Saquon Barkley (shoulder) left the game in the second half, but returned.  CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee/neck), CB Fabian Moreau (unknown), and DL D.J. Davidson (unknown) left the game in the second half and did not return.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Oct 072022
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (October 2, 2022)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

THE STORYLINE:
Before the season started, most New York Giants fans looked at the 2022 schedule and were expecting a 2-2 start at best. Understandably, the fact that the rebuilding and still injury-plagued Giants are sitting at 3-1 has most of us feeling pretty good. The possible canary in the coal mine was the Giants being soundly beaten by a Dallas Cowboys team without Dak Prescott and a number of key offensive starters. The Giants obviously surprised the Tennessee Titans and beat two bad teams in the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears. But we’ll take it. After all, the Giants haven’t been able to brag about a winning record since 2016.

Nevertheless, the quality of opponent is about to significantly improve. The Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens will be heavily favored to beat the Giants. The Jacksonville Jaguars are 2-2, having crushed the Los Angeles Chargers and given the Philadelphia Eagles all they could handle. Unless New York can pull off another upset in the next two weeks, they will head into that Jaguars game at 3-3.

The 3-1 Packers are expected to make short work of the 3-1 Giants. Why? The advantage in quarterback play, the NFL’s 6th-ranked offense, and the NFL’s 5th-ranked defense. (The Giants are ranked 22nd and 15th, respectively, by comparison). The Giants also far more banged up, especially at quarterback, wide receiver, and in the secondary. Not having Azeez Ojulari also hurts.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • QB Daniel Jones (ankle)
  • QB Tyrod Taylor (concussion – out)
  • WR Richie James (ankle)
  • WR Kenny Golladay (knee – out)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee – out)
  • WR Kadarius Toney (hamstring – out)
  • OT Evan Neal (neck)
  • DL Leonard Williams (knee – questionable)
  • DL Henry Mondeaux (ankle – out)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (calf – out)
  • CB Fabian Moreau (foot)
  • CB Cor’Dale Flott (calf – out)
  • CB Nick McCloud (hamstring)
  • S Julian Love (concussion)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
When most people think of the Green Bay Packers, they still think of Aaron Rodgers and their passing game. However, the strength of this team is now arguably its defense, with is 5th overall ranking and 3rd against the pass (only 168 passing yards per game). The latter does not not bode well for a hobbled quarterback in Daniel Jones with the worst receiving corps in the league. On Sunday, Jones will be throwing to the likes of Richie James, David Sills, and Darius Slayton and probably Practice Squader Marcus Johnson. His tight ends don’t exactly instill fear in opponents either.

The secondary is rock solid with cornerbacks Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Rasul Douglas and safeties Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage. They are helped immensely by edge rushers Rashan Gary (5 sacks, 18 pressures) and Preston Smith (2.5 sacks, 12 pressures) and defensive linemen Kenny Clark (2 sacks, 16 pressures), Jarran Reed, and Dean Lowry. Inside linebackers De’Vondre Campbell (36 tackles) and Quay Walker (26 tackles) can cover a lot of ground. The Packers are one of the NFL’s best pass-rushing defenses, pressuring opponents on 43 percent of their passing attempts. “It’s one of the best defenses on paper that we’ve had,” said Rodgers in camp.

Last week, the Giants basically ran a one-dimensional offense (71 yards passing) and got away with it because the Bears were so undisciplined on defense, particularly in backside pursuit off the edge. It’s hard to imagine the Packers doing that, especially after what they saw on tape this week. Just as importantly, Daniel Jones is playing with a bum ankle. The New York offensive line also still has issues in pass protection and stopping the Gary-Smith-Clark trio is particularly problematic.

The one weakness the Packers have had this year is run defense, being ranked 22nd overall (127 yards per game). Green Bay will load up the box against Saquon Barkley, have the backside defenders watch for the bootleg, and dare a gimpy Daniel Jones and his journeyman wide receiver to beat them. We all know it. It would seem that New York’s only chance is if somehow the Giants are able to out-muscle the defenders up front combined with some serious heroics from a cast of no-name wideouts. There is only so much scheming a coaching staff can do. At some point, the talent deficiency will rear its ugly head.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
As mentioned, Green Bay is 6th overall in offense, averaging almost 380 yards per game. However, they have had issues scoring, averaging only 19 points per game. They are 16th in passing (233 yards per game) and 7th in rushing (145 yards per game).

Meanwhile, through four games, Wink Martindale’s defense is 15th overall in yardage (332 yards per game) and 9th in scoring (18 points per game). The big negative thus far has been rushing defense (28th overall). The Giants have yet to pick off a pass too.

So as odd as it sounds when facing the Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, the first defensive key is to stop the run. Aaron Jones has rushed 48 times for 327 yards (6.8 yards per carry). He is backed up by A.J. Dillon, who has carried the ball more times, 57, for 211 yards (3.7 yards per carry). Dillon is the big, power back who does the dirty work.

When it comes to throwing the ball, Rodgers no longer has a “go to” guy and has spread the ball around more to four wide receivers (Romeo Doubs, Allen Lazard, Randall Cobb, and Christian Watson), three tight ends (led by Robert Tonyan), and his two backs (Jones and Dillon). He is also focused more on the short- to intermediate-passing game. While the Packers still get big chunk plays in the passing game, it’s primarily because they lead the league in yards after the catch.

To be frank, this is the first big-time quarterback the Giants will face this season. Guys like Fabian Moreau and Darnay Holmes are really going to be tested, not to mention the Giants linebackers in coverage. It’s a game like this where the team’s lack of a quality starter opposite of Adoree’ Jackson and depth will show up. The absence of Aaron Robinson and Cor’Dale Flott doesn’t help matters. Martindale will undoubtedly try mix things up to confuse Rodgers, but that’s hard to do given his football acumen and experience.

An interesting side story to follow in this one Wink’s heavy blitzing scheme versus Rodgers, who is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks to blitz. Will Wink want to take chances with Rodgers, or go against his nature and play it more safe? Stating the obvious, this is not a good game to be missing Azeez Ojulari, especially with Kayvon Thibodeaux still getting acclimated to the game and Leonard Williams still dealing with a knee injury.

My two big defensive keys for this game are: (1) stopping the run, and (2) tackling well after the Packers complete short passes.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
If Nick McCloud isn’t limited by his hamstring, he should help the special teams coverage unit. What’s frustrating about the special teams right now is while they have made plays to help win three games, they have also made enough mistakes to make games closer than they should have been. To pull off an upset, the Giants need a complete game from the kicking and coverage units.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale on Aaron Rodgers:The way to attack him changes from year-to-year of who he has with him. The thing that separates him is everybody knows that he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback, I think we’d all agree on that, and that’s from him throwing as many touchdowns as he has. So, everybody knows that, but what they don’t really appreciate, which I do, is just the great football mind that he has. He gets them in the right run game, he gets protections right, he knows the pressures are coming. He’s a great student of the game and I really admire how he goes about playing this game. It’s always fun, it’s a fun matchup.

THE FINAL WORD:
I really love the Giants’ coaching staff. And when you have good coaching, I usually love being in games where no one expects you to win. But this is a tough one. The Packers defense is REALLY good. And they have absolutely nothing to be afraid of in the passing game with the Giants other than covering Saquon Barkley as a receiver. Jones is playing hurt. His receiving targets are Sills, James, Slayton and practice squaders. It’s hard to imagine the Giants being able to move the ball well against this defense. On the flip side, if the Giants have talent issues in the secondary as many of us suspect, Rodgers will exploit them.

If the Giants manage to pull this one off, I will be really impressed.

May 052022
 
Evan Neal, New York Giants (April 28, 2022)

Evan Neal – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS TO PLAY GREEN BAY PACKERS IN LONDON…
While the full 2022 NFL regular-season schedule will not be released until May 12th, the NFL announced on Wednesday that the New York Giants will play the Green Bay Packers at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London, England on Sunday, October 9th. This will be the third time in franchise history that the Giants have played a regular-season game in London. The first was in 2007 against the Miami Dolphins and the second in 2016 against the Los Angeles Rams.

JOE SCHOEN HITS THE AIRWAVES…
New York Giants General Manager Joe Schoen was interviewed by the following media outlets on Wednesday:

GIANTS ROOKIE MINI-CAMP ON MAY 13-15…
While the 9-week offseason program that began on April 4th continues, the New York Giants will hold a 3-day rookie mini-camp on May 13-15. Those in attendance will include the team’s 11 draft picks, signed undrafted rookie free agents, and tryout players.

ARTICLES…

Dec 032019
 
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 1, 2019)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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Green Bay Packers 31 – New York Giants 13

QUICK RECAP

Two teams with new looks. Two teams with historical significance. Two teams that come from cold weather cities meeting in December with snow coming down hard. This had the look of a classic “Winter is Coming” NFL game that should have been as entertaining as any game on the NFL schedule. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers came to town to take on the hapless Giants trying to find their way as the last quarter of the season was in sight. After a 7-1 start, GB lost 2 of 3 as their defense started to falter and the lack of depth at receiver behind the injured Devante Adams finally caught up. They needed a game to right the ship, what better place to do it than New York? As Aaron Rodgers said in regard to NYG, “…they’ve been struggling”…if he only knew.

The Giants’ first possession ended with a 3 yard loss by Saquon Barkley on a 3rd-and-1 rushing attempt up the middle where he was hit by a defender within a half second of getting the ball. For those keeping score at home, we have now seen that exact play 1,000 times this season. GB responded with a 7-play, 72-yard touchdown scoring drive that ended with a Rodgers-to-Adams completion in the end zone at the hands of safety Antoine Bethea.

With the snow coming down hard and kicker Aldrick Rosas sitting on the struggle bus in addition to a new long snapper in place of the injured Zak DeOssie, Pat Shurmur opted to go for it on 4th-and-5 from the GB 33-yard line and they converted. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-3 from the GB 18, Jones hit Sterling Shepard downfield for a touchdown. It was a big-time, elite-level throw with pressure bearing down on him and a lot of traffic left and right. The game was tied up 7-7.

That tie lasted just a few plays, as Rodgers knew it would be an easy day with the terrible NYG secondary trying to gain their footing on a slippery surface. He hit Allen Lazard for a 37-yard score on a double route that left absolutely no hope for Antoine Bethea to recover from. It was 14-7 and it just seemed that GB would score when they wanted to.

Daniel Jones threw an interception on the next drive and it set up GB kicker Mason Crosby for an impressive, easy-looking 47-yard field goal in the snow that was still coming down hard. With the score at 17-7 GB, the Giants put together the most time-consuming drive of the game and their most time-consuming drive of the season. An 18-play, 66-yard drive ended in a successful 27-yard field goal by Rosas. NYG converted 2-of-4 3rd downs and both 4th down attempts as the old Saquon Barkley started to re-appear and Jones showed his toughness and ability to hit the tight window throws with an unstable base. They brought a 17-10 deficit into halftime.

After forcing a GB punt on the opening possession of the second half, the Giants were able to put another 3 points on the board via a 45-yard field goal by Rosas. Momentum was on their side and the defense needed to step on the throat of Rodgers and company. This is where the lack of pass rush and lack of cover-ability combined just absolutely kills the Giants defense. Rodgers, quite easily and simply, marched downfield on a 14-play drive to put another touchdown on the board. This score was a 17 yard pass to Adams even with multiple NYG defenders in the area; it seemed nobody had a shot at breaking it up. It looked like a couple dads playing against a bunch of 5-year olds.

The next two NYG possessions ended with Jones second and third interceptions, respectively. In between, Rodgers threw his 4th touchdown of the day to blocking tight end Marcedes Lewis. The score was 31-13 and even though NYG put together a couple of nice plays in their final possession against the GB prevent defense, it wasn’t even worth watching. The stadium agreed, as it was maybe 10% full at the end with most of them being the faithful Packers fans.

Giants lose, 31-13.

QUARTERBACKS

-Daniel Jones: 20/37 – 240 yards – 1 TD / 3 INT / 49.4 QBR. Jones also added 6 yards on 5 carries. He converted two 4th down rushing attempts that required some grit and power. This was the lowest QB rating we have seen out of Jones other than the Thursday night game in NE. His 3 interceptions were all very poor throws and while one can blame the weather, let’s not use that as a crutch. Good quarterbacks play very well in the snow and this was not a full on blizzard. The foot traction wasn’t that bad and there wasn’t much wind. While Jones did deal with pressure all afternoon and he was limping around a bit, this was a poor performance. The positive side of things revolve around two big time throws. His touchdown pass to Shepard was on the money with pressure bearing down on him from all angles. He also threw a great seam pass on 3rd-and-12 to Cody Latimer. It was one of those Sundays that can be labeled a “Rookie Sunday” for Jones.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 19 att / 83 yards – 3 rec / 32 yards. I was desperately hoping to see at least some improvement come from Barkley and I’m not just talking about the production. I wanted to see him run harder, push some piles, break some tackles, fall forward. He did all of those things and we saw a couple flashes of the big play ability we know he has. It wasn’t enough to call him and running game “back”, but I took his play as a positive. He had several blocking assignments and he did well for the most part. He got away with a blatant hold and did allow a pressure. Hopefully this is one of many steps in the right direction.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Sterling Shepard: 3 rec / 40 yards / 1 TD. In his second game back, Shepard caught three passes including the lone Giants’ touchdown. He looked quick and crisp as a route runner and I wish they could have gotten him the ball more often. His style of play usually produces well in conditions like what they played in.

-Darius Slayton: 6 rec / 44 yards. Slayton is proving more and more to be a guy who can pose as a threat both underneath and deep. I did notice that the GB corners were really physical with him at certain points and it impacted how he came off of the ball later in the game. The third interception where Slayton was targeted down the left sideline was a direct result of his hesitation and slowness off of the line. Still a lot to be happy about with the speedster.

TIGHT END

-Kaden Smith: 6 rec / 70 yards. Pretty busy day for the in-season pick up. Smith is making the best of a bad situation in New York but I wouldn’t get overly excited here in terms of being a long-term, every-down guy. He is a quality blocker with a significant lack of foot speed. I do like him as the underneath check-down or short-area target as his size and soft hands can make him reliable.

-Scott Simonson played about a third of the snaps Smith did and struggled as a blocker. He allowed a pressure and a TFL.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Nate Solder continues to be a turnstile and I just can’t see any reason for hope that he is going to turn it around. He allowed 5 pressures (the GB offensive line had a total of 2) and it looks like we are now seeing this really impact Jones as he drops back. There is a natural sense of over-urgency from Jones at times and he has a natural gravitation to the right side almost as if he is anticipating having to escape from the pass rusher behind him. This is what ruins young QBs.

-Mike Remmers and Will Hernandez were better, but not by much. Remmers allowed 2 pressures and was responsible for a TFL. He did make a couple things happen on two of Barkley’s bigger gains though and at least we see grit from him. Hernandez allowed the big TFL on the first drive and a pressure a couple drives later. His play leveled out from there on and he ended up with an average grade. Kevin Zeitler was solid but lacked movement at the point-of-attack.

-Jon Halapio, like Solder, continues to show he just can’t get the job done. I watch a lot of NFL football throughout the week and I can’t give you 3 names that are worse than him at center. He allowed 3 pressures and was pushed around all day. He just doesn’t move his feet, can’t stay in front of his man, and the amount of times he gets driven back off the ball multiple yards on running plays is completely embarrassing. This guy needs to be as far away from NYG in 2020 as possible.

EDGE

-Just an awful day from the pass rush department and that starts with the edge guys. Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter each had a pressure but were awfully quiet otherwise. Golden did get in on 8 tackles, which sounds like a lot, but he was the beneficiary of the defensive line doing their job and action being funneled his way. Carter looks like he just can’t get the job done unless he beats a blocker off the edge. With the somewhat slow track, it was imperative for the pass rushers to win in small windows with their quickness, hand-work, and power. Carter didn’t have any of those weapons working for him.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-One of the better rushing attacks in the NFL when Aaron Jones runs the ball was shut down for the most part. Jones averaged a season low 1.8 yards per carry and Dexter Lawrence was the main reason. He finished with 3 tackles but did an outstanding job funneling runs to other NYG defenders. Leonard Williams also finished with 3 tackles, one of which was for a loss, and a pressure.

-Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill were solid as well. They combined for 5 tackles and we saw an uptick in playing time for Hill. Both are very solid and reliable against the run but neither have a prayer when it comes to the pass rush on a play-to-play basis.

LINEBACKER

-Alec Ogletree led the team in tackles once again, this week with 9. These next few weeks are important for him in my eyes. We have seen how much better he is than the back-ups when he was out with his lower body injuries, but his limitations in space, most notably in coverage, are well documented. More of the same with him in this game. He is limited as an every-down player, but pretty effective on action between the tackles. David Mayo added 5 tackles and 1 TFL.

CORNERBACK

-Janoris Jenkins. It is funny that my game notes from the past two weeks both included question marks next to him regarding how he doesn’t shadow the opposite team’s top target. Last week we saw Allen Robinson, CHI’s top WR by far, roast Corey Ballentine snap after snap. This week, we saw GB’s number one by far, Devante Adams, roast Grant Haley. In key moments, I don’t understand why James Bettcher has Jenkins away from where GB obviously wants to throw. Just an odd way to approach it and I side with Jenkins on his frustration. He finished with a tackle and a PD and put his head into oncoming traffic a few times.

-It appears we have a split-snap situation going on at the other corner spot between Deandre Baker and Sam Beal. I wouldn’t freak out about it regarding the first rounder Baker because this team needs to see what Beal has now that he is healthy. Baker had an opportunity to make a play on the ball early but he simply didn’t track it and looked lost. The result was a big gain as the ball nearly hit him in the head. Beal didn’t fare much better as neither seemed overly disciplined with their reads and techniques.

-Grant Haley was back on the field and Aaron Rodgers viewed it as an early Christmas present. In the second half especially, when they needed a 3rd/4th down conversion, they went directly at him and were almost always successful. Haley got beat up badly and also was flagged for a pass interference that brought GB to the 1-yard line on a drive they later scored on.

SAFETY

-The one positive I am taking away from this game, if I had to choose one, was the performance of Julian Love. With Jabrill Peppers out, Love got the start and was on the field for 97% of the snaps. He finished with 7 tackles and a forced fumble. I’m not used to seeing #24 out there and there were a couple plays where a NYG defender made a nice open-field tackle and my reaction was, “Who was that?!”…it was Love. Easy to see the difference between fast, twitchy, and effective when they are standing next to each other in relation to Bethea.

-Speaking of Bethea, he allowed two of the GB touchdowns, one short and one long. He was also flagged for a defensive hold in the end zone. I sure hope he is a major help behind the scenes because from what we have seen on film, he is no better than what we had in Curtis Riley last year, who I labeled one of the 5 worst starting safeties in the NFL.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 2/2 (Made 27,45). Nice bounce-back performance for Rosas in tough conditions. He is going to need to shine the rest of the way if he wants to keep his job.

-P Riley Dixon: 1 Punt / 47 avg / 47 net.

3 STUDS

-DT Dexter Lawrence, S Julian Love, OG Kevin Zeitler

3 DUDS

-OC Jon Halapio, OT Nate Solder, EDGE Lorenzo Carter

3 THOUGHTS ON GB

  1. GB really revamped their defense this past offseason. They cut ties with long-time fan-favorite Clay Matthews and brought in two veteran pass rushers, Preston Smith And Za’Darius Smith, for a combined $118 million over 4 years. That is a ton of cap space wrapped up into two players for a team that is also paying big-time money to a QB. Take notes, NYG. You may have a couple of big name pass rushers available in free agency this upcoming offseason and I think it is near-mandatory they get at least one.
  1. Just how good is this GB team? Can they really contend with teams like NO and SF? It comes down to Aaron Rodgers and his ability to stay at an elite level. His best days are behind him but he still can play at his highest level ever any given Sunday. The consistency isn’t there from week to week like it used to be but I know this: I would NOT want to see him in the playoffs.
  1. GB went with a never-been-head coach when they hired Matt LaFleur. There were reports early on that he and Aaron Rodgers were not seeing eye-to-eye and that he was in over his head. But it has worked out well. LaFleur hasn’t been in the league a super long time and I have to think that may play to his advantage more than anything. He is innovative and modern, especially so when you compare him to Shurmur. The league doesn’t know his tendencies, they can’t look back on decades of material. If NYG wants to go the assistant route with their next coaching search, this is a situation and result to keep in mind.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. What else is there to talk about? We are seeing the same process and result week after week. The offensive line stinks and it is holding back multiple individuals The pass rush is near non-existent and that makes life so easy for the opposing offense. The head coach looks overmatched on a weekly basis. Now that we see teams like CIN and MIA pulling off upset wins, I hope this only exemplifies just how broken this franchise is right now and Mara needs to wake up and make wholesale changes.
  1. The media and fans (including several here) have talked about the lack of innovation Shurmur has shown with play designs and calls. He usually shrugs it off, replying that the team simply needs to execute better. I understand his response and don’t disagree but everybody will get innovative at times, even the most old-school teams in the league. Shurmur opted to change the identity by trying to get cute twice in this game. A flea flicker (that had TWO guys running routes) and a timed snap-handoff to D’Mari Scott who just got added to the roster. He did this in a poor weather game where foot traction was limited at best. Come on, NOW is the time you choose to get past your stubborn ways and play with tricks? His thought process is just so puzzling and lacks sense.
  1. The closing weeks of the season will very much be about the young guys in the defensive backfield. Is Julian Love an answer at safety? Is the combination of Baker, Beal, Ballentine at corner enough to avoid putting resources into the position this offseason?
Dec 012019
 

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GREEN BAY PACKERS 31 – NEW YORK GIANTS 13…
As expected, the New York Giants lost their eighth game in a row on Sunday by losing to the Green Bay Packers 31-13 at a snowy MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the defeat, the Giants fall to 2-10 on the season.

It was actually a close game for most of the contest with the Packers finally pulling away in the 4th quarter. Oddly, the Giants had more first downs (20 to 19), total net yards (335 to 322), net yards rushing (95 to 79), and time of possession (31:17 to 28:43). But the Giants lost the all-important turnover battle 3-0 and the defense kept allowing big plays on 3rd and 4th down.

The defensive issues showed up early as Green Bay scored touchdowns on their first two drives of the game. After running back Saquon Barkley was stuffed in the backfield for a 3-yard loss on 3rd-and-1, the Packers easily drove 72 yards in seven plays with quarterback Aaron Rodgers throwing an 8-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Davante Adams. The drive also included a 43-yard pass completion.

New York responded on their second possession with an 11-play, 71 yard touchdown drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Daniel Jones to wide receiver Sterling Shepard on 3rd-and-3. The drive was kept alive with a 12-yard reception by tight end Kaden Smith on 3rd-and-2 and an 8-yard catch by wide receiver Darius Slayton on 4th-and-5.

However, the Packers quickly regained the lead with a 5-play, 66-yard effort that ended with an easy 37-yard touchdown pass on their second possession of the game. Packers 14 – Giants 7.

With the pressure on the offense to keep pace with the red-hot Packers’ offense, Daniel Jones threw his first interception of the day on the fifth play of the ensuing drive. Green Bay only needed 24 yards to set up a successful 47-yard field goal. Packers 17 – Giants 7.

The bulk of the rest of the 2nd quarter was eaten up by an 18-play, 66-yard drive by the Giants that took nine minutes and 31 seconds off of the clock. The Giants converted a 3rd-and-6, 4th-and-1, and 4th-and-2 on this possession. Unfortunately, the Giants were forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal rather than a touchdown. The Giants’ defense finally forced a punt on Green Bay’s fourth and last possession of the half and at the break, the score was Packers 17 – Giants 10.

After allowing one first down, the New York defense forced another punt to start the 3rd quarter. The Giants pulled closer with a 10-play, 52-yard effort on their first possession of the second half, resulting in a 45-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. The big play was a 43-yard pass from Jones to wide receiver Cody Latimer on 3rd-and-12. The drive sputtered after that long completion however. Packers 17 – Giants 13.

At this point, the game began to get out of hand for the Giants. Green Bay launched their third long touchdown drive of the game, traveling 75 yards in 14 plays. The possession was kept alive with an 11-yard pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-6 by cornerback Sam Beal, a 15-yard completion on 4th-and-10, and a 6-yard completion on 3rd-and-2. Rodgers fittingly finished the drive with his third touchdown pass of the day, a 17-yard completion on 3rd-and-goal despite the Giants having 12 men on the field. Packers 24 – Giants 13.

Matters got only worse when Jones threw his second interception on the ensuing drive. The Packers took over at the New York 38-yard line. After converting on 3rd-and-5 and 3rd-and-9, Rodgers threw his fourth touchdown pass of the day and the Packers were now up 31-13 with just over seven minutes to play.

Jones threw his third interception on the second play of the ensuing drive. The New York defense forced its third punt of the day. On New York’s final possession of the game, the Giants drove from their own 6-yard line to the Green Bay 17. But the drive ended with an incomplete pass on 4th-and-4. The Packers then ran out the clock to end the game.

Daniel Jones completed 20-of-37 passes for 240 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. His two leading targets were tight end Kaden Smith (6 catches for 70 yards) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (6 catches for 44 yards). Saquon Barkley carried the ball 19 times for 83 yards.

Defensively, the Giants did not accrue a sack or force a turnover. Aaron Rodgers was only officially hit twice. Not counting the kneel down at the end of the game, Green Bay scored on five of their eight possessions.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were WR Golden Tate (concussion), TE Evan Engram (foot), TE Rhett Ellison (concussion), S Jabrill Peppers (back), QB Alex Tanney, OT/OG Chad Slade, and OT Eric Smith.

CB Corey Ballentine left the game with a concussion and did not return.

QB Daniel Jones injured his ankle but continued to play despite a noticeable limp. “He hurt it, but he played through it,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after the game. “Tough guy, he fought through it.”

ZAK DEOSSIE PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE…
The Giants placed long snapper Zak DeOssie on Injured Reserve on Saturday with knee and wrist issues. To fill his roster spot, the team signed long-snapper Colin Holba from the Practice Squad.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Nov 292019
 
New York Giants Super Bowl Trophies (January 5, 2016)

© USA TODAY Sports

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Game Preview: Green Bay Packers at New York Giants, December 1, 2019

THE STORYLINE

During the dark times, it is easy to forget that the New York Giants have been one of the NFL’s most successful franchises, winning eight NFL championships and playing in 19 NFL championship games. It’s not just the quantity of success, but the quality, with the 1990, 2007, and 2011 playoff runs being some of the most memorable in pro football history. The latter two playoff runs included never-to-forgotten upsets against the Green Bay Packers on their home field. While it may seem like ancient history, it’s not. Both of those games were played within the last 12 years.

Which brings us to 2019. In the team’s long and storied history, there have been the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. There was the 1964-1980 playoff drought that included 2-10-2 (1964), 1-12-1 (1966), 2-11-1 (1973), 2-12 (1974), 3-11 (1976), and 4-12 (1980) seasons. During this 17-year time frame, the Giants averaged FIVE wins per season. It was a dreadful time to be a New York Giants fan.

But the 2019 New York Giants earned a disgrace that even those pathetic teams of the 1960s and 1970s never achieved: it went winless during both months of October and November. Two months ago, the Giants were 2-2. They now enter December 2-9. Almost unbelievably, they are out of the playoff hunt in a division where the front runner has a .500 record.

The New York Giants have won 10 games in three seasons. They are currently averaging THREE wins per season during that time span. They will finish the year either in 3rd or 4th place in the NFC East with losing records for the sixth time in seven years.

Something is wrong. Everyone has a theory as to why, but we all know something is wrong. We all feel it. Even with a rookie quarterback who is showing signs of being the real deal and a second-year running back who flashed greatness as a rookie, there is little hope among the fan base. The Giants are not getting better. And the games are not fun to watch. It’s become a chore. This is as depressed as I’ve seen Giants fans since I began covering the team in 1995.

Wellington Mara and Robert Tisch passed away in 2005. Their sons, as newbie owners, were in charge of the team when it won NFL titles in 2007 and 2011. John Mara and Steve Tisch got cocky. They let their guard down. The franchise rapidly deteriorated into a laughingstock in the blink of an eye. And one gets the sense that they pretended it wasn’t happening, that the downturn was a temporary anomaly. It wasn’t. And with each passing day, fan ire now turns on them as they have hand-picked the staff who were supposed to turn this around.

Wellington once famously said, “It’s nice to see arrogance humbled” when talking about the Dallas Cowboys in 1996. Those words are now haunting his son, even if he chooses not to recognize it. John is now going through the same growing pains that his dad did as an owner many decades ago. Whether he can learn from his mistakes and make the right adjustments will determine how long the Giants remain a joke. Hopefully, it won’t be another 17-year stretch.

THE INJURY REPORT

  • WR Golden Tate (concussion – out)
  • TE Evan Engram (foot – out)
  • TE Rhett Ellison (concussion – out)
  • S Jabrill Peppers (back – out)
  • LS Zak DeOssie (knee/wrist – out)

THE FINAL WORD

The Giants are going to lose their eighth game in a row on Sunday. And there is a good chance that this game gets ugly in front of a half-empty stadium.

The Giants will then finish a 4-game stretch that includes two annual beat-downs by the Philadelphia Eagles, including one game in prime time.

It’s going to get much worse my friends.

Jan 102017
 
Romeo Okwara, New York Giants (January 8, 2017)

Romeo Okwara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Green Bay Packers 38 – New York Giants 13

Overview

There was some weird payback karma going on in this one. No, the 2016 New York Giants were not as dominant as the 2011 Green Bay Packers, and the Giants were not expected to beat the Packers and roll to the Super Bowl. But like the Packers in that playoff game five years ago, the Giants were victimized by costly dropped passes and a morale-shaking, end-of-the-half Hail Mary. Every Giants fan in the world must have had a flashback to the Giants Hail Mary at Lambeau Field – it was even in the same end zone! And like that older playoff match-up, a close game rapidly got out of hand in the second half.

The Giants lost by 25 points. This was the team’s most one-sided defeat of the season. And despite the strong start by the defense, this was a total team loss. Offense, defense, and special teams all played poorly. Long story short, when you give up over 30 points in a playoff game and/or you are held under 20 points, you are not going to win. You are also not going to win when your are -2 in turnover differential. Not on the road in the playoffs.

So the Giants go back to the drawing board. They will have to spend the next 12 months to get back to the same position (or better) that they found themselves in this January. While the Giants have a relatively young team with a solid core of players, their most important player is 36 and on the downside of his career. The clock is ticking.

Giants on Offense

It sounds like lazy writing on my part because I keep saying the same things over and over again. But this was the sixth game in a row where the Giants did not break the 20-point barrier. The last time that happened to a Giants team was 1980. The Giants had 13 offensive possessions. The results? One touchdown, two field goals, two turnovers, and eight punts. Four of New York’s 15 first downs came after the score was 38-13 with less than three minutes to play. The Giants managed seven first downs and six points in the first half. Not counting the last meaningless drive, the Giants had four first downs and a touchdown (the entire “drive” coming on one play) in the second half.

The most disturbing element to all of this is that Green Bay isn’t all that good on defense. They were 22nd in the NFL overall (8th against the run, 31st against the pass). The Giants ran for 70 yards against the Packers and 11 of those yards were a scramble by Eli Manning. In other words, Giants backs gained 59 yards. That was not terribly unexpected since the Giants ran for only 43 yards against the Packers in October. But for the second time, the Giants could not take advantage of a terrible Packers pass defense.

And here comes the broken record – once again, the Giants proved they could not score touchdowns by matriculating the ball down the field in small chunks. Not by coincidence, their sole touchdown came on the big pass play. The Giants only had three plays over 20 yards on Sunday: a 26-yard reception by Sterling Shepard that set up the first field goal, a 51-yard pass reception by Will Tye that set up the second field goal, and a 41-yard touchdown reception by Tavarres King. Those three plays were practically the extent of the Giants offense on Sunday – against the 31st-ranked pass defense!

In recent weeks, point production had been poor, but the Giants had emphasized the ground game with a 50/50 run-pass balance or better that had led the Giants to winning the time of possession battle. Not this week. New York called 47 pass plays and 16 runs. Point production did not increase and the Giants got clobbered in the time of possession battle (25:29 to 34:31). Turnovers were not an issue until the game was already decided. The offense only committed two penalties for a total of 10 yards, but both penalties put the Giants in 1st-and-15 holes that contributed to two three-and-outs.

This game was a microcosm of New York Giants offensive futility in 2016. The Giants couldn’t run the ball. Their best scoring drives contained big passing plays. Most damning of all for a team that was in its third year of running a West Coast Offense, the Giants were terrible at the short- to intermediate-passing game. They were a West Coast Offense that sucked running the West Coast Offense. This was a strange development given the team’s top 10 offensive ranking in 2015 in the same scheme with few personnel changes. The most significant changes were moving from the Tom Coughlin/Ben McAdoo dynamic to Ben McAdoo/Mike Sullivan with a number of position coaching switches (quarterback, wide receivers, offensive line).

Quarterback

Eli Manning did not play poorly. And he was victimized by dropped passes (at least six), a couple of breakdowns in pass protection, and no running game. But on a day the Giants passed the ball 47 times in 63 snaps (or 3x the number of running plays) against the 31st ranked pass defense, more was hoped for and expected. Thirteen points and 15 first downs (four of which were meaningless) are not good enough. The Giants had five three-and-outs. Three other drives also resulted in punts. Eli’s fumble and interception – while not to be excused – came when the game was already decided. Manning finished the game 23-of-44 (disappointing 52 percent) for 299 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. Almost 40 percent of his yardage production came on just three pass plays.

Running Backs

Coming into this game, the question was would the Giants continue to try to force feed the ground game or would they try to take advantage of Green Bay’s poor pass defense? In the first half, the Giants passed twice as much as they ran (22 pass plays, 12 runs). Paul Perkins received the bulk of those snaps but he could not deliver with just 12 yards on seven carries (1.7 yards per rush). Rashad Jennings actually had more success four carries for 25 yards (6.3 yards per carry). Perhaps the most questionable decision of the first half was calling on Bobby Rainey to run the ball on 3rd-and-1 with less than two minutes to go before halftime. Rainey was stuffed on his only carry of the day. The Giants punted and a 7-6 game turned into a 14-6 nightmare when the Packers converted on their Hail Mary.

The Giants only ran the football four times in the second half of the game for a total of 22 yards. In all, Perkins (3 catches in 5 targets for 27 yards, one drop), Rainey (1 catch for 8 yards), and Jennings (1 catch for 4 yards) were targeted seven times, with five catches for 39 yards – but most of this pass-receiving action came after the score was 38-13. Perkins screwed the pooch by not falling on Manning’s fumble (the whistle had not blown).

Wide Receivers

Whether by design or by Manning’s decisions, the overwhelming majority of the passes were targeted at the wide receivers. Thirty of Manning’s 44 pass attempts were directed at the wideouts. However, the results were mostly extremely disappointing:

  • Odell Beckham caught 4 of 11 targets for 28 yards with three drops, including one dropped TD
  • Sterling Shepard caught 4 of 9 targets for 63 yards with two drops, including one dropped TD
  • Victor Cruz caught 3 of 4 targets for 30 yards
  • Tavarres King caught 3 of 6 targets for 63 yards with one 41-yard touchdown

In other words, these 30 pass attempts to wideouts resulted in 14 catches for 194 yards, just one touchdown, and 16 incompletions. Most disappointing was the play of Odell Beckham. It was hoped that “playoff Beckham” would reach even greater heights of excellence. Instead, Beckham laid a major egg. He was all but invisible against a terrible pass defense, and hurt his team with those three key drops. He dropped a 3rd-and-5 pass inside the 30-yard line on the promising opening drive. On the ensuing possession, he dropped what should have been a 28-yard touchdown pass. When the Giants were desperate, down 24-13 early in the 4th quarter, a wide-open Beckham dropped a deep pass on 3rd-and-11. The Giants punted and quickly found themselves trailing 31-13.

Victor Cruz’s career with the Giants may be over, and if it is, he went out with a whimper. The highlight of the game for New York was King’s 41-yard touchdown reception. One wonders if King should have replaced Cruz long ago. Shepard had a 26-yard reception on the first field goal drive, but three plays later could not come down with what should have been a 15-yard TD and then dropped a 3rd-and-3 pass.

Tight Ends

Jerell Adams was a somewhat surprising scratch as the Giants decided to go with more experience and activate Larry Donnell, who was not targeted in the game. Will Tye caught four of seven passes thrown in his direction for 66 yards, including the team’s longest play of the game and Tye’s longest catch of his career – a 51-yard reception that set up the second field goal. That said, a good tight end should have feasted on the defense the Packers were running. Tye just doesn’t have the size to muscle up against linebackers and come down with closely-contested passes.

Offensive Line

It was not a strong effort by the Giants up front. The Packers are no slouches against the run (8th in the NFL) or rushing the passer (40 sacks). Both showed as the Giants running backs were held to 59 yards on 16 carries (3.7 yards per carry) and Eli Manning was sacked twice with three quarterback hits. The Giants were only penalized twice on offense, but false starts by Ereck Flowers and Marshall Newhouse on 1st-and-10 stymied drives before they got started and led to two three-and-outs. The interior trio did not distinguish themselves with their run blocking as each had breakdowns that disrupted running plays, including the killer failed 3rd-and-1 effort late in the first half. The Giants could not run the ball despite the fact that the Packers played both safeties deep (cover 2). Julius Peppers got the first sack against Ereck Flowers, but that was a bit of a coverage sack where Eli ran into Peppers. Flowers later gave up a pressure by Peppers on 3rd-and-6 early in the 3rd quarter leading to a punt. On the second and last sack, Flowers was cleanly beaten by LB Clay Matthews, who stripped the ball from Manning for the final nail in the coffin. Marshall gave up one big hit on Manning late in the game.

Giants on Defense

To win this game, the Giants needed a dominating performance on defense. They didn’t get it. Tragically, it was the defense’s worst performance of the season, allowing five touchdowns (four through the air) and a field goal. The Giants did not force single turnover and allowed a close game in the 3rd quarter slip away with four consecutive scoring drives. Green Bay was 3-of-4 (75 percent) in the red zone and controlled the ball for over 34 minutes.

All of this despite the fact that the Giants defense started the game as well as could be hoped for (except for the lack of turnovers). The Packers first five possessions of the game resulted in four first downs and five punts. Green Bay was held scoreless until late in the second quarter. But then disaster struck. After poor punt, Green Bay got the ball on the Giants 31-yard line. Three plays later, they scored to take a 7-6 lead with 2:20 left on the clock. Then after a quick three-and-out, with 1:38 left on the clock, the Packers drove 80 yards in eight plays to take a heart-breaking 14-6 lead into the half when Aaron Rodgers completed a 42-yard Hail Mary pass that should have been easily knocked down.

The defense appeared to regain its composure in the 3rd quarter by first forcing a three-and-out and then holding on 4th-and-1 on the Green Bay side of the field. This turnover on downs spurred the offense to its only TD of the game and the Giants were within one point (14-13) with 5:16 to go in the 3rd quarter. It’s at this point the roof collapsed as Green Bay scored 24 unanswered points on their next four possessions. Despite accruing five sacks in the game, Aaron Rodgers had far too much time to throw. And with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie out of the lineup after the first series, the secondary did not play as well as had been anticipated.

The defense was only flagged once.

Defensive Line

The run defense was respectable as Green Bay backs were held to 75 yards on 23 carries (3.3 yards per carry) with a long run of 10 yards. Indeed, there were only two drives where the Packers ran the ball remotely well, the main one being their last TD possession when the contest was all but decided.

The problem was the pass rush where it was feast or famine. The five sacks (three by the defensive line) were a bit misleading as Aaron Rodgers had an eternity to throw on some plays – including plays that resulted in big gains or touchdowns. It was clear that the Giants were trying to stay disciplined in their rush lanes and not allow Rodgers to hurt them outside the pocket, but they simply gave him too much time. The most disappointing player was DE Oliver Vernon (1 tackle) who was all but shut out. Defensive ends Romeo Okwara and Kerry Wynn each had a sack but combined for a total of two tackles. Defensive tackles Damon Harrison (5 tackles) and Johnathan Hankins (3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss) had strong games. Reserve defensive tackles Jay Bromley and Robert Thomas each chipped in with one tackle each, including one impressive stop by Bromley.

Linebackers

Jonathan Casillas (11 tackles) and Keenan Robinson (6 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss on a screen pass, 1 pass defense) were active. Casillas had one of his better games against the run, and was a factor on the failed 4th-and-1 effort by Green Bay. He did give up a couple of receptions to TE Jared Cook however. The other linebackers were largely invisible. Devon Kennard was credited with one tackle. Run defense was solid. Aaron Rodgers only targeted seven seven receivers, three of whom were Cook (5 catches in 9 targets for 48 yards), RB/WR Ty Montgomery (3 catches in 4 targets for 41 yards), and FB Aaron Ripkowski (2 catches for 11 yards). But 34 of Montgomery’s yards came on a 3rd-and-10 play against the secondary (not linebackers) as a wide receiver when the Packers ran a pick play.

Defensive Backs

Losing Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie early due to injury was huge. As the game wore on, the Aaron Rodgers and the Packers exploited match-ups in the slot against Trevin Wade in particular. Eli Apple (4 tackles, 1 pass defense on 3rd-and-8) also had some issues outside and finished a promising season on a down note. Janoris Jenkins (1 tackle) did a nice job except for the team’s only defensive penalty – a 32-yard pass interference flag in the 1st quarter. Coty Sensabaugh had six tackles, a sack, one tackle for a loss, and one pass defense on a 3rd-and-10 shot into the end zone to WR Randall Cobb.

Landon Collins was very active with nine tackles, one sack, and two pass breakups – including a 3rd-and-2 deep pass to TE Jared Cook. Collins had an amazing series midway through the 3rd quarter when he clobbered the fullback short of the first down after a short pass, helped to stuff the 3rd-and-1 run, and then did the same on 4th-and-1. Leon Hall started at free safety (over Andrew Adams) and accrued five tackles and broke WR Jordy Nelson’s ribs on a deep pass breakup. He did whiff on a sack opportunity that Hankins cleaned up on.

The only wideouts to do any real damage were Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, but these two wrecked the Giants secondary to the tune of 13 catches for 241 yards and four touchdowns. Three of Cobb’s five catches were for scores. Adams beat Apple deep for 31 yards and two plays later – after Rodgers had an eternity to throw – Adams beat Sensabaugh for a touchdown despite tight coverage. Then came the devastating 42-yard Hail Mary where none of the Giants defenders got enough depth or seemed to jump for the ball. Apple had the best shot at the ball, but Collins and Hall were back there too. This was one spot where DRC was really missed too with his height and leaping ability.

In the second half, Cobb beat Wade for 20 yards out the slot and then beat him against for the 30-yard touchdown on the very next play (Landon Collins also ran himself out of a chance to tackle Cobb short of the goal line). In the 4th quarter, Adams beat Sensabaugh out of the slot for 12 yards on 3rd-and-9. Three plays later, Apple was beat in the end zone for a 16-yard score by Cobb.

Giants on Special Teams

The Giants needed a strong game out of their special teams to win and they didn’t get it. The good news is that Robbie Gould made both of his field goal efforts (from 26 and 40 yards out) in very cold conditions. But Brad Wing self-admittedly had his worst day of the season with eight punts for 39 yards per punt (and a terrible 32.8 net). Not only were hist punts short, but there were a number of line drives. Wing did have one punt downed at the 6-yard line and another fair caught at the 10-yard line.

None of Gould’s four kickoffs resulted in touchbacks and the Packers returned two kickoff over 30 yards. Green Bay also returned a punt 23 yards, which set up a short field on the Packers field goal drive.

The Giants return game was a disaster. Dwayne Harris returned three punts for four yards (1.3 yards per return). Odell Beckham did not return a punt and the Giants came close to turning the ball over by accidentally touching a punt yet to be downed. While Harris did have a 31-yard kickoff return, Bobby Rainey may have sealed the Giants fate with his boneheaded decision to field a kickoff that was headed out of bounds or into the end zone. Instead, he stepped out of bounds at the 3-yard line after the Packers had gone up 21-13. The atrocious field position contributed to a three-and-out and easy Packers score after the 23-yard punt return. Odell Beckham returned two kickoffs for the first time in his career, with both returns picking up 24 yards each.

(New York Giants at Green Bay Packers, January 8, 2017)
Jan 082017
 
Tavarres King and Ereck Flowers, New York Giants (January 8, 2017)

Tavarres King and Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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GREEN BAY PACKERS 38 – NEW YORK GIANTS 13…
The New York Giants 2016 season came to a disappointing end on Sunday with a 38-13 drubbing by the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Giants led 6-0 until late in the first half when the Packers put up a quick 14 points, including a last-second Hail Mary pass. The Giants managed to close the score to 14-13 with six minutes left in the 3rd quarter, but then the roof caved in as Green Bay scored 24 unanswered points.

The Packers out-gained, but did not hold huge advantages, in total net yards (406 to 365), net yards rushing (75 to 70), and net yards passing (331 to 295). But the Packers held a big advantage in time of possession 34:31 to 25:29 and won the turnover battle two to nothing. The Giants were also 0-for-2 in the red zone while the Packers were 3-for-4. There were too many dropped passes, including two in the end zone.

The Giants received the ball to start the game and had seven first-half possessions. Three of these resulted in three-and-outs, with another just gaining one first down. The Giants did manage a 9-play, 54-yard drive on their second possession that ended with a 26-yard field goal by place kicker Robbie Gould. Their fifth drive traveled 70 yards in seven plays and resulted in a 40-yard field goal that gave the Giants a 6-0 advantage with 7:24 left to play in the first half.

After a quick three-and-out by the Giants, Green Bay got the ball back at the Giants 38-yard line with 3:45 to play before the break. It took the Packers just three plays to travel those 38 yards and go up 7-6 after quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Davante Adams. The Giants unfortunately went three-and-out again when a 3rd-and-1 run was stuffed and Green Bay got the ball back at their own 20-yard line with 1:38 to go. The Packers managed to reach the Giants 42-yard line and with six seconds left on the clock, Rodgers tossed up a Hail Mary pass that was caught by wide receiver Randall Cobb for the touchdown with no time left. Until those two possessions, the Giants defense had held the Packers to only four first downs and had forced five consecutive punts.

Despite the heart-breaking change in momentum to end the first half, this was still a tight game in the 3rd quarter. After both teams exchanged punts, the Packers lost a yard on a 4th-and-1 rushing attempt at the Green Bay 42-yard line. Two plays after that, quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Tavarres King for a 41-yard touchdown to close the score to 14-13.

But after that switch in momentum, the game was all Packers. On their ensuing drive, Green Bay drove 63 yards in four plays to take a 21-13 lead on Rodgers’ 30-yard touchdown pass to Cobb. After a screw-up by kick returner Bobby Rainey (stepping out-of-bounds at the 3-yard line), a three-and-out by the Giants offense, and a 23-yard punt return by Green Bay, the Packers drove 23 yards in five plays to set up a 32-yard field goal to go up 24-13 late in the 3rd quarter. After yet another three-and-out, the Packers drove 80 yards in 10 plays with Cobb catching his third touchdown pass, this time from 16 yards out. Packers 30 – Giants 13. On the ensuing possession, Manning was sacked and he fumbled the ball away to the Packers. They put the game away with a 9-play, 55-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run. Manning’s final pass from the Packers’ 13-yard line with 34 seconds left in the game was intercepted.

Eli Manning finished the game 23-of-44 for 299 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. was held to four catches for 28 yards. Tight end Will Tye caught four passes for 66 yards, including a 51-yard reception. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard had four catches for 63 yards and wide receiver Tavarres King 73 yards on three receptions. Running back Paul Perkins carried the ball 10 times for just 30 yards. Running back Rashad Jennings had 29 yards on five carries.

Defensively, the Giants started off both halves strong but finished weak as Aaron Rodgers threw for 362 yards and four touchdown passes with no interceptions. He was sacked five times with safety Landon Collins, cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, and defensive ends Kerry Wynn and Romeo Okwara all registering sacks. The defense was also credited with five tackles for losses and six pass defenses.

Video highlights/lowlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle), defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa (hamstring), safety Nat Berhe (concussion), linebacker Ishaq Williams, tight end Jerell Adams, offensive tackle Will Betty, and running back George Winn.

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie suffered a bruised thigh in the game.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Ben McAdoo and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Ben McAdoo (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. (Video)
  • LG Justin Pugh (Video)
  • S Landon Collins (Video)

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
New York Giants General Manager, Head Coach Ben McAdoo, and select players will address the media on Monday.

Jan 062017
 
Green Bay Packers at New York Giants (December 11, 1938) NFL Championship Game

Green Bay Packers at New York Giants (December 11, 1938) NFL Championship Game

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Game Preview: New York Giants at Green Bay Packers, January 8, 2017

THE STORYLINE:
The New York Giants and Green Bay Packers ancient playoff rivalry has officially been reignited in full force. The Giants and Packers met in NFL title games in 1938, 1939, 1944, 1961, and 1962. The Giants won the first of these NFL Championships but lost the other four. Fast forward to the 2007 NFC Championship Game – the Packers were heavy favorites to win what ended up being Brett Favre’s last game in a Packers uniform. In a post-season classic and arguably Eli Manning’s best game, the Giants won in overtime. Four years later, the Giants once again tore the hearts out of the Packers faithful by pulling off a monumental upset of a 15-1 Packers team that was expected to waltz to the Super Bowl. Now for the EIGHTH time, two flagship franchises of the NFL will meet in the cold of winter in the playoffs. It’s fitting that uniforms of both teams are not all that different from those teams in the 1960s and that the game will be played at venerable and frigid Lambeau Field.

In terms of roster makeup, five years is almost an eternity. Very few players remain on both teams from the 2011 playoff game. Tom Coughlin is gone as is most of his coaching staff from that season. But the quarterbacks are the same. And the fans remember. Despite significant changes in both franchises, I guarantee you that many Packers fans didn’t want to see the Giants again in the playoffs. It is impossible for Green Bay fans to shake the pain of 2007 and 2011. And the longer Sunday’s game remains tight, the more nervous the people in the stands will get. The players on both sides on the field will feel that nervousness. The pressure is once again on the Packers, not the Giants. Psychologically, this match-up favors New York.

Win or lose, Ben McAdoo’s debut season exceeded expectations. Very few expected an 11-win season and a playoff spot wrapped up before the regular-season finale. Now we find out what mettle Ben McAdoo and his team are really made of. In some ways, this reminds me of 1984. In his second year after a disastrous debut season, Bill Parcells was still considered a question mark. His team was expected to be badly beaten by a Rams team that had easily done so in the regular season. However, the Giants pulled off the upset in a low-scoring game. It was the first major step in building the Parcells’ legacy. A win in Green Bay against his old team and his old head coach and mentor would be huge for McAdoo and the franchise.

That all said, there is one player on the Giants who may be under tremendous personal pressure: Eli Manning. The quarterback who holds virtually every record in team history turned 36 last Tuesday. As we have all learned, making the playoffs is never guaranteed. This could be Eli’s last shot at post-season glory. One more significant playoff run would ensure Eli’s legacy. On the flip side, if Manning fizzles, a team with a relatively young, solid core will have to be concerned about the all-important quarterback position moving forward in 2017. Does Eli Manning have a bit of post-season magic left in his right arm?

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • TE Jerell Adams (shoulder) – probable
  • RT Bobby Hart (forearm) – probable
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle) – out
  • DE Owa Odighizuwa (hamstring) – doubtful
  • CB Janoris Jenkins (back) – probable
  • CB Coty Sensabaugh (ankle) – probable
  • S Nat Berhe (concussion) – probable

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
The New York Giants have not scored more than 20 points in five straight games. If that streak reaches six in a row, the Giants will likely be one-and-done in the playoffs. Looking at the big picture, what Ben McAdoo and his staff have done is force fed the ground game in recent weeks. While the team has surpassed the 100-yard mark in each of the last three games, it hasn’t been pretty and point production has suffered. This strategy has reduced risk, increased the time of possession, and turned Eli Manning into more of a game manager. The Giants have been playing not to lose on offense, relying on their rapidly improving defense.

Opposing defenses have pretty much approached the Giants offense the same all season: play two-deep safeties (cover 2), double (and sometimes triple) Odell Beckham, and dare the Giants to beat them in other areas. Simply put, the Green Bay Packers are not likely to be overly concerned about what the Giants running game or other receiving options will do to them. They know Sterling Shepard, Victor Cruz, and Will Tye will not hurt them down the field. And they do not fear Rashad Jennings and Paul Perkins. The Giants have demonstrated all year that if they don’t get big chunks in the passing game (almost exclusively to Beckham), they have trouble moving the ball and scoring.

Back in October at Lambeau Field, this was how the Packers handled the Giants. New York scored 19 points and just one touchdown. They had only ONE play over 20 yards (to Tye for 27 yards) and only ran the football 14 times for 43 yards. In total, the Giants finished with an embarrassing 14 first downs (4 in the first half) and 219 total net yards. A jittery Eli Manning struggled against a poor pass defense, completing only 50 percent of his passes. Both offensive tackles struggled terribly. Cruz was shut out and Shepard held to two catches for 14 yards. Beckham was targeted 12 times, but only had five catches for 56 yards.

The 3-4 defense of the Packers finished 2016 ranked 22nd in defense (8th against the run, 31st against the pass). Their shoddy pass defense has further been weakened by injury issues at corner. Back in October, the Packers had the NFL’s 1st-ranked run defense and 27th-ranked pass defense. The Giants approached that game as expected, passing the ball 74 percent of the time (40 passes, 14 runs). But the Giants could not take advantage of Green Bay’s poor pass defense. So the dilemma the Giants face in this game is do they go with another pass-heavy game plan, hoping to execute far better? Or do they continue their recent strategy of force-feeding their backs against what is a quality run defense that is likely to play the pass first? If the Giants could actually move the ball on the ground against Green Bay, the latter strategy would make sense as it would help win the time of possession battle and keep Aaron Rodgers on the bench.  The problem is that is a big “if” as the Giants have yet to demonstrate a consistent ground game that moves the chains AND produces points (note the Giants only have six rushing touchdowns this year). At the very least, one would hope the more explosive and instinctive Paul Perkins receives the bulk of the carries.

The Packers are almost dead last in pass defense, but they have 40 sacks and have forced 25 turnovers (17 of those interceptions). Ultimately, what the strategy comes down to is this: does Ben McAdoo believe Eli Manning can play at a different level than he did in the regular season and protect the football? Does he believe his tackles can block Green Bay’s outside rushers better than they did in October? If he does, then he is more likely to open up the offense and play match-up football. Does Eli have some magic left? Is Odell Beckham a money player in the playoffs? Can rookies like Shepard, Perkins, and maybe even tight end Jerell Adams make a difference?

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The New York Giants have a defense again. Unbelievably, the Giants improved from 32nd in 2015 to 10th in 2016 in yards allowed, and from 30th to 2nd in points allowed. But now it’s money time. The 2011 NYG defense finished 27th in the NFL, but turned it on during the playoff run. With the Giants offense struggling to score points, the pressure is on the defense to play as well if not better than it did down the stretch of the regular season.

The challenge is arguably the quarterback who is playing the best in the NFL right now, Aaron Rodgers. How well? A 40-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Worse, he has an 18-to-0 ratio in his last seven games. Rodgers is very accurate and can make all of the throws, even when on the move and not having his feet properly set. Indeed, some of his best plays come when he is buying time with his mobility. The Giants not only need to get pressure on him, but they need to bring him down. Not having Jason Pierre-Paul hurts as the Giants won’t be able to generate much consistent pass pressure without blitzing, like they did against the Washington Redskins last week. But when you blitz Rodgers, you are rolling the dice and risking giving up the cheap big play. The last time these two teams met, the Giants got virtually no pressure on Rodgers (no sacks and three QB hits). And there were plays when Rodgers had all day to throw.

That all said, there are two areas where the Giants should match-up well. One, with running backs Eddie Lacey and James Starks out, the Packers have been forced to play wide receiver Ty Montgomery at running back. While Montgomery has averaged an extremely impressive 5.9 yards per carry, he’s no Lacey. And the Giants feel they can rough him up. In the October meeting, the Packers ran for 147 yards on the Giants with Lacey leading the way.

The other area where the Giants match-up well is the Packers’ strength – their wide receiving corps. The last time these two teams met, Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were hurt. As great as Jordy Nelson (97 catches, 14 touchdowns), Davante Adams (75 catches, 12 touchdowns), and Randall Cobb (60 catches, 4 touchdowns) have been, this trio hasn’t dealt with the trio of corners the Giants can field.

The greater challenge in coverage may be tight ends Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers, as well as RB/WR Montgomery coming out of the backfield. The Giants did not defend the screen game well in October, and Cook did not play in that game. In addition, wide receiver Geronimo Allison has looked good and the Packers may try some 4-WR sets.

Despite New York’s lofty defensive ranking, this game will be a challenge for the Giants. Much depends on which version of Rodgers shows up. He hasn’t had his best games against the Giants, including in October when he only completed half his passes and threw two of his seven interceptions. The Giants are not likely to get much heat on him without blitzing their defensive backs, but Rodgers will be looking for that too based on his film study of the Washington game. Steve Spagnuolo has to pray his defenders up front stymie Green Bay’s patch-work ground game (watch out for the fullback too) so he can concentrate on the pass targets.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
This is an area where the Giants can win the game. I expect Odell Beckham to return punts. And keep in mind the Giants early season success in blocking or coming close to blocking punts and kicks. If the Giants get desperate, might we see a fake from the not-so-conservative Ben McAdoo?

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Head Coach Ben McAdoo on the Packers: “Winners of six in a row. They’re scoring the football at a good clip, 31 points a game during the streak. Taking care of the football and Aaron is playing MVP-type football. Defensively, they get after the quarterback and are forcing turnovers. They have 11 turnovers in the last three weeks. They’re holding opponents to 18 points during their winning streak.”

THE FINAL WORD:
My head says Packers given the level at which Aaron Rodgers is performing combined with New York’s constant struggle to score more than 20 points per game. Also, Rodgers doesn’t turn the ball over and Manning does. But my gut says the Giants are in heads of Mike McCarthy, Rodgers, and the Green Bay fans. The longer this game remains close, the more nervous the Packers will get. Eli Manning understands the preciousness of the situation. And we’re about to see if Odell Beckham has a playoff level. The turnover differential will probably decide the game.