Jan 172023
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (January 15, 2023)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports


-Daniel Jones: 24/35 – 301 yards / 2 TD – 0 INT / 114.1 RAT / 17 att – 78 yards

Jones started 53 games prior to this matchup in MIN. That is three-plus seasons worth. This one, the first ever in the post-season, needs to be considered one of the best of his career to this point, if not the best when considering the magnitude. What made this one so impressive? He essentially did everything a big-time quarterback does all wrapped into four quarters in a road post-season matchup. Jones’ throws were tremendous, plain and simple. They were accurate to all angles of the tree, from the pocket and on the move. His running attempts were no-nonsense and explosive. Chunk gain after chunk gain with his legs. His pocket presence and decision-making looked so sharp and sure. He responded exceptionally to pressure. He scored 2 touchdowns and did not turn the ball over. He took big hits (a lot of them) and got back up. The list goes on. Proving all of this in one game, a first-ever playoff game for the player and many around him, is worthy of being talked about in Giants history.

Does this kind of performance catapult Jones into a higher level? You know, I hate the talk this time of year about where guys rank in the league. One, it does not matter. Two, save that chatter for the offseason where it holds at least some value. I do wonder if this game in Jones’ own head gives him the last bit of confidence to go out there and play like this week in, week out no matter the opponent. That is what the upper tier quarterbacks do. MIN does not have a good defense. They have solid pieces here and there, but they were bottom 5 in the NFL. But Jones is elevating to arguably the top dual threat in the league. He has 3 interceptions over his last 14 games. THREE. He can’t throw with the likes of Burrow and Mahomes, but they can’t move the way he does. The final component to Jones getting to his own ceiling is between his ears now that he has the right coaching staff. This is the kind of game that can awaken that monster. Next up, a rested defense that allowed the second-fewest yards in football.


-Saquon Barkley: 9 att – 53 yards – 2 TD / 5 rec – 56 yards

#26 look possessed. We have, I have, been critical of Barkley’s back-and-forth hesitation style over the past few years. We have seen a different version of him in this offense, but what we saw here was next level. The sudden burst looked like he was playing in fast forward. The violence he showed on multiple touches left MIN defenders fixing their chin straps after the play. He had two big-time blocks in pass protection. Barkley, like Jones, elevated his game on the biggest stage. The fact he touched the ball just 14 times (and rested during week 18) makes me feel good about his ceiling in PHI next Saturday night. While you can’t just force him into 30 carries because of game situations and tempo, Barkley is set up for the night of his career in the NFC Divisional round against the number one seed.

-Matt Breida had just 3 carries for 8 yards. While the impact wasn’t frequent, he did come up with one of the biggest effort plays of the game. On a 3rd-and-1 jet sweep that was doomed from the beginning, Breida broke three tackles and inched his way over the first down marker. It did not lead to a score or anything big, but the energy it produced for the team and the wind it took out of MIN sails kept the momentum in NYG’s favor.


-Isaiah Hodgins: 8 rec – 105 yards / 1 TD

NYG may not have their own Justin Jefferson, but they do have a version of a go-to receiver who they consider a number one guy. In his last three games including this playoff win, he has 20 catches on just 24 targets for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns. The plays he is making are not layups, either. Precise, sharp routes with elite hand coordination and strength are the standout traits I am seeing. He had four first downs in addition to the score. His catch in the fourth quarter of a tie game on 2nd-and-10 near the sideline was as good as you are going to find. The play was equally impressive and created by Jones. If that were Mahomes and Kelce, it would be played on repeat across all networks. Do not underestimate how hard that was across the board. An in-season waiver pick up. Just amazing.

-Darius Slayton was a big part of the offensive success. He had 88 yards on 4 catches, by far the biggest play-threat in the passing game. He nearly came down with a touchdown in the fourth quarter as well. The play that everyone remembers, however, is the fourth quarter drop that would have likely resulted in a first down and all but sealed the win. Instead, MIN got another possession and forced the defense to come up with the stop. This was Slayton’s second drop of the day, his eighth of the year. His drop percentage is the highest in the NFL. As unfair as it may seem, this is anything but dependable, where the potential ramifications from the result are enormous.

-Richie James caught 4 passes for 31 yards. And Kenny Golladay saw a few snaps (4), but made a huge block on the edge in the fourth quarter that contributed. Good to see that kind of hustle and aggression considering the circumstances. It is plays like that, effort like that, from all 46 active game-day players that win games.


-Daniel Bellinger caught 2 passes for 17 yards. He was chewed out by Daboll for moving early on a play that ended in Jones rushing for an apparent touchdown. He was flagged for an illegal shift and NYG ended up settling for a field goal. While it did not impact the result of the game, those were four points NYG left on the board because of a mental mistake. Remember, Bellinger also had a red-zone lost fumble last time NYG was in MIN. But credit to the fourth-round rookie from San Diego State. He came up big on the opening drive of the third quarter, catching Jones’ second touchdown pass. It was a play-action bootleg design that needed Bellinger to sell the block and peel out at the exact right moment. He checked the boxes, caught the ball, and got into the end zone.

-Nick Vannett and Lawrence Cager saw the backup snaps, the latter seeing more and catching a ball for 4 yards. Cager also had a 3rd-and-goal target, but he slipped out of his break and gave the MIN defender a clear shot at batting the ball away.


-The tackles were on the opposite side of the spectrum, as has been the case all year. Andrew Thomas allowed one pressure and was lights out the rest of the way. He played fast and powerful in the running game both in-line and in space. They pulled him outside as a lead blocker on a couple of occasions and he did serious damage. He had one of the key blocks on the first Barkley touchdown run and it only happens because of how fast he can get out of his stance. He looked fully healthy. Evan Neal, in a matchup I absolutely hated on paper prior to the game, had a rough game. He allowed 4 pressures, a sack, and a TFL. The feet keep stopping on initial contact and the edge defenders are just continuing their climb up the edge until they’re free. Too much catch-up needed for a guy who does not have catch up speed. The NYG win and Jones’ performance hid just how bad Neal was in this game.

-Hats off to veterans Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski. They were not perfect, but they were effective. Both of their contributions were especially felt in the running game. Glowinski stayed attached and kept the line moving upfield. Feliciano, who allowed 1 pressure, was most effective on the move. His speed when he pulls out laterally is an underrated component to their outside power-run game. Not all centers can get out there fast enough. It is refreshing to see these two gritty linemen raise their games to the next level in this environment.

-Nick Gates got the start at left guard but saw less than half the snaps Ben Bredeson did there. Gates was flagged for a hold early on. Bredeson did not fare much better. He lost a lot of one-on-one battles against the likes of former Giant Dalvin Tomlinson and Harrison Phillips.


-It was good to see the starters back together. Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux on the outside with the two monsters in the middle creates such a dangerous four-man rush. Some of that shows up in obvious fashion; other ways are hidden to the naked eye but equally beneficial to the defense. These two did not do much against the pass. Thibodeaux had 2 pressures but added 5 tackles and was great in pursuit once again. Ojulari had a half-TFL and one pressure. He left the game early with a quad injury, yet another soft tissue blow to the lower body. These have piled up and I now worry about his long-term prospects.

-Jihad Ward was on the field for just half of the snaps. He is an early-down defender who they tried to keep off the field on most passing downs. He is best suited for that role. He finished with one tackle.

-Oshane Ximines saw most of the snaps after Ojulari went out; Tomon Fox had a handful. Neither made an impact. Overall, a pretty quiet day from the outside guys when it came to the pass rush, but they did well setting the edge in the running game.


-I said earlier that Jones put this team on his shoulders and led the team to victory. A strong argument can be made it was in fact the two-headed monster of Dexter Lawrence + Leonard Williams on defense. These two are special to watch when they’re healthy and on top of their games. They combined for 10 tackles (Lawrence 6 / Williams 4), 11 pressures (Lawrence 6 / Williams 5), and 1 TFL (Lawrence). The second-team, All-Pro Lawrence especially took the game over down the stretch. He was unblockable and MIN center Garrett Bradbury is going to be seeing him in his nightmares all offseason. The power and lockout by himself were unbeatable. Williams missed two tackles and was not as disruptive in the second half; he got put on ice skates a couple times against the run. But nonetheless, big time and game-changing performances by these two.

-Lawrence and Williams were on the field for all but six plays, an uptick from what we saw over the final month of the season. The magnitude of the game and lack of quality depth behind them dictated that. Ryder Anderson and Justin Ellis saw a few snaps and it did not go well. I know Lawrence + Williams cannot stay on the field every single snap, but it is hard to get these two off of the field and not experience a drastic decline in impact up front.


-In a move that surprised me, Micah McFadden was a healthy scratch in favor of Jarrad Davis, who was signed on December 28. Davis played over half of the snaps. He and Jaylon Smith are both very similar profiles. Former highly-touted prospects, former starters in the middle for other teams, overall disappointments who did not reach the ceiling many projected. But they still have three traits that nobody can deny. They’re fast, big, and physical. One of the standout traits to this defense overall is how sudden they are in pursuit. They truly fly after the football with a mob mentality. Davis and Smith both had some issues against the inside run, but they picked it up as the game went on and remained aggressive. Smith had 7 tackles and a TFL while Davis had 3 tackles and a pressure. He also allowed a touchdown in zone coverage against a receiver, not a battle anyone would expect him to win. It was a great play design and I thought safety Xavier McKinney should have made a better read on the play.

-Landon Collins played just 11 snaps and made 1 tackle. Davis really did shoot up this depth chart in a hurry. It has Martindale written all over it. There is a specific way he wanted to work against this offense, and he went after the size + speed + physicality traits. It could be completely different at PHI. He wants you to be confused, he relishes in that fact.


-Adoree’ Jackson was back for the first time in seven weeks after spraining his knee on a punt return. As expected, he looked a bit rusty early on and MIN attacked him. He later allowed a touchdown in zone coverage to TE Irv Smith. While it wasn’t the best game for Jackson, I would still take this version of him over what they had out there during his injury. Add in the fact he looked more confident later, I feel good about his status against PHI and A.J. Brown/DeVonta Smith.

-Darnay Holmes was handed a tough assignment. He drew T.J. Hockenson often in man coverage and got roasted. He allowed 7 catches on 7 targets. Many of them were underneath though and he quickly made the tackle afterward. With that in mind, he was dynamite against the MIN screen game. He sniffed two out in a hurry, reacted fast, and recorded 2 TFL. His physical play is a weapon in these nickel/dime looks, almost like an extra linebacker.

-Fabian Moreau was on the field for almost the entire game and we rarely heard his name called. That is a good sign and upon looking at the All-22, his coverage matched the perception. Martindale showed more zone coverage than we are used to seeing in this game and I believe Moreau shined in that role. He seems much more comfortable than Jackson did.

-Cor’Dale Flott played just 3 snaps, but he had the best play on the ball we saw all game from NYG defenders on a 3rd-down pass on the final drive of the game. Excellent recovery speed, steady eyes, and an accurate extension for a nice, clean break-up. Nick McCloud saw 16 snaps and was not much of a factor, good or bad.


-The two unsung heroes in a game of full of easily noticeable stars were Xavier McKinney and Julian Love. They were a joy to watch over the top, as they took turns on doubling/bracketing Justin Jefferson. McKinney led the team with 8 tackles and added a deep ball pass break-up. Love added 4 tackles. One of the biggest wins this defense had was limiting yards after catch to the MIN wide receivers. Adam Thielen had 4 yards on 3 catches (1.3 avg vs. 2.3 on the year). Justin Jefferson had 7 yards on 7 catches (1.0 avg vs 4.7 on the year). K.J. Osborn had 4 yards on 2 catches (2.0 avg vs 4.9 on the year). You may not think that is a lot, but it adds up if you do the math. Much of this had to do with McKinney being there right away and good tackling by the rest of the defensive backs.

-All three backups saw time. Tony Jefferson led the way with 22 snaps, Dane Belton played 10 snaps, and Jason Pinnock was on the field for 7 snaps before being carted off with a serious abdomen injury that required a trip to the hospital. The mix in personnel packages helps the Martindale ethos. Cause confusion, create your own match-up advantages. Jefferson had 4 tackles and a pressure. Belton added 2 tackles and provided quality coverage down the stretch. I know the staff may not fully trust the day-three rookie, but Belton’s range and movement are excellent.


-K Graham Gano: 1/1 (Made 25)
-P Jamie Gillan: 2 punts / 45.0 avg – 45.0 net


-QB Daniel Jones, DT Dexter Lawrence, WR Isaiah Hodgins


-OT Evan Neal, WR Darius Slayton, EDGE Oshane Ximines


(1) We need to go into this offseason knowing that, despite winning 13 games, the Vikings simply were not a good team. Yes, from the basic (and maybe more important to some) level, wins are wins. Nevertheless, the Vikings are middle tier in the league when it comes to point differential and turnover differential. They ranked number one in the league in fumble luck. They won 11 out of 12 games decided by one score, which almost always regresses from a mark like that in the next season. MIN is in a division that provided almost no competition and that helped inflate what they really were.

(2) All of this and the team ranks 10th worst in cap space for 2023. We are about to see a lot of changes to that roster; guys who have been mainstays on the team that has made the playoffs three times since 2017 but has ranked bottom-five in yards allowed each of the last three seasons. Adam Thielen carries a $19+ million cap hit, way too high. Harrison Smith is in the same exact boat. They both carry hurtful dead money amounts if cut, however. Za’Darius Smith and Dalvin Cook do not. They are due to make a combined $30 million in 2023, but they can both be let go for roughly $6 million in dead cap combined. Those are just a few examples and there a couple others, but the point is we are going to see players with something left to give shake free from this team that can help NYG moving forward at a cheaper price.

(3) Not sure if everyone remembers or even knows what MIN did this past offseason in their front office. They hired Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as general manager, a former Wall Streeter with very limited football background compared to most in that position. A New Jersey kid who went to Princeton and played college basketball, Mensah was initially hired by the Niners in the analytics/research department. Ten years later, he is a GM. Year two is where I really pay close attention to a new general manager and his tactics. I’ll be interested to see what he does this offseason. His trade value chart for the draft was way different than anything that has been used in the past, based on his value of draft picks in the 35-60 range. I am also curious to see where he spends his future money that will eventually become available from this offseason’s expected cuts. This could be the way of the future, or this could be an experiment that folds in a hurry.


(1) Is the NYG coaching staff playing chess while the rest of us are playing checkers? The decision to play for the tie vs. WAS Week 13. The decline in usage of Dexter Lawrence down the stretch in important games. The rotations they have used along the OL all season. The back-and-forth safety depth chart. The progression of Daniel Jones. The aggressive nature vs. the conservative style at the end of halves and games. I could go on with a few others, but there were a few head-scratchers this year, a few decisions by the coaching staff that simply left me confused. Was this a part of their long-term vision? Are they really that detailed with what they have mapped out for the future in a league full of weekly surprises? Coaching staffs and front offices often talk about a long-term plan, but on game day and with certain roster moves, it appears to be BS. Their vision seems to be a step ahead of everyone else. I can count on one hand how many teams challenge us intellectually. I’m now thinking NYG is one of them.

(2) “My mission is to confuse the quarterback.” A quote from Wink Martindale that stood out to me soon after he was hired. This is a guy who led the NFL in blitzing by a wide margin in 2022. Nobody was even close. We have to think with a banged up MIN offensive line, and facing a healthy group of NYG pass rushers, more of the same right? Martindale essentially cut his blitz rate in half, utilized more zone coverage than he did all season, and made a surprising personnel change at inside linebacker that nobody saw coming. I thought one of the keys to the game was NYG causing disruption with four pass rushers and dropping seven into coverage. It went against what Martindale did all year, but that is what he did and it worked. The lack of explosive plays generated at receiver by MIN were a catalyst to the win, and a result derived from NYG dropping seven and still getting enough pressure. Whatever PHI thinks they will see Saturday, expect the opposite? What do you think Martindale will do?

(3) The Divisional Playoffs in Philadelphia on a Saturday night against the number-one seed. You want to talk about a franchise-changing opportunity? We all know the ship is heading in the right direction a few knots faster than anticipated. This game, however, is a different level of complexity and potential trajectory. A team that has been at the top of the NFC all season. A division rival. Arguably the deepest roster in the league, many of their players battle-tested in the post-season. NYG is the team that comes in with nothing to lose, though. This is the kind of matchup we saw back in 2008, the season after NYG won Eli Manning’s first Super Bowl. They went 12-4 (#1 seed), got a first-round bye, and faced off against the 9-6-1 Eagles coming off a Wild Card win at…you guessed it…Minnesota. I went back and took at look at Eric’s game review from that game 14 years ago, and I suggest you do too. Here is an excerpt you need to keep in mind when thinking about this game that will be played in a few days:

“In football, nothing is given.  It is earned.  Every playoff game is a season in itself and if you do not out-play your opponent on that given day, you go home.  It hurts, but that is the reality of post-season football.  #1 seeds fall all the time in the playoffs.  It’s not a rare event.”

Jan 152023
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (January 15, 2023)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants upset the Minnesota Vikings 31-24 in a Wild Card playoff game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Sunday. The playoff win was the team’s first since the 2011 season. The Giants will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia next Saturday in the divisional round.

In terms of overall team stats, the Giants out-gained the Vikings in first downs (28 to 21), total net yards (431 to 332), net yards rushing (142 to 61), net yards passing (289 to 271), and time of possession (33:36 to 26:24). The Giants were 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) on 3rd-down conversion attempts and 2-of-2 on 4th-down conversion attempts. Neither team turned the ball over.

The Vikings received the football to start the game and easily drove 70 yards in 12 plays, gaining seven first downs, to take an early 7-0 lead. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was 7-of-7 on the drive and finished up the possession with a 1-yard quarterback sneak for the score. Minnesota’s next two possessions resulted in only one first down and two punts.

Not counting their last possession where they started at their own 10-yard line with 45 seconds left, the Giants only had three offensive drives in the first half. Those three possessions resulted in 17 points:

  1. Five plays, 75 yards, touchdown. After a holding penalty pushed put the Giants in a 1st-and-20 situation to start the drive, quarterback Daniel Jones completed two passes and ran the ball twice for a total of 57 yards. Then running back Saquon Barkley broke off a 28-yard touchdown run around left end.
  2. Four plays, 81 yards, touchdown. Jones completed a 47-yard pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton. After a 4-yard pass to tight end Lawrence Cager and a 16-yard run by Barkley, Jones threw a 14-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins.
  3. Twenty plays, 85 yards, field goal. Starting at their own 9-yard line, this marathon drive took almost 11 minutes off of the clock. However, a 4-yard touchdown run by Jones was erased due to an illegal shift penalty. New York settled for a 25-yard field goal by kicker Graham Gano.

Despite this offensive success, the Vikings managed to keep the game close with their last possession of the first half by easily driving 75 yards in eight plays to cut the score to 17-14 on Cousin’ 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver K.J. Osborn with 45 seconds left on the clock.

At the break, the Giants led 17-14.

New York’s offensive momentum continued at the start of the 3rd quarter. It took the Giants just six plays to travel 75 yards. Jones completed two passes to Hodgins for 42 yards, Barkley ran for 24 yards, Slayton picked up three yards on an end around, and then Jones threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger. The Giants were now up 24-14.

Back came Minnesota, however, as on their first possession of the second half they ran eight plays for 75 yards. Cousins threw a 3-yard touchdown to tight end Irv Smith to cut the score to 24-17.

The Giants were finally forced to punt for the first time on their second possession of the half. Cornerback Nick McCloud did create a fumble on the ensuing punt return, but it was recovered by the Vikings. Minnesota then tied the score with a 12-play, 56-yard drive that included an 18-yard completion on 4th-and-2 from the New York 43-yard line. It appeared that the Vikings converted on 4th-and-1 at the 16-yard line, but a false start wiped out the play and Minnesota settled for a 38-yard field goal with 12:34 left in the game.

With the score tied up at 24-24, the Giants began their game-winning, 12-play, 75-yard drive. Jones only completed half of his passes on this possession, but five of his attempts went for 58 yards. He also picked up a critical two yards on a quarterback sneak on 4th-and-1 from the Minnesota 7-yard line. Barkley finished this possession off with a tough, 2-yard touchdown run to give New York a 31-24 lead with 7:47 to play.

The Giants’ defense forced a quick three-and-out on the ensuing drive. Up by a touchdown with 6:12 left in the game, the Giants were able to picked up two first downs, including a very risky 4th-and-1 conversion attempt at their own 45-yard line. Jones gained the needed yard on another tough quarterback sneak and Minnesota was forced to use all three of their time outs to stop the clock. The Giants could have ended it early, but on 3rd-and-15, Slayton dropped a pass from Jones that may have picked up the first down. The Giants punted the ball away with just over three minutes to play.

With 2:56 on the clock, Minnesota got the ball back at their own 12-yard line. On 2nd-and-4, defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence was flagged with a highly questionable roughing-the-passer penalty. A 13-yard completion then moved the ball to the Minnesota 46-yard line. On 3rd-and-8, cornerback Cor’Dale Flott broke up pass. On 4th-and-8, Cousins’ final pass was completed, but tight end T.J. Hockenson, who killed the Giants for much of the game, was tackled five yards short of the 1st-down marker by safety Xavier McKinney. The Giants then knelt on the ball to seal the win.

Jones finished the game 24-of-35 for 301 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions (114.1 quarterback rating). He also ran  the ball 17 times for 78 yards, including two 4th-and-1 conversions. His leading target was Hodgins, who caught eight passes for 105 yards and a touchdown. Barkley carried the ball nine times for 53 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Giants did not sack Cousins, but they officially hit him 11 times. Four of those were by Dexter Lawrence. The Giants were also credited with five tackles for losses, including two by cornerback Darnay Holmes. Vikings’ All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson was held to seven catches for 47 yards.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants activated (standard elevation) RB Jashaun Corbin and WR Kalil Pimpleton from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster.

Inactive for the game were RB Jashaun Corbin, WR Kalil Pimpleton, OG Jack Anderson, OG Wyatt Davis, DL Henry Mondeaux, ILB Micah McFadden, and CB Rodarius Williams.

LB Azeez Ojulari (quad contusion) and S Jason Pinnock (abdomen) left the game and did not return. Pinnock was taken to the hospital, but later returned to the locker room and said he was “good.”

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:


Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Monday. The players are off on Monday.

Jan 132023
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 24, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

Stating the obvious, there are a lot of good things that have come out of this season for the New York Giants. Near the top of list must be creating a winning culture or mindset. Success creates success. The players believe they can win because they have done so. Important steps on this journey in 2022 were the upset wins against the Titans, Packers, and Ravens before the bye week when the team surged to a 6-2 record. Perhaps the most important post-bye game in terms of impacting team confidence was the Christmas Eve defeat to the Minnesota Vikings just three weeks ago. At the time, the Vikings were 11-3 and considered one of the best teams in the NFC. The Giants were coming off of their critical second game against the Commanders, but had gone 0-3-1 in the four games before that contest. The expectation at the time was that the Giants would be handily defeated by the Vikings and Eagles in the last three regular-season games, and would have to beat the Colts to secure a playoff spot. While this is in fact what happened, the Giants-Vikings game on Christmas Eve was far more competitive than expected. Indeed, it took a 61-yard, last-second kick for the Vikings to avoid overtime.

The most important thing that came out of that game was that the team now knew it could compete at that level. Indeed, the overriding feeling in the fan base (and probably the team itself) was the desire to face the Vikings again. Three weeks later, here we are. In between, the Giants’ win over the Colts was far easier than expected, and group of backups gave the Eagles a tougher game than expected. The Giants seem to be surging at the right time.

That does not mean the 2022 New York Giants have become a Super Bowl-caliber team. Far from it. This roster still has glaring weaknesses at many spots. And depth is razor thin. But some of the luster has also come off of the Eagles, Cowboys, and Vikings in recent weeks. There is a growing sense that if this team can just stay healthy, they might create some noise in the NFC post-season tournament.

Win or lose, at this point what is important for the Giants as a franchise under Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll is the playoff experience. The 1986 Super Bowl champions needed the 1984 and 1985 playoff experiences. The 1990 Super Bowl champions needed the 1989 playoff game. The 2007 Super Bowl champions needed the 2005 and 2006 playoff experiences. There is something to learn here, to grow from. The longer they can keep this ride going, the better.


  • WR Marcus Johnson (knee – probable)
  • OC Jon Feliciano (back – probable)
  • RT Evan Neal (ankle – probable)
  • DL Leonard Williams (neck – probable)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle – probable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee – probable)
  • S Jason Pinnock (shoulder – probable)
  • S Xavier McKinney (fingers – probable)

In my preview between these two teams from a few weeks ago, the gist of my offensive preview was Daniel Jones and the New York Giants offense was going to have to score more than their usual 20 points per game to have a chance to win. At the time, the Vikings were 8th in scoring offense, averaging 25 points per game, and dead last in yards allowed (almost 400 per game). The Giants had a mini-offensive explosion that day, scoring a whopping 24 points. It wasn’t enough.

Minnesota finished the regular-season 7th in total yards gained, 6th in passing yards, 28th in rushing yards, and 8th in scoring (still around 25 points per game). The challenge remains. The Vikings are going to move the ball and score. The New York offense has to keep pace. The good news is that Jones and the offense did have one of their better games against the now-ranked 31st defense in the league (31st against the pass, 20th against the run, 30th in scoring). Jones was 30-of-42 for 334 yards and a touchdown. Saquon Barkley ran the ball 14 times for 84 yards (6 yards per carry) and a touchdown. The Giants had a season-high 445 total yards. The bad news were the mistakes, a rare interception by Jones this season and a fumble by Daniel Bellinger. Both turnovers came when the Giants were inside Minnesota territory and driving for points. In a game decided on a 61-yard field goal, the Giants lost the critical turnover battle 2-0. That was the difference in the game.

The other macro-level point is that, unless something strange happens, this is going to be a nail-biter. This is just the way both of these two teams play. The Vikings were -3 in point differential in 2022; the Giants were -6. Most of the games the Giants and Vikings play are close and decided in the 4th quarter. The Giants have been good in winning 4th-quarter games; the Vikings have been outstanding. No lead is probably safe.

Aside from the two turnovers, a few other things hurt the Giants in the first game. There were a few dropped passes (two uncharacteristic drops by Richie James and one characteristic drop by Darius Slayton). The offensive line also had a rough game against one of the more-talented set of edge rushers in Za’Darius Smith (10 sacks) and Danielle Hunter (10.5 sacks). Right tackle Evan Neal struggled against Hunter and allowed 1.5 sacks, multiple QB hits, and a bunch of pressures. Neal was also added to the injury report this week with an ankle issue that he suffered in practice on Thursday. LT Andrew Thomas gave up a couple of pressures that led to sacks. The interior line had problems too, particularly with stunts. Ex-Giant Dalvin Tomlinson was fired up against his old team.

It will be interesting to see how Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka approach this game. Despite their two outstanding edge rushers, the Vikings are terrible against the pass. And Jones did throw for over 300 yards against these guys just three weeks ago. Early in the game, even wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins was surprisingly getting the best out of their top corner, Patrick Peterson (though Peterson got his revenge with a timely interception). Statistically, Hodgins and James had their best games of the season. The damage could have been worse had the NYG receivers not dropped a few passes. However, the offensive line did struggle in pass protection, particularly Neal. The match-up against him and Hunter is not a good one. Also keep in mind that Barkley averaged six yards per carry, but he only carried the ball 14 times (he did have eight catches). The Giants only ran it 21 times total, with Jones having only four carries. Do the Giants go with a heavier emphasis in running the ball this time around? That may be the safer route, but it’s not usually the best for scoring points. On the flip side, it would help to keep Minnesota’s explosive offense off of the field. Tough decisions.

It’s this side of the ball where things get really interesting. There are some key take-aways from the last contest between these two teams and some significant changes.

On December 24th, the Giants allowed 23 first downs and 353 total net yards to the Vikings. The bulk of those yards came via the passing game (270 net yards). But the 83 yards in rushing is a bit misleading as Minnesota ran the ball only 18 times with their backs. This was consistent with the Vikings’ pass-centric offense all year. The good news for the NYG defense was the 4 sacks, 11 quarterback hits, 6 tackles for losses, and 7 pass defenses. The bad news was zero turnovers created, including two dropped interceptions.

There are some significant injury-related developments to note. CB Adoree’ Jackson and S Xavier McKinney missed the last game. OLB Azeez Ojulari left the game in the first half with an ankle injury after being credited with 2 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and sack. DL Leonard Williams also left the game in the second half a neck/burner issue. He returned, but his play seemed to be affected. The issue with both Ojulari and Williams is not just their availability to start a game, but to be able to play the entire contest at a high level. To be blunt, the Giants need them to stay on the field and play well through pain.

The additions of Jackson and McKinney could be huge. Fabian Moreau was abused by WR Justin Jefferson in the first game, catching 12 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. But much depends on how many snaps Jackson can play, and how rusty/effective he will be after missing two months of action. The return of McKinney increases team speed/range in the secondary, allowing for greater flexibility in covering Jefferson. The Giants can now also use McKinney, or Julian Love more since he shifts back to strong safety, in covering tight end T.J. Hockenson, who killed the Giants with 13 catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns. Landon Collins, who played 49 percent of defensive snaps in the first game, should also see more playing time in lieu of Micah McFadden, who had his issues in coverage. The domino effect on the return of McKinney should not be underestimated. Love could be a huge player in this game as a moveable chess piece. Love may also have a chip on his shoulder after just missing breaking up a touchdown pass to Hockenson in the first game.

For the Giants, there is good and bad news on the Minnesota injury front. In the first contest, Dexter Lawerence absolutely abused the back-up center. However, the Vikings get starting center Garrett Bradbury back. That’s a big deal. On the flip side, starting right tackle Brian O’Neill is out this time around. That should help the Giants’ edge rushers. Both O’Neill and LT Christian Darrisaw were a strength up front and now one of them is missing.

On Christmas Eve, the bulk of the Minnesota offense was Kirk Cousins throwing to Jefferson and Hockenson (25 of the 34 receptions and 242 of the 299 receiving yards). Running back Dalvin Cook also added 64 yards on 14 carries (4.6 yards per rush). The game plan is obvious. Try to limit the damage by Jefferson and Hockenson. When Cousins does put the ball in harm’s way, catch it. So much will depend on the availability/effectiveness of Adoree’ Jackson against Jefferson. The Giants should be in better position to deal with Hockenson this time around. The wild card is Dalvin Cook. He can break off game-changing runs if the defense is not careful.

Terrible protection in the first game caused a punt block that set up the Vikings on a short field for an easy touchdown. Expect Minnesota to be coming after Jamie Gillan on every punt. All six New York kickoffs resulted in touchbacks in the first game. I hope that continues and the Giants simply avoid flirting with kickoff coverage breakdowns. Kick returner Kene Nwangwu was voted second-team All-Pro.

Head Coach Brian Daboll on playing the Vikings again: “I think any time you play a team for a second time – Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas – you always watch the previous game. That’s part of the preparation process. But we are full steam ahead on preparing, watching the games that they have played after us. We’ve already watched all the games before that. So, it’s really like playing another division team that you just played a few weeks ago and doing everything you can to prepare the right way.”

Barring something strange happening, this is going to be a really close game again, probably a contest that comes down to a field goal. When you have two teams like this who play tight games almost every week, it usually comes down to things like red-zone efficiency and turnovers. Tell me who won those two stats on Sunday night and I’ll tell you who won the game. I would not be shocked if the Giants try to cross up the Vikings in the game and use a heavy dose of Barkley on the ground, perhaps doubling his carry total from the first game. They could also use more RPO with Jones to slow down the edge rushers.

Dec 272022
Isaiah Hodgins, New York Giants (December 24, 2022)

Isaiah Hodgins – © USA TODAY Sports


-Daniel Jones: 30/42 – 334 yards / 1 TD – 1 INT / 92.8 RAT

Jones added 34 yards on the ground and a successful two-point conversion attempt in a do-or-die situation in the fourth quarter, down two points. From a big picture perspective, this was the best I have seen Jones play all year. The 42 attempts were tied for the fourth-most of his career, second-most of the season. He had a stretch where he completed 22-of-24 passes. He gained a season-high 17 first downs via the air and added two more on the ground. On paper, this was a very good game by Jones. When I took a deeper look, I came away with the same impression.

Jones’ movement in the pocket was brilliant. His clock was spot on, his footwork while keeping his eyes downfield was clean, accuracy was a plus, and decision making was near-perfect. The one blemish was, of course, the fourth-quarter interception on the drive following MIN’s go-ahead touchdown. The ball was intercepted in the red zone, and it was a misplaced ball. Jones had two other bad throws. Nobody can demand perfection out of him, but when you see his stat line and add in the fact Saquon Barkley had another strong day, settling on just 20 points is a loss for the offense overall. While there were other issues stemming from the line, the Bellinger fumble, and the drop by Richie James, the interception was a big-time miss in a big-time situation. He also fumbled earlier in the game (did not result in a turnover) where his ball security technique was the main culprit. This game causes more confliction. For almost the entire game I was ready to say this was the best we have seen out of Jones all year when breaking all elements down. Then, the ill-timed interception. I see vast improvement across multiple components to the position, but once again he left me wanting more.


-Saquon Barkley: 14 att – 84 yards – 1 TD / 8 rec – 49 yards

Another explosive game by Barkley. Elite movement across multiple forms. One of his best yard-after-contact games of the year and a clutch touchdown that stemmed from good vision and aggression. Barkley is trusting the play designs and I cannot stress enough how big of a difference that is. Even the runs that end up not being there, the 1-3 yard gains make such a difference over the 1-3 yard losses in an offense that is working with such a small margin. 26 touches for #26 is right where this team needs to be down the stretch, at least. One thing I want to see more is him getting the ball on screens or splitting him out wide and moving him on cross-routes.

-Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell barely saw the field. Breida gained 9 yards on 2 carries and Brightwell lost a yard on his lone touch. The 91% snap share that Barkley had in this game was the most we have seen since Week 4. All chips are being used now and there is no more pacing the race. I expect to see this again against IND.


-Isaiah Hodgins: 8 rec / 89 yards / 1 TD

Hodgins came up with several underneath receptions that displayed his ideal blend of quality route-running and contact-strength. He then added the best catch we have seen all year out of a NYG receiver up the sideline for 29 yards. When you want to see if a receiver is capable of extending himself to the limit while moving at his top rate of speed, this is the kind of tape you use as the barometer. Hodgins has never been and will never be a deep threat. He simply is not fast enough. But the ball skills are there in every sense of the term. Hands, concentration, timing, and coordination. He is playing his way into a 2023 roster spot and has elevated the entire passing game. What a good find!

-Richie James, a week after I discussed how reliable his hands have been this season (top 10 in NFL), had one of the biggest gaffes of the game. A third-down drop where no defender was near him on a simple, short, slant route and pass. He did catch 8 balls for a team-high 90 yards including a season-high 33 yarder. I was curious how he would respond following the big drop. He dropped another ball two drives later. These are the facts that will come up when the decision makers decide his fate with NYG in a few months, especially considering he is a slot-only target.

-Darius Slayton had a drop early (a difficult catch, I will say) but responded with a couple of big plays later on. He had 4 catches for 79 yards, continuing to be the team’s top playmaker at the position. On a scaled version, this receiver room is put together in a balanced manner. Slayton is the big play guy, James is the slot, and Hodgins is the possession/underneath safety blanket. If this passing game is going to stay at the level we saw in this game, Slayton needs to continue his solid play. 478 yards / 28 catches (17.1 per, way above his career average) since Week 10. Just one touchdown over that span and just two on the year. I think we are right on the brink of seeing a big score on a big play here. He is 41 yards away from a career-high for a single season.


-Daniel Bellinger caught both of his targets and they totaled 27 yards. The glaring issue was the fumble in the red zone at the start of the second quarter that would have resulted in a first down had he held onto it. While any turnover hurts, this one had a little extra bite to it. Like Jones, NYG was heading toward a score and this mistake took the wind out of the sails. Bellinger continues his steady performance as a blocker. That is not necessarily a complement as I am still seeing too many losses. But he has not regressed, and he is showing enough quality there to maintain the positive long-term outlook I have on him.

-Nick Vannett saw just five snaps as NYG spent almost the entire game in 11 personnel (3 WR + 1 RB + 1 TE).


-The MIN pass rush is one of the best seven in football over the last 5-6 weeks. As Danielle Hunter heats up (I think he is a top 5 edge defender when healthy), the group overall is brought to an even higher level. Hunter got the best out of Evan Neal for most of the game. The rookie right tackle allowed 4 pressures and 1.5 sacks. The half-sack was hard to peg on him because of the movement in the pocket. The lone-sack and a couple of his pressures were almost as bad as you are going to find when it comes to one-on-one pass rushing. I try not to compare him to Andrew Thomas too much, but I know some have asked about looking at Neal’s rookie year and putting it next to Thomas’ rookie year. To me, they both struggled, but it isn’t close. Thomas had more hand-placement and timing issues. Neal’s footwork is a complete mess, his balance isn’t getting any better, and I don’t see the “learn from mistakes” progress. It is early and nobody can write him off or bring up the “move to OG” talk yet. But in relation to NYG and their 2022 season, his play is mightily hurting this passing game. His saving grace is the above-average run blocking he provides. All in-line roles have been quality. I still see issues in space, though.

-Andrew Thomas allowed a pressure that led to an eventual sack and then a half-sack himself. Safe to say his play has fallen off over the past month. Still a very good left tackle in a league that does not have many of them but no, not an All-Pro. Not yet.

-Mark Glowinski allowed two pressures and a TFL to former NYG second rounder Dalvin Tomlinson. That is a guy I miss seeing in blue, but it was likely the right call to let him walk. Anyway, Glowinski played better after a rough start but the lack of explosion off the ball prevents him from winning at the point- of-attack when lined up across from a strong and fast defender. If he can get some space to build up his movement and power, he does well. We saw that on the combo blocks and then when he peeled off to the second level. He had a couple key blocks on big runs.

-Ben Bredeson and Nick Gates continue to split snaps. Hard to tell who the better player is, to be honest. Bredeson got walked back by the bull rush a couple times, but he does a better job of staying on his man. Gates has been struggling there a bit. Bredeson did allow a sack and a pressure. Gates was flagged for a huge false start on 2nd-and-6, which killed the drive. He was also flagged for a hold but upon second look, I believe the ref got the wrong number. It was center Jon Feliciano. The center played a poor game. Three pressures from a center are too many. MIN went with a stunt-heavy approach and his tracking + body control was all over the place. That said, like Glowinski, he came up with a couple key blocks in the running game including Barkley’s touchdown.


-Azeez Ojulari went down again with an injury. He had a sack in the first half, and they could have used him in those big moments of the second half. The lower body injuries with this kid are piling up and it does concern me. Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux, coming off NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, had 2 pressures and 6 tackles. Another good pursuit-game for him but he did get caught out of position on the screen pass to Justin Jefferson that set up MIN for the game-winning field goal. Over-committing is the glaring issue in his game right now.

-Jihad Ward had 4 tackles, 2 pressures, and a pass break up. Solid game for him as they kept him out of space-situations for nearly the entire game. Oshane Ximines saw his playing time tick up in the second half after the Ojulari injury, but he did not impact the game much. He was almost in on a sack, but Leonard Williams got there first a second before.


-Dexter Lawrence returned to his dominant ways despite playing just 75% of the snaps. Three straight weeks he is at that percentage or lower. He led the team with 5 pressures, one of which caused a sack. Lawrence is also showing outstanding awareness against middle screens. He sniffed two of them out and immediately broke on the play. Amazing to see a player this big move this fast.

-Leonard Williams aggravated a neck/shoulder injury on a missed tackle in the third quarter. He was having a disruptive game up until then with 4 tackles, 1 sack, a half-TFL, and 1 pressure. This defense is going to be dependent on this front four taking over against the porous IND offensive line next week. The question will be, if he plays, how much do you play him? 50% of the snaps getting the most out of him? Or 80+% of the snaps and risk injury in addition to a scaled back version of him. Tough call.

-Rookie Ryder Anderson can help answer the question. He had 2 tackles and a half-TFL. This marks the third-straight week the undrafted free agent has made a play behind the line of scrimmage. While he still plays like a weak link against the power-run game, it is an encouraging sign to see him make plays like this.

-Justin Ellis and Henry Mondeaux did not see the field much, and when they did, they weren’t very effective.


-MIN went pass-heavy on offense, but the inside running game gashed the NYG defense a few times. While I am not in the meeting rooms, these big running plays appear to be on the shoulders of linebackers Micah McFadden and Jaylon Smith. They are dancing with the blockers 4-5 yards from the line of scrimmage and a back like Dalvin Cook can toy with those creases all day. They did combine for 18 tackles, and both made plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. It was not a complete washout for them, but quality running games are going to eat these two up. In coverage, McFadden was abused on the first T.J. Hockenson touchdown. He simply cannot be relied on in space when dropping back. No feel, no length, no downfield speed.

-Landon Collins is becoming a more consistent presence on the defense. He had 4 tackles, 1 sack, and a third down pass break up as he played more than 25 snaps for the second week in a row. There are issues that come from him playing more and more, but I do think he is the lesser of two evils when looking at him and McFadden.


-Justin Jefferson is the best wide receiver in football. It is hard to look down on Fabian Moreau for getting torched by him, but it is the truth. You can see these two are not even in the same class when it comes to movement traits. He allowed almost all of the 10 targets thrown his way to be completed and was penalized for pass interference on a play where he intercepted a pass at the end of the second half.

-Cor’Dale Flott is improving every week. This is a good sign and exactly what many were hopeful for down the stretch of his rookie season. His 41 snaps tied a career high, and he added 2 tackles along with a pass break-up. That break-up was originally ruled an interception, but after reviewing it was clear the ball hit the ground. His movement traits are a step ahead of everyone else in this corner group.

-Nick McCloud and Darnay Holmes both walk away with positive grades for different reasons. McCloud’s was more coverage-based. While Adam Thielen has lost a step, McCloud blanketed him for most of the game. Excellent anticipation and feel. Holmes was beat multiple times, but his physical play made a difference in key moments down the stretch. Late in the game, he had a high-level third-down tackle and then a fourth-down pass break up on the next play. This was in the fourth quarter right before the NYG drive where Richie James dropped the third-down conversion pass, but NYG still put up three points to pull within one. As I said last week, teams are attacking him in key moments. The success rate overall is still low, but Holmes has the play-making potential, and he remains aggressive. That will end up making a positive difference at times.


-Julian Love and Jason Pinnock both played every snap. Both played a solid game, but between the two they did not make any game-changing plays. The defense could have used something here. Tall ask, I know. But in the league right now, we are seeing safeties make outcome-altering, or at least momentum-altering, plays at some point. While these two are more-than solid, that will need to be the next step for both. We need to see turnovers and/or plays behind the line of scrimmage at some point. Love allowed a touchdown on a play where tight end T.J. Hockenson made a catch that could not be defended. A brilliant play by him. That play also shows something you will hear me talk about often come draft time. Length matters, a lot. If his radius was just another 2-3 inches, I bet that pass is broken up. But he stands under 5’11” and his arms are under 32”. That brings us to 3 inches below average for league safeties when it comes to overall reach.

-Dane Belton played just one snap and Tony Jefferson had 1 tackle and 1 miss.


-K Graham Gano: 3/3 (Made 44, 44, 55)
-P Jamie Gillian: 3 punts / 43.0 avg; 30.5 net (1 punt blocked)


-WR Isaiah Hodgins, DT Dexter Lawrence, K Graham Gano


-LB Micah McFadden, OT Evan Neal, TE Daniel Bellinger


(1) MIN is now 11-0 in one-score games. There are two ways of looking at this. One, they aren’t head-and-shoulders above most teams they play against. They’re just +5 points in scoring differential. For comparison sake, the other first place teams in the league are: +157, +85, +22, +`106, +137, -38 (TB), and +145. Two, it means they are battle-tested in tight situations. They have more experience in tight-margin contests. And I do believe it helps in the playoffs. What is the conclusion here? This team is very beatable if NYG cross paths with them again. Very.

(2) Does anyone see how the MIN template relates to NYG? Especially on offense. A highly-paid quarterback who nobody is going to mistake for a top tier guy, but he is “good enough.” A high-quality running back who they locked into a long-term deal. Multiple first round picks along the offensive line. What is next for NYG if you are viewing this as the route to go? Drafting a first-round wide receiver (remember Jefferson was a #22 overall pick), quality depth behind him (veterans and picks), and constant day 1-2 draft picks used on the line. MIN’s entire offensive line is homegrown. They’re all 1st or 2nd rounders. And they’ve all been taken in the past five drafts.

(3) In the same breath, all of those resources put into the offense caused a lack of resources put into the defensive backfield. They’re overly reliant on Patrick Peterson and mid-to-late round picks in the secondary. If/when this team runs into a quality passing attack, it will do them in. It is not a coincidence the NYG passing game looked good against them.


(1) Win and in. NYG is right where a lot of teams want to be. Fortunately because of losses by WAS, DET, and SEA, they are in the best possible spot heading into a match-up against IND. I watched every snap of the IND game last night against LAC and I don’t think there are any teams in the NFL worse than IND. Things could not be lined up better for their final home game of the year. They have not won there since November 13 (vs HOU). Get the crowd in it, play clean football, and win the damn game. All hands on desk, you can rest Week 18. No questions asked. No excuses allowed.

(2) Watching Justin Jefferson run routes, track the ball, and create after the catch is such a bar setter. He is the top WR in football when looking at the combination of his traits. It also shows how far the gap is between what NYG has at corner and what exists out there at receiver. We will have plenty of time to discuss this once the season is over, but trying to up the quality at corner is a must-get for this team. Whether you believe in Adoree’ Jackson or not is irrelevant. NYG needs such a boost in quality at corner. Trust me, I know, it is a hard position to accurately project. That said, the 2022 rookie class at corner is having an enormous impact on the league right now.

(3) What does NYG have a tight end? I may have anticipated too much from Daniel Bellinger when he came back from the eye injury. At the end of the day, he is a rookie fourth-rounder who I knew would not provide above-average play right away. That is a tall ask for someone at that position. Because of how little depth they had at tight end when he went down, I simply thought we would see more. The blocking has been below average, but he did add an element to the passing game prior to the injury. We haven’t seen it come back yet. It is a subtle but important element to the offense.

Dec 242022
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 24, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants were leading heading into the 4th quarter and tied the game with two minutes left, but too many costly mistakes led to a disappointing 27-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The Vikings kicked a 61-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. With the loss, the Giants fell to 8-6-1 on the season.

Both teams accrued 23 first downs apiece and the time of possession was also just about even. But the Giants surprisingly had more total yards (445 to 353), net yards rushing (126 to 83), and net yards passing (319 to 270) than the Vikings. Yet while the Giants dropped three potential interceptions, the Vikings won the turnover battle 2-0 and also blocked a punt that led to points.

Both teams punted twice on each of their first two drives of the 1st quarter. Minnesota then went up 7-0 after a far-too-easy, 8-play, 84-yard drive that resulted in a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kirk Cousins to tight end T.J. Hockenson.

On the ensuing possession, the Giants gained 37 yards on four straight plays. Then on the first play of the 2nd quarter, quarterback Daniel Jones completed a 16-yard pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger to the Minnesota 23-yard line. However, Bellinger fumbled and the Vikings returned the loose ball to their own 36-yard line. Ten plays and 42 yards later, the Vikings kicked a 40-yard field goal that gave them a 10-0 advantage.

The Giants responded with a 10-play, 69-yard drive. On 2nd-and-goal, Jones threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins to cut the score to 10-7.

The Giants forced a quick three-and-out. A promising drive late in the 2nd quarter by Giants that moved the ball from their own 9-yard line to the Minnesota 45-yard line was sabotaged by a sack and then a deflected pass on 3rd-and-9. The Giants punted with 43 seconds left. The Vikings’ Hail Mary attempt ended with a sack by defensive lineman Leonard Williams.

At the half, the Vikings led 10-7.

The Giants received the ball to start the 3rd quarter and immediately proceeded to tie the game. New York gained 49 yards in eight plays to set up a 44-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. The Vikings picked up one first down and then punted. The Giants put together their second scoring drive, but again were forced to settle for another 44-yard field goal. After facing a 2nd-and-6 from the Minnesota 19-yard line, a false start by left guard Nick Gates and a 3rd-and-9 sack also sabotaged the possession. Nevertheless, the Giants were now up 13-10 late in the 3rd quarter.

A big momentum shift occurred on the ensuing possession by the Vikings. On 2nd-and-6 from their own 29-yard line, it originally appeared that cornerback Cor’Dale Flott intercepted Cousins at the New York 40-yard line. However, the ruling on the field was reversed by instant replay. The drive continued and ended with a 15-yard touchdown throw on 3rd-and-5 despite heavy pressure on the quarterback and good coverage on Hockenson. In all, Minnesota gained 75 yards in 12 plays to take a 17-13 lead early in the 4th quarter.

Matters got worse for New York on the ensuing possession as Jones was intercepted by cornerback Patrick Peterson. The interception was returned to the Minnesota 29-yard line. However, the New York defense held when the Vikings went for it on 4th-and-2 from the Giants’ 44-yard line. Cousins’ deep pass was broken up by cornerback Darnay Holmes. The Giants gained one first down, but on 3rd-and-5, wide receiver Richie James dropped a pass from Jones. Gano kicked a 55-yard field goal to cut the score to 17-16.

The New York defense forced a quick three-and-out, and with 4:24 left in the game, the Giants got the ball back at their own 25-yard line, down by one point. However, the Giants also went three-and-out, and on 4th-and-4, punter Jamie Gillan’s punt was blocked, setting up Minnesota at the New York 29-yard line with four minutes left in the contest.

The game looked to be over at the 3-minute mark when Cousins found wide receiver Justin Jefferson for a 17-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-10. The Vikings now led 24-16. But the Giants quickly made things interesting again. In just 59 seconds, New York drove 75 yards in seven plays, including a 32-yard pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton and a 27-yard touchdown run by running back Saquon Barkley on 4th-and-2. Jones then found Bellinger in the back of the end zone for the 2-point conversion. With 2:01 left on the clock, the game was tied at 24-24.

Minnesota began their game-winning drive at their own 25-yard line. What killed the Giants was Cousins completing a 16-yard pass to Jefferson on 3rd-and-9 and then a 17-yard pass to Jefferson on 3rd-and-11. The latter came on a play where the Giants blitzed and Jefferson hurt the Giants on a wide receiver screen. With four seconds left on the clock, place kicker Greg Joseph nailed a 61-yard field goal as time expired.

Jones finished the game 30-of-42 for 334 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He rushed four times for 34 yards and was sacked three times. James (90 yards), Hodgins (89 yards, one touchdown), and Barkley (49 yards) each caught eight passes. Barkley gained 84 yards on 14 carries and also scored a touchdown.

The defense held the Vikings to 83 yards rushing and 270 yards passing. But Minnesota was 6-of-13 on 3rd down, including the two late 3rd-down conversions that set up the game-winning field goal. The Giants accrued four sacks, one each by linebacker Jaylon Smith, linebacker/safety Landon Collins, linebacker Azeez Ojulari, and defensive end Leonard Williams. The team was also credited with 11 quarterback hits, six tackles for losses, and six pass defenses.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

Inactive for the game were CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee), OG Shane Lemieux (toe), WR David Sills, OG Jack Anderson, and CB Rodarius Williams.

OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle) left the game in the 2nd quarter and did not return. Ojulari said after the game that x-rays on his ankle were negative and he suffered a sprain.

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:

There is no media availability to the team on Christmas. Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Dec 232022
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 18, 2022)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

A talent-deficient New York Giants team has far surpassed preseason expectations. Following up on consecutive losing seasons 3-13, 5-11, 4-12, 6-10, and 4-13, with teams with arguably equal or better in talent, the Giants were supposed to be vying for another top-10 pick. Yet with three regular-season games remaining, the Giants find themselves with an 8-5-1 record and a decent shot at a playoff spot. In terms of the big picture, the most discouraging thing to come out of this year was losing five members of the 2022 draft class to season-ending injuries as well as the Kenny Golladay/Kadarius Toney fiascos.

The victory against the Washington Commanders was the most important game this franchise has played in since 2016. Not only did it keep their playoff aspirations alive, but it had been a long time since the Giants had won a prime time, nationally-televised game. It also prevented the Giants from the ignominy of potentially going winless in the NFC East. Entering that game, the New York was fading and Washington was surging. The Giants reversed that in dramatic fashion in hostile territory.

It’s quite possible that the game against the Commanders will be the final high note of the 2022 campaign. If it is, that’s OK. The Giants have two road games remaining, one against the 11-3 Minnesota Vikings and another against the 13-1 Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants are favored to lose both. The team’s playoff aspirations may come down to the New Year’s Day home game against the Indianapolis Colts. That contest is not a gimme. None are for the 2022 New York Giants.

The most realistic, best-case scenario for the Giants moving forward would probably be similar to their 1984 season. That was another Giants team that was supposed to finish dead last in the NFC East. They hung around .500, won three critical games in a row, but faded down the stretch, losing their last two games, including a 10-3 stinker against a bad New Orleans Saints team. The Giants backed into the playoffs on the next day when the Miami Dolphins beat the Dallas Cowboys. No one gave the Giants a chance in the Wild Card round as they had to travel to Anaheim to play a Los Angeles Rams team that crushed them during the regular season. The Giants pulled off a 16-13 upset. The loss the following week to the eventual Super Bowl Champion San Francisco 49ers did not hurt so much because most knew this Giants team had pretty much gone as far as it could given its talent level at the time.

The reason I bring this all up is I am curious to see how this all ends. Is the good stuff already over? Or do the Giants have a little more magic left in them? Can they pull off an upset in Minnesota or Philadelphia? Can they clinch a playoff spot with a win over the Colts? Do we dare to dream that they can even pull off one upset in the playoffs? That’s the storyline for the final few games.


  • TE Nick Vannett (shoulder – probable)
  • OT Evan Neal (shoulder – probable)
  • OG Shane Lemieux (toe – out)
  • DL Leonard Williams (neck – probable)
  • OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (elbow – probable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee – out)

Giants fans are pretty giddy this week because of the key win against Washington. The offensive highlight of that game was the 18-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a touchdown and a 14-3 lead. However, the same basic problem that has haunted the New York offense for years now remains: an inability to score sufficient points. Take away the defensive score, and the Giants scored 13 offensive points against Washington, and six of those came on two 50-yard field goals. Not good. Despite their winning record, the Giants are -25 in point differential this season and have average only 20.5 points per game. The fewest points the team has scored is 13, the most it has scored is 27. But if you went into each game predicting the Giants would score only 20 points, there is a good chance you would hit the nail on the head, just like in three of the last four games.

The problem for the Giants is they are facing a Minnesota Vikings team that is 8th in scoring (averaging 25 points per game). The Giants are going to have to score more than 20 points to win this game. The good news is they are facing a Minnesota defense that is dead last in yards allowed (399 yards per game), being 31st against the pass and 18th against the run. They are also 28th in scoring defense, allowing almost 25 points per game. That’s why their point differential is only +2 despite their impressive 11-3 record. Of course, the 40-3 drubbing they received by the Dallas Cowboys have skewed that number a bit.

Long story short is this: if the anemic New York Giants passing offense can’t make some plays against this defense, then we will know it is as bad as it has looked all season against far better defenses. The Vikings are not the Eagles (2nd overall, 1st against the pass), Commanders (3rd, 8th), Cowboys (8th, 3rd), etc.

That said, the Vikings do have some defensive players to worry about. Edge rusher Za’Darius Smith, who moves around all over the defensive front, is one of the top pass rushers in the league with 9 sacks and the second-highest pressure rate (76). Fellow edge defender Danielle Hunter leads Minnesota with 9.5 sacks. Left corner Patrick Peterson may be on the wrong side of 30, but he’s still a good player and can shut down anyone who the Giants line up against him. Safety Harrison Smith is an instinctive, wily veteran who makes plays on the football and has five interceptions. The left defensive end is our old friend Dalvin Tomlinson. Inside linebackers Eric Kendricks and Jordan Hicks have over 230 tackles between the two of them.

The Vikings will challenge Evan Neal in pass protection as well the interior of the line with Za’Darius Smith. Since the Vikings have given up so many passing yards, the temptation will be for Brian Daboll and Mike Kakfa to open up the passing game a bit more. That might be a bit dicey with Smith and Hunter prowling around. The short-passing game that gets the ball out of Jones’ hand quickly, preventing negative plays seems to be preventing the big mistake. In addition, Saquon Barkley is coming off a strong performance and the Vikings’ run defense, while stronger than their pass defense, is still mediocre. A few more deep shots off of play action may be justified, but it may be wise to largely stick with what the team does well at this point. Keep in mind, the big reason the Giants won last weekend was they won the turnover battle. The Giants will also want to maintain long drives to keep Minnesota’s offense off of the field as much as possible.

Big picture time. Of course winning or losing this game matters. But what is more important is this game will give the Giants’ brass yet another late-season read on Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley. Monumental contract decisions are about to be made.

As mentioned above, the Vikings are 8th in scoring. They are 13th overall in yards gained, 7th in passing and 28th in rushing. That does not bode well for a New York secondary that is still without two of its top three players in safety Xavier McKinney and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson.

There are five targets to worry about in the passing game: WR Justin Jefferson (111 catches, 1,623 yards, 7 touchdowns), WR Adam Thielen (66 catches, 686 yards, 5 touchdowns), WR K.J. Osborn (45 catches, 457 yards, 4 touchdowns), TE T.J. Hockenson (39 catches, 335 yards, 1 touchdown), and RB Dalvin Cook (33 catches, 265 yards, 2 touchdowns). For comparison, the top two targets on the Giants are Barkley (47 catches, 294 yards, 0 touchdowns) and WR Richie James (42 catches, 403 yards, 3 touchdowns).

The issues with the Minnesota passing game are twofold. First, Jefferson is a monster who is “open” even when he is double-covered. He’s arguably the game’s best receiver and no cornerback on the Giants right now is going to be able to handle him on a consistent basis. The best the Giants can hope and pray for is to limit the damage he does. Second, the Vikings have the ability to spread the ball around not only to two other receivers, but also their tight end and running back. Cook is really dangerous on screen passes. The Viking offense can effectively take what the defense gives them. This is what the New York offense is missing. Barkley and Bellinger can be used in the passing game, but the Giants simply don’t have three starting-caliber wideouts to threaten defenses down the field.

The 28th in rushing stat can also be a bit misleading. Cook has over 1,000 rushing yards, had scored eight rushing touchdowns (one less than Barkley), and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry (slightly better than Barkley). That said, expect Wink Martindale to once again play more defensive backs and take his chances with a lighter defensive front against the run (one of the key reasons why the Giants are 30th in run defense). In a nutshell, Wink has to pick his poison. He just doesn’t have the defensive backs to play it straight up.

Many eyes will be on “Defensive Player of the Week” Kayvon Thibodeaux, but Kayvon and Azeez Ojulari will be facing two good tackles in LT Christian Darrisaw and RT Brian O’Neill. Darrisaw is playing outstanding football in particular. The good news for the Giants is starting center Garrett Bradbury is out and the two guards have struggled in pass protection. This is game where Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence both could make a lot of noise.

QB Kirk Cousins has thrown for 24 touchdowns. He will likely go over 4,000 yards in this game. But he also has thrown 11 interceptions and fumbled five times (losing two). At times, he has had issues dealing with the blitz. I would expect some exotic looks from Martindale in this one.

Graham Gano is a big reason why the Giants are still alive. Jamie Gillan has also been punting better, including his kicks being downed inside the 20. The return game is still dicey however. For the Vikings, Kene Nwangwu has returned one kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown this year. On the flip side, the Vikings have had three kicks blocked this year (two by the kicker and one by the punter).

Head Coach Brian Daboll on Justin Jefferson: “Teams have him double teamed and a safety over the top of him, and Cousins is still throwing it to him. And you tell the quarterback, ‘Hey, there’s two guys there and a safety over there,’ but he trusts him. He’s an exceptional player. He’s tough to defend… They move him everywhere. So, obviously, he’s smart… He played in the slot; he played outside. Again, he’s a fun guy to watch when you’re not getting ready to play him. I’ve got a lot of respect for his game and what he’s done in the early part of his career.”

Both teams are coming off emotional wins, but the Vikings had one more day to prepare and did not lose a day to travel. Minnesota is also 7-1 at home. Without McKinney and Jackson, it’s tough to see how the Giants are going to match-up against the Minnesota passing game. Cook is also very capable of running wild. In addition, unless the Giants win the turnover margin again by +2 or more, it’s also tough to see the Giants scoring more than 20-24 points. That all said, if the Giants keep this close, or somehow manage to pull off the upset, this would be another statement win late in the season on par with the Commanders game.

Oct 072019
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (October 6, 2019)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

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Minnesota Vikings 28 – New York Giants 10


The former division foe Kirk Cousins returned to MetLife Stadium, this time as a member of the 2-2 Minnesota Vikings. Cousins, who came in with a 3-5 career record against NYG, has always feasted on poor defenses and non-playoff teams. The Giants, a non-playoff team with the 25th-ranked defense, entered the game without their top three inside linebackers and a starting outside linebacker in addition to Saquon Barkley still being sidelined by an ankle injury. With the Eli Manning era in the rear view mirror, hopes were that the results against MIN would change, as he was 3-6 with a 56.1 QBR against them, the lowest QBR of any team he ever faced.

For the first time all season, NYG did not score on their opening drive. They were up against the 6th-ranked defense in the NFL, by far the stiffest test of Daniel Jones’ inaugural season. That defense gave Jones and the offense multiple opportunities to make something happen but, as was the case all afternoon, Big Blue did not capitalize. In addition to the initial “0” on the scoreboard, running back Wayne Gallman jogged off the field after a violent hit to the head. It ended his game, leaving just UDFA Jon Hilliman and fullback Elijhaa Penny remaining in the backfield.

Already up 3-0, MIN got the ball back and picked up chunk gains en route to an 11-play, touchdown-scoring drive. They barely broke a sweat, as the defense forced a 3rd down only two times, the second of which resulted in a 15-yard pass from Cousins to Adam Thielen for the 6 points.

Thanks to a 52-yard kick return by rookie Corey Ballentine, NYG began their next drive at midfield and it took just 5 plays to reach the end zone. A picture-perfect pass and a picture-perfect catch from rookie Daniel Jones to rookie Darius Slayton on a 35-yard ball that beat one of the better corners in the NFL, Xavier Rhodes, put this game at 10-7. The crowd got back into it and the team was showing some of the fight they put in display in their previous two weeks, both wins.

MIN was stuffed on 3rd-and-6 on the ensuing drive via a sack by Dexter Lawrence and Markus Golden, however an illegal contact penalty called on Janoris Jenkins gave MIN new life and they were able to march into field goal range and re-take the lead, 13-7. MIN drove the ball deep into NYG territory on their next possession but on that drive, MIN running back Dalvin Cook fumbled twice. The first time resulted in no damage but the second one, just a few yards shy of the end zone, was recovered by Tuzar Skipper. NYG was gaining momentum but they had to start their drive on their own 1-yard line.

Head Coach Pat Shurmur opted to try and get some breathing room via the inside run, something we all knew wasn’t going to be very productive today. MIN, as they did all afternoon, aggressively sent multiple defenders up the inside lanes and it was Anthony Barr who leaked through and put Hilliman on the ground almost immediately after he got the ball. The play resulted in a safety and NYG was down 15-7. They soon put up another 3 points after another rather easy drive into NYG territory. The MIN offense was doing whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted, however they wanted against the NYG defense. MIN took a commanding 18-7 lead into the half. While it was only 11 points, MIN had out-gained NYG 351-92 to this point. Those 351 yards were the second most by any team in the first half of a game all year across the league.

MIN had two big penalties on the opening NYG offensive drive in the second half. A horse collar tackle by Rhodes after a 12-yard completion to Slayton put NYG into MIN territory. Later, on a 27-yard field goal attempt, former Giant Linval Joseph roughed up snapper Zak DeOssie, giving the Giants a fresh slate of downs at the 5-yard line. The offensive line started to fully crumble at this point, as center Jon Halapio was flagged for a hold and Mike Remmers allowed a sack. It was yet another opportunity missed. NYG ended up settling for a 32-yard field goal by Rosas, making the score 18-10.

MIN needed just 5 plays, again, to get into the end zone as Cousins found Thielen for another score, making it 25-10. Thanks to three separate MIN penalties that gave NYG three first downs, NYG found themselves just a few yards away from the end zone. They had two shots at it from inside the 5-yard line but it resulted in 0 points. The score remained 25-10 as the fourth quarter began. If you’re keeping track, that is two straight possessions where NYG had a combined 8 plays from inside the MIN 10 yard line an they netted 3 points total in that span.

After a quick stop, NYG got the ball inside the MIN 30-yard line again and once again, NYG walked away with 0 points. With time starting to dwindle and the MIN running game continuing to gain what they needed when they needed, 5 more minutes came off the clock and 3 more points when up next to the “MIN” on the scoreboard.

It was 28-10 and the Giants offense had to really start forcing things. Their next drive didn’t last long, as Jones was intercepted for the first time of the day by Barr, the same player that made the tackle that resulted in the safety early on. MIN bled the clock out and that was it.

NYG loses 28-10.


-Daniel Jones: 21/38 – 182 yards – 1 TD / 1 INT. Jones also gained 12 yards on the ground via 3 carries. After two starts against bottom-third defenses, we knew Jones was going to have his handful against the Mike Zimmer-led defense that entered the game #6 in the NFL. In addition, play caller Pat Shurmur worked under Zimmer prior to accepting the job here in NY, thus there had to have been a little extra forecasting going on. That is exactly what seemed to be the case, as MIN had a quick and aggressive response for Jones in almost every situation. He didn’t have a lot of space to work with in the pocket and the timing of things just wasn’t there. Jones missed Sterling Shepard two times on plays that should have been touchdowns and he took a sack on 4th-and-goal from the 3-yard line. This was a necessary experience for Jones and in a series full of “first times”, just add this one to the list in addition to the upcoming short week.


Jon Hilliman: 9 att / 20 yards – 1 rec / 4 yards. Hilliman took over the first string running back spot once Wayne Gallman went down with a concussion. Hilliman, who did not earn a 53-man roster job at the end of training camp. Hilliman, who was the number three rusher on a 1-11 Rutgers team in 2018. That was the presence in the backfield behind Jones against a top tier NFL defense. It went as well as expected, as he never posed as a threat and averaged 2.2 yards per carry.

-Wayne Gallman left early with a concussion and I would bet my bottom dollar he will be out this week against NE because of the short rest. Elijhaa Penny, a fullback who has a few running back traits, finished with 15 yards on 3 carries in addition to a 4-yard catch. I’m sure NYG will bring in a back this week for depth purposes, but I project Penny to be pretty involved.


-Darius Slayton: 4 rec / 62 yards / 1 TD. Slayton and Jones have an obvious connection and it put up the early 7 points for NYG. His development this season will be very important for next year, as he figures to be a key component to the future passing game. Slayton only saw 5 targets but he made the most of them. I like the ability to push the secondary but he is also proving to be more than just a deep guy. His routes and awareness near the sidelines look good.

-Sterling Shepard had 5 catches for 49 yards on 10 targets but his stat line could have been so much stronger if Jones had hit his spots. Shepard was getting open up and down the field against man coverage all afternoon but he just couldn’t get on the same page as Jones.

-In Golden Tate’s first game in a Giants uniform, he caught the first pass of the game and went into hiding for the majority of the contest after. He finished with 3 rec / 13 yards while playing two-thirds of the team’s snaps. I wouldn’t say he looked rusty but he didn’t look like the Tate I have seen in the past. This was also a tough game to evaluate, as the passing game just didn’t reach a flow consistently.


-Evan Engram: 6 rec / 42 yards. Engram once again led the team in targets, this time with 11. He is the most dangerous threat on this offense when Barkley isn’t out there and MIN did a great job containing him. He saw a lot of bracket coverage besides routes into the flat. Engram had a drop and was manhandled twice in the running game in addition to being flagged for a hold. The MIN defensive ends are as physical and powerful as it gets and these are guys Engram just won’t be able to compete against. Engram had 2 balls that hit his hands that he didn’t bring in. I did not label them drops, but big-time players have to make those plays.

-In a game where NYG basically gave up on running the ball, Rhett Ellison’s impact was minimal.


-Bad day overall for this group. MIN has a formidable defensive front, a position group I would rank in the top 5 across the league. Mike Zimmer also dialed up a lot of complex blitzes and stunts and the lack of chemistry along the OL with a rookie QB was exposed.

-Nate Solder and Mike Remmers couldn’t seal the edge nor could they anchor their positions. Solder was flagged for 2 holds and also allowed a pressure and a sack. Remmers allowed 2 pressures and a sack but actually graded out worse of the two, as his inability to hold the point-of-attack made things really tight for Jones to work within the pocket. While he has been an upgrade over what NYG dealt with in recent years (Bobby Hart / Chad Wheeler), Remmers has been a let down so far.

-The interior wasn’t much better. In fact, if you’re Kevin Zeitler and Jon Halapio, you graded out worse than both the tackles. There were multiple miscommunications between the two, as they were visibly frustrated with each other after a couple passing plays where MIN generated pressure and on the safety where LB Anthony Barr ran straight through their gap to make the tackle. Zeitler allowed a pressure, a TFL, and had an allowed sack cancelled by a questionable illegal contact penalty by MIN. Halapio constantly got minimal to no push in the running game and was flagged for a penalty for illegally going downfield too early on a screen. Will Hernandez allowed 2 pressures and a sack as well.


-With no Lorenzo Carter in the picture, it was Tuzar Skipper and Oshane Ximines playing opposite of Markus Golden. Skipper and Ximines were both overwhelmed against the outside running game and it helped create the space for Dalvin Cook to really get going. When that guy reaches space, he is near-unstoppable. Skipper and Ximines got picked on in this one and offered near-nothing as pass rushers.

-Golden had 5 tackles and a sack with 2 pressures. He has been a steady outside presence and also made a couple physical hits in the running game. His is getting more and more nimble as the weeks go which tells me his confidence in growing.


-Dexter Lawrence had a sack nullified by a holding penalty in the secondary but he recorded one in the fourth quarter. He had 5 tackles in addition along with a forced fumble and looks like he may be the best player on the entire defense.

-Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill were a tough evaluation in this one. MIN employs a zone-blocking scheme where they really get guys moving laterally. Both seemed to struggle against it, as they were on skates multiple times and ended up creating massive cutback lanes for the MIN backs. Hill did record 5 tackles and he forced Cousins into quick decisions as a passer a few times, but Tomlinson’s lack if impact continues.

-R.J. McIntosh had a sack and a pressure from his 3-4 DE role. He can shoot the gap well and should factor more and more on passing downs throughout the season.


-No Alec Ogletree. No Tae Davis. No Ryan Connelly. Upon further review of the defense’s horrid performance, much of it can be attributed to the lack of impact along the second level. I respect the grit and hustle that both David Mayo and Nate Stupar bring to the table but this got ugly fast. Neither were filling lanes which allowed the OL to reach them 3-5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. At that point, the lanes are wide open for the running backs and with a head full of steam, that is nearly impossible to stop. Both were concrete blocks against the lateral-route passing game MIN had success with all game as well. This is going to be a problem as long as these two are in there.

-Josiah Tauaefa got his first NFL regular season action after being called up from the practice squad. He responded with 3 tackles, including 2 TFL. Don’t sleep on this kid, as he led NYG in tackles during preseason and he shows more downhill presence as a run defender.


-Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker did an OK job defending the outside. Both, however, were awful against the run. Jenkins had 2 missed tackles and Baker had 1 himself. They were both part of the horrid secondary tackling stemming from poor angles and poor technique. Baker still lacks confidence, as he is too-often falling in coverage and tripping over his own feet. He fell to the ground on an Adam Thielen touchdown where he could have been in position to break up the pass had he not. He was also flagged for a taunting penalty when NYG was holding on for dear life. A free 15 yards from the rook.

-Grant Haley was torched in this one. He allowed a touchdown to Thielen and continues to show he has no ability to defend downfield passes and routes. The turnaround speed isn’t there and the lack of size exposes a lack of ability to make up for getting beat off the ball.


-Even though Antoine Bethea led the team with 11 tackles and a few of those were very high quality, his lack of speed and twitch is hurting this defense on a weekly basis. The 35-year old took a couple of awful angles at Dalvin Cook and was promptly burned for it.

-Jabrill Peppers saw some more LB-type action in this one and that is one of the positives he brings to a defense. He is effective in multiple roles. He had 5 tackles, a TFL, and a forced fumble on a Dalvin Cook run that would have put MIN inside the NYG 5 yard line with a fresh slate of downs. He got beat across the middle on a couple crossing routes, however.

-Sean Chandler saw some action in this one (10 plays) and ended up missing 2 tackles and allowing a 3rd-down conversion where his lack of presence and aggression caused the chains to move. Hesitation and poor tackling, not a good combination for that position.


-K Aldrick Rosas: 1/1 (Made 32).

-P Riley Dixon: 3 punts – 44.7 avg / 33.0 net.


-WR Darius Slayton, S Jabrill Peppers, DT Dexter Lawrence


-OG Kevin Zeitler, LB Nate Stupar, CB Grant Haley


  1. I have picked MIN to win the NFC North for 4 straight years. In 2016 they finished 3rd, in 2017 they finished 1st, in 2018 they finished 2nd, and right now they are currently 3rd. They are one of the most inconsistent teams in the league and what I mean by that is, when this team is on they can beat anybody and I mean that. Their defense is strong on every level and they have one of the best RB/WR combinations in the league. Shaky QB play and an inconsistent OL has held them back but it looks like they are on the verge of turning both of those corners. If they do, I think they can be considered a legit Super Bowl contender.
  1. Anthony Barr has long-been one of my favorite defenders in the league. How many guys that measure 6’5/255 can play in coverage like does? But also rush the passer with a developed skill set? And then also explode downhill and drive a running back through the ground? MIN was smart to sign him long term and even though he doesn’t always blow up the stat sheet, the amount of things he can do at a high level in one game week to week is rare.
  1. MIN has been one of the better drafting teams in the NFL, particularly on defense. It is amazing how hitting on these high picks can make your team competitive year in, year out. Danielle Hunter, Everson Griffen, Shamar Stephen, Antony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Ben Gedeon, Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes, Harrison Smith, Mike Hughes….go find me a team with a better homegrown defense than that. You won’t.


  1. There were a number of signs in this game that this team isn’t ready to compete. NYG had several opportunities to take advantage of MIN mistakes, but they did not. They had two straight possessions where they had a combined 8 plays inside the MIN 10-yard line. That netted NYG 3 total points. MIN left Sterling Shepard all alone for a touchdown on 2 occasions and they did not result in any touchdowns. MIN got penalized 12 times (5 of which resulted in NYG 1st downs) while NYG was penalized just 5 times. All these should have at least made this a game because good teams capitalize on mistakes made my the opposition and NYG walked out of this one with…10 points. Not good. Not ready.
  1. Let’s not start this “sky is falling” mindset when thinking about this team. My thought that these guys will be sub .500 squad has never wavered. Sure, things can happen and we still want them to “go for it”. But in all reality there are holes all over the place and when NYG has faced off against quality opponents, they haven’t gotten the job done. They are a few steps behind and much of this year will be about finding the guys who will be the nucleus for years to come.
  1. Whether or not Saquon Barkley dresses for the game Thursday night, NYG needs to bring in another body for the backfield. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Penny get the majority carries but there needs to be more security for a running game.
Oct 062019
Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (October 6, 2019)

Sterling Shepard could not hold onto this pass in the end zone – © USA TODAY Sports

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The Minnesota Vikings soundly defeated the New York Giants 28-10 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the loss, the Giants fall to 2-3 on the season.

New York entered the game with injury issues at running back and linebacker. Running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), linebacker Ryan Connelly (Injured Reserve – knee), linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring), linebacker Tae Davis (concussion), and linebacker Lorenzo Carter (neck) did not play. Worse, the Giants lost running back Wayne Gallman (concussion) in the 1st quarter. The Vikings were able to exploit these absences. The Vikings also both lines of scrimmage.

Minnesota took control of the game early, controlling the ball and the clock for 12 of 15 minutes in the 1st quarter, en route to an early 10-0 lead. Shoddy coverage tackling did not help. First, the Vikings drove 62  yards in 11 plays, settling for a 31-yard field goal. After the first Giants’ possession stalled at the Minnesota 39-yard line, the Vikings then embarrassingly drove 98 yards in 11 plays, with quarterback Kirk Cousins throwing a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Adam Thielen on 3rd-and-4 on the first play of the second quarter, beating cornerback Grant Haley. At this point in the game, Cousins was 9-of-10 for 119 yards.

Cornerback Corey Ballentine sparked the Giants on the ensuing kickoff by returning the ball 52 yards to midfield. Five plays later, quarterback Daniel Jones threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton. New York had cut the lead to 10-7.

The Vikings scored points again on their third possession, this time moving the ball 45 yards in eight plays to set up a 48-yard field goal to extend the lead to 13-7.

After the Giants punted the ball away on their third possession, the Vikings drove from their 20-yard line to the New York 24-yard line. On 2nd-and-6, running back Dalvin Cook broke off a 19-yard run, but safety Jabrill Peppers stripped him of the football at the 5-yard line. Linebacker Tuzar Skipper recovered the loose ball at the 1-yard line. However, on the very next offensive snap, running back Jon Hilliman was tackled in the end zone for a safety. The Vikings now led 15-7.

After the free kick, the Vikings extended their lead to 18-7 with a 32-yard field goal after a 9-play, 49-yard drive. Other than the fumble at the 5-yard line, Minnesota scored on their four other first-half possessions. On the other hand, New York’s five first-half possessions resulted in one touchdown, a Minnesota safety, and three punts. The Vikings held the ball for over 20 minutes in the first half.

The Giants began the third quarter with a marathon 15-play, 61-yard drive that unfortunately only resulted in a 32-yard field goal despite the Giants facing both 1st-and-goal from the 6-yard line and 1st-and-goal from the 5-yard line. That field goal represented New York’s last points of the day.

The Vikings then responded with a devastating 5-play, 67-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard touchdown from Cousins to Thielen again, this time beating cornerback Deandre Baker. Minnesota now led 25-10 with just under five minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.

New York threatened to score a touchdown again on their second drive of the half, reaching the Minnesota 3-yard line. But on 4th-and-2, Jones was sacked for a 9-yard loss at the end of the 3rd quarter.

After a three-and-out, the Giants drove into Vikings’ territory again, but turned the ball over on downs after a 4th-and-12 incomplete pass from the Minnesota 27-yard line. The Vikings then added another field goal, from 45 yards out, after gaining 46 yards on nine plays. With just over four minutes to play, the Vikings held a commanding 28-10 lead.

New York’s last possession ended on 4th-and-2 when Jones was intercepted. Minnesota then ran out the clock.

New York’s offense only gained 211 yards, 147 net passing yards and 64 net rushing yards. Worse, the Giants were 0-for-2 in the red zone. Jones completed 21-of-38 passes for 182 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He was sacked four times for a loss of 35 yards. His leading targets were tight end Evan Engram (6 catches for 42 yards), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (5 catches for 49 yards), and Slayton (4 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown). Hilliman only gained 20 yards on nine carries.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 490 yards and 22 first downs to an offense that had been struggling. Minnesota rushed for 211 yards and Cousins completed 22-of-27 passes for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Peppers did force one fumble that Skipper recovered. Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh, and linebacker Markus Golden also had sacks.

Video lowlights are available at Giants.com.

RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), LB Alec Ogletree (hamstring), LB Tae Davis (concussion), LB Lorenzo Carter (neck), QB Alex Tanney, OT Eric Smith, and OT/OG Chad Slade were inactive.

RB Wayne Gallman (concussion) left the game in the 1st quarter and did not return.

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:

Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media on Monday. The players return to practice on Tuesday.

Oct 042019
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (September 29, 2019)

The Sun Never Sets on Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

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Game Preview: Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants, October 6, 2019

Believe it or not, the regular-season is already one-fourth done. And for the first time in three years, the Giants’ season isn’t all but over by October. But we should step back for a second and look at the big picture.

In my opinion, as long as Daniel Jones remains healthy enough to play most of the remaining 12 games, this season has already been a tremendous success. My biggest fear heading into this season was that the Giants would remain in mathematical contention for the bulk of the season, preventing the franchise from benching Eli Manning and getting a good read on Jones. To be blunt, I feared the Giants wasting another season with an aging quarterback who was never going to be apart of the turnaround. I never, never, never expected the franchise to make the switch as soon as Week 3. This is really a big, big deal.

And after the Giants announced the switch and before Jones started his first game, there were quite a few Giants fans who were projecting the Giants finishing with a top three 2020 draft pick, firing Pat Shurmur, and drafting Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, or Jake Fromm.

Oh how things can quickly change in two weeks! Look, as I’ve stated before, it’s way too early to really know if Daniel Jones will be the franchise quarterback that this team needs. NFL history is filled with flashes in the pan who quickly fade into oblivion – after a few games, even after a season or two. But barring injury, Jones will get 14 regular-season games to prove his worth as a rookie. That’s invaluable. And as of right now, any talk of drafting another quarterback in 2020 seems crazy.

Turning to the short-term, the Giants are actually very much alive, being only one game out of first place in the NFC East. Dallas looks like the prohibitive favorite to win the division, if for no other reason that their defense is vastly superior to the Giants’ defense. But could the Giants stay in contention for a Wild Card spot in November and December? We shall soon find out.

The 2-2 Vikings are a talented team coming off of a tough loss and feeling a little bit desperate. There is a lot of pressure on them to beat an “inferior” Giants team. A few days after this game, the Giants travel to New England to play the NFL Champion Patriots. The Giants may quickly find themselves at 2-4. This is a big game for the Giants too. 3-3 sounds a lot better than 2-4.


  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle – out)
  • RB Wayne Gallman (neck)
  • RG Kevin Zeitler (shoulder)
  • LT Nate Solder (neck)
  • LB Alec Ogletree (hamstring – out)
  • LB Tae Davis (concussion – out)
  • LB Lorenzo Carter (neck – questionable)

The Giants have played four teams in a row with very tough defensive front sevens. It gets no easier this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings, arguably the best defense the Giants have faced thus far. The Vikings are 6th in overall defense in terms of yardage allowed and 5th in terms of points allowed (15.8 per game). They are top 10 in both run and pass defense. On the defensive line, DE Danielle Hunter, DE Everson Griffen, and former Giant DT Linval Joseph are Pro Bowlers. So is LB Anthony Barr, CB Xavier Rhodes, and S Harrison Smith. The key, albeit scary, match-ups for the Giants in this game are tackles Nate Solder and former Viking Mike Remmers against ends Hunter and Griffen.

The Giants are not likely to score many points against the Vikings. What the offense, Daniel Jones, and the other ball handlers need to do is not make it easier on Minnesota by turning the football over. Ball security has been an issue for Jones and the running backs. Do not give a struggling Vikings’ offense a short field to work with, or worse, give the Vikings a defensive score. If this ends up being a tight, low-scoring affair, the team that makes the most mistakes will most likely lose the game. Winning the field position battle could also be decisive.

The game within the game this week will be Pat Shurmur, who calls the plays, facing his old team and his old head coach, Mike Zimmer (defensive background). Each knows each other and what they like to do. Shurmur is also intimately familiar with the Vikings’ defensive personnel.

Turning to the big picture, we once again look at Daniel Jones. Again, it’s early. But there are some important early signs that give us reason to be extremely hopeful. For one, the criticism of his arm strength ended up being a myth. While Jones doesn’t have a rocket, he can make all of the different types of throws an NFL quarterback is required to make. Indeed, we have now repeatedly seen that he can fire the ball into tight windows. More than that, his accuracy is better than Eli Manning’s, even when Eli was in his prime. Time and time again, Jones has perfectly placed the ball to allow his receivers to do maximum damage after the catch.

But beyond all of that, two other aspects of Jones’ game have stood out to me. First, regardless of the pass rush, he keeps his eyes transfixed down the field. While this has hurt him a few times in terms of having the ball knocked out of his hands, his ability to maintain his focus under duress and maneuver around in the pocket (sometimes only ever so slightly) has allowed him to spot targets opening up downfield and to make the key throw at the last half-second. Secondly, Jones is already reading coverages likes a seasoned veteran. For example, on the touchdown throw to Gallman last weekend, Gallman was his fifth option on the play. FIFTH! I bet you there are some veteran quarterbacks who have started three years in this league who have yet to throw to their fifth option on a play. And Jones just did it in his second game!

Finally, something that has not received enough attention this week is how dramatically the New York receiving corps has changed. To start the season, New York’s receivers were Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard, and Cody Core. Two-fifths of that corps has now been replaced by Golden Tate and Darius Slayton. T.J. Jones has also come and gone. The net effect is the receiving corps looks far stronger now.

The Giants’ defense hasn’t given up a touchdown in six quarters. Is that misleading? I would argue  yes, but we shall see. Unfortunately, one of the key players leading the apparent turnaround, inside linebacker Ryan Connelly, is done for the season. A 5th-round rookie, he was already wearing the green dot on his helmet. It’s a huge loss for a defense trying to gain some respectable consistency. Making matters worse is that Alec Ogletree and Tae Davis are both out again. All of the sudden, ex-Panther and 49er castoff David Mayo becomes a key figure moving forward. And God help us if Nate Stupar is on the field. Look for the Giants to continue to use the three-safety package.

As I talked about last week, the good news for the Giants’ defense is the defensive line is starting to exert itself. Dexter Lawrence is showing why he was a 1st-round pick. B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson are flashing, as are edge rushers Markus Golden, Oshane Ximines, and Tuzar Skipper. Coming off perhaps his worst game as a pro, Janoris Jenkins rebounded with “defensive player of the week” honors. Deandre Baker has had two quiet (in a positive sense) games in a row. Jabrill Peppers just made his first impact play. But the opponent last week was a dysfunctional Redskins team. A bigger sample size is needed.

Minnesota has its own issues. There appear to be too many cooks in the kitchen on the offensive coaching staff. And quarterback Kirk Cousins is under fire from the media, fans, and most notably, fellow teammates. He’s one of those quarterbacks who can look very good in one game, and then awful in another. You never know which version of Cousins you will get. But, the Vikings have three very dangerous difference-makers on offense: RB Dalvin Cook, WR Stefon Diggs, and WR Adam Thielen. These are all 1,000-yard producers. Cousins will also throw to his tight ends (Pro Bowler Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith). Most notably, Cook is the team’s leading pass receiver.

But make no mistake about it, the Vikings are a run-first team. Cook is averaging almost six yards per carry and already has five touchdowns on an offense that has been struggling. His back-up, rookie Alexander Mattison, is averaging over five yards per carry. The Vikings are a physical, old-school football team. They run the football behind a physical offensive line and play great defense. If the Giants have any shot at the upset, they need to stop the Minnesota ground attack, or at the very least, limit the damage. When the Vikings see three safeties on the field, they will challenge that with the ground game, as well as the injury-depleted inside linebacking corps.

Here comes the first real serious challenge for the New York coverage teams. Marcus Sherels has five career punt returns for touchdowns, including one already against the Giants. As for the New York return game, it will be interesting to see if Jabrill Peppers or Golden Tate becomes the feature punt returner now that T.J. Jones has been let go.

There is a very good chance that special teams and field position will decide the outcome of this game.

Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula on facing the Vikings’ defense: “Yeah, they’re really good… We all want to be aware of the kind of defense we’re facing. They’re talented across the board. They have a really good scheme. They feed off of mistakes made by the offense. As most defenses are, they’re even better in long yardage. I think the biggest thing, the point of emphasis, is getting the ball out on time, making good decisions, don’t think you have to make big plays and don’t think you have to win the game on every play. We talk about, as we do every week, staying ahead of the chains, so to speak. Staying out of those long yardage situations.”

This is a big game for both teams. Neither wants to fall to 2-3. And the Giants play the Patriots on a short week after this game. Most pundits expect the Giants to be 2-4 soon. Much depends on the Vikings. Do they come into this game pissed off and ready to take it out on the Giants? Or has this week’s turmoil started to wear on their psyche? To be determined. This may be a horrible time to play the Vikings or a good time. The problem for the Giants are the match-ups up front. That usually doesn’t bode well.

Oct 042016
Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 3, 2016)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Minnesota Vikings 24 – New York Giants 10


Giants fans need to step away from the ledge. The loss to the Minnesota Vikings was not unexpected, especially given the quality of the opponent, the Giants current injury situation, and the hoopla surrounding the Vikings first Monday night game in their new stadium. For the Giants to pull off the upset, they were most likely going to have to win the turnover battle, have the passing game excel, the defensive line dominate, and/or the special teams to out-play its counterpart. None of these things happened. The Giants lost fair and square. If New York fails to make the playoffs again this season, it won’t be this game the Giants look back to and regret. It will be the Week 3 loss to the Redskins.

Giants on Offense

You can’t win in the NFL if you only score 10 points. And you are not likely to win if you lose the turnover battle. Aside from interception, the biggest issue for the Giants was the disconnect between Eli Manning and his top three wide receivers. This was a major factor in the team being an abysmal 2-of-12 (17 percent) on 3rd down and 0-of-2 (0 percent) on 4th down. When you can’t matriculate the ball down the field, you have to rely on the big play. But the Giants only had one offensive gain over 20 yards in the game.

Another negative factor in sustaining drives was penalties. After being relatively clean in the first two weeks of the season, the Giants had penalty issues for the second game in a row as the Giants were flagged 8 times for 69 yards. Half of these were on offense and were an issue in stalling three drives. The book on the Giants now is this: don’t let them beat you deep in the passing game; make them drive the length of the field in small chunks and they’ll shoot themselves in the foot.

The Giants had 11 offensive possessions. Six resulted in punts (including the first five), an interception, two turnovers on downs, and two scoring drives. Not good enough.


There is something about the Minnesota Vikings that brings out the worst in Eli Manning. Fans can exclaim that is rubbish, but we’ve seen it before. Lawrence Taylor used to have the same problem with the Los Angeles Rams. Long story short, the Giants were not going to beat Minnesota unless Eli played well and he didn’t. Despite having reasonable pass protection (no sacks and only 2 quarterback hits), Manning appeared jumpy in the pocket and had accuracy issues. He was out-played by his counterpart that was only traded to the Vikings a few weeks ago. Manning finished 25-of-45 for 261 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception. In other words, he had 20 incompletions and only averaged 5.8 yards per pass play. This is even worse when you consider 67 of those yards came on a dump off to a running back.

Running Backs

With Rashad Jennings (#1 back) out again and Shane Vereen (#2 back) possibly done for the season, the Giants relied on a trio of back-ups who performed pretty darn well, especially considering the quality of the opponent. The Giants only rushed the ball 18 times out of 63 plays, with only six rushing attempts in the second half. But they averaged a very respectable 4.3 yards per rush. Orleans Darkwa saw the bulk of the work (12 carries for 48 yards) followed by Bobby Rainey (4 carries for 22 yards), and Paul Perkins (2 carries for 8 yards). The backs were also heavily involved in the passing game with Rainey catching 7-of-9 passes thrown his way for 43 yards, Perkins 2-of-3 passes for 72 yards, and Darkwa 0-of-2 passes. Perkins had the offensive play of this night with his nifty 67-yard catch-and-run where he demonstrated good vision and speed. He did have issues in pass protection however.

Wide Receivers

Along with Manning, the wide receivers were the major offensive letdown on the evening. To win, Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, and Victor Cruz had to play well. They didn’t. Beckham had his worst game as a pro since the second game of his career. He only caught 3-of-9 passes thrown in his direction for a measly 23 yards. Beckham dropped a pass and had a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. There also was major confusion between Manning and Beckham on the deep interception that started the 3rd quarter off on a bad note – this was a key momentum killer in the game. Shepard was also surprisingly kept quiet, catching 4-of-7 targets for only 30 yards. Cruz caught 5-of-9 passes for 50 yards and was flagged with an illegal block penalty. The longest reception by any of these three was 14 yards!

Tight Ends/Fullbacks

Larry Donnell suffered a concussion early in the 2nd quarter. Will Tye was the only factor in the passing game, catching 4-of-6 passes for 43 yards.

Offensive Line

The offensive line played well. The Vikings were averaging five sacks per game but the Giants offensive line held them sackless and only allowed two hits on quarterback Eli Manning. Against a very good run defense, the team also averaged 4.3 yards per rush. The biggest negative were two penalties on LT Ereck Flowers: a false start and a holding penalty (though the holding call was questionable). Bobby Hart was also flagged with illegal use of hands but that was declined.

Giants on Defense

The Giants defense was severely hampered by three de facto starters missing the game (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, and Darian Thompson) and a primary back-up (Nat Berhe). This turned a team strength into a team weakness. To compensate, the Giants needed an exceptionally strong game from their front seven. They didn’t get it.

Coming into the game, the Vikings had the 31st-ranked offense. Minnesota gained 22 first downs, 366 total net yards (262 passing, 104 rushing), and controlled the clock for over 35 minutes. The Vikings converted half of their 3rd-down conversion attempts. The Giants did not force a turnover, register a sack, and only hit QB Sam Bradford (101.9 QB rating) twice. The Giants also only defensed one pass.

New York’s defense did not make a stand after Dwayne Harris’ muffed punt, allowed a long 2nd-quarter touchdown drive, and most damning, could not stop the Vikings after the Giants cut the score to 17-10 early in the 4th quarter. Minnesota drove 76 yards in eight plays to put the game away.

Defensive Line

This is not what the Giants expected. With both primary offensive tackles out of the game, defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon were non-factors in a game where the Giants expected and needed them to make a difference. Each registered one hit on the QB – the only two hits on the night. The inside tackles were not much better as what had been an anemic Vikings ground attack gained 104 yards and scored twice, and Sam Bradford was rarely pressure up the middle.


The linebackers came up small, particularly team captain Jonathan Casillas who had issues tackling in the open field. Coverage was also an issue as many of the Vikings successful pass plays came against CB Trevin Wade or over the middle against the under coverage. There were no impact plays to speak of – no sacks, no forced turnovers, no pass breakups. Casillas, Keenan Robinson, Kelvin Sheppard, and Devon Kennard did combine for 21 tackles.

Defensive Backs

The Giants were simply undermanned here with corners Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple and safeties Darian Thompson and Nat Berhe being out. The Giants were forced to start defensive backs who were at the bottom of the depth chart in Trevin Wade and Andrew Adams. Both had issues. Wade in particular was a disaster, giving up 70 yards on two deep passes to WR Charles Johnson and a 7-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-4 to TE Kyle Rudolph. When the Vikings needed a play, they went after Wade. Adams – as would be expected of a green, undrafted rookie starting for the first time – was exposed as well, being late to help out in coverage. Aside from a pass interference penalty, Janoris Jenkins had a decent game. Landon Collins led the team in tackles and also had a tackle for a loss. Unbelievably, the Giants only broke up one pass all night.

Giants on Special Teams

Dwayne Harris started the game off with a bang on a 44-yard kickoff return, but his muffed punt after the Giants defense forced a three-and-out inside the Vikings 10-yard line set the tone for the night and directly led to a 7-0 lead. It was an early momentum killer in a hostile building. The Giants didn’t gain any punt return yardage on the evening.

The coverage teams actually did a respectable job against a very dangerous return team as the Vikings only gained 29 yards on kickoff returns and 13 yards on punt returns. Brad Wing average 46.7 yards per punt with three of his six punts being downed inside the 20-yard line, including one at the 1-yard line. Josh Brown hit his only field goal attempt of the night, from 40 yards out.


As expected, criticism of the new head coach is beginning to mount. Many of those who were praising him two weeks ago are starting to say he was the wrong hire. It’s simply too early to make those kind of judgments. That said, the Giants did mismanage the clock at the end of the first half, which prevented the team possibly taking two more shots at the end zone. Turnovers remain an issue and the passing game seems out of sync. Being a 39-year old head coach and NFL play-caller at the same time isn’t easy. If Mike Sullivan had more experience with the West Coast Offense, he’d probably be calling the plays. The McAdoo-Sullivan marriage seemed odd from the start other than Sullivan’s familiarity with Eli Manning. Steve Spagnuolo is quickly gaining a reputation as a guy who can coach only when he has all of his chess pieces still on the board.

(New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings, October 3, 2016)