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New York Giants Fans (December 15, 2019)

© USA TODAY Sports

THE STORYLINE:
In The Corner Forum last week, I argued that the Week 2 game against Washington was not a “must-win” game as many were arguing. In my opinion, the NFC East is going to be subpar once again and there is a good chance that a team that is hovering around .500 in December will still be alive for the division title. Barring serious injury issues, I also believe the New York Giants will become stronger on offense and defense as the year progresses.

That all said, this game against the Atlanta Falcons feels like it has a greater significance than an ordinary Week 3 contest. For one, this is a very winnable game for New York. Second, and most importantly, at 0-2, the margin for error is rapidly diminishing for the Giants. Third, the symbol of the team’s most recent successful past – Eli Manning – will be honored at the game.

I think poster Osi Osi Osi OyOyOy captured my thoughts when he wrote:

I feel like due to a lot of different factors, this game is particularly meaningful when it comes to the organization’s outlook. We’ve had “must-win” early season games over the years, which we typically lose, we even had some “must-win” games later on last year due to the ineptness of the NFC East.

But the vibe I get for this game just doesn’t feel like the usual “must-win to keep the season alive” game. It really feels like the entire organizational structure is on the hot seat, from the Owner to the GM to the Head Coach to the QB to the RB to the Defensive Coordinator to the rookie 1st round draft pick, etc. This feels like a “must win to keep the franchise from crumbling” type of game.

The Falcons are the worst team in football right now, their organization has had their own issues over the last handful of years. The Giants are simply a better team than them and should take care of business to get back into the 2021 divisional race.

We’ve been bad for so long that I’m pretty much expecting the worst. But if we can’t beat the Falcons this week, the backlash on here and in the media would be insane. I can only imagine what a shitshow this place would be on Monday if we lost and Jones/Barkley played poorly with Toney doing nothing and the defense playing poorly again.

I’ve felt down about this Franchise plenty over recent years, but thinking about the fallout of a loss this weekend just makes me feel uncomfortable and sick. I can’t really remember feeling this specific type of way about a game before.

We better win.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Saquon Barkley (knee – probable)
  • WR Kenny Golladay (hip – questionable)
  • WR Kadarius Toney (ankle – probable)
  • TE Evan Engram (calf- questionable)
  • TE Kaden Smith (knee- probable)
  • NT Austin Johnson (illness – probable)
  • LB Cam Brown (hamstring – out)
  • S Logan Ryan (hamstring – probable)
  • S Nate Ebner (quad- questionable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Daniel Jones and the offense had a good night against a good defense last Thursday, scoring 29 points with two almost-touchdowns being erased. But one game does not make a trend. Saquon Barkley played far more than anticipated, and had a 41-yard run, but his other touches were non-productive. He should continue to get better as he rounds into football shape, but the question is can he and will he attain his rookie form? If he can, this offense can be truly dangerous.

Once again, the offensive line is in disarray. Don’t write off Matt Peart, but his short-term inability to win the starting right tackle job clearly was not expected by team leadership. And the serious injuries to Nick Gates and Shane Lemieux, two of the three interior starters, has the entire franchise scrambling. Billy Price and Ben Bredeson, who were added only a few weeks ago, are now the new starters.

Fan ire seems to be directed at rookie Kadarius Toney, but his slow development was easy to predict once he missed most of the offseason. The guy who needs to get it going is veteran Kenny Golladay. The return of Evan Engram should help this offense as long as he doesn’t screw up.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The defense was supposed to carry the team this year. Through two games, it is currently ranks 26th in yards allowed and 25th in points allowed. It can’t stop the run or the pass. It can’t get off of the field on 3rd and 4th down. Most damning of all, it can make the critical stops in key situations at the end of the 2nd and 4th quarters.

It’s not one issue. Coaching appears to have been a problem, but players are not making plays, including guys who have a proven track record under the current coaching staff. Whatever the reasons, they need to get this fixed, and fast.

The secret of good defense has always been the same. Play smart. Pursue and gang tackle. Stop the run. Get after the passer. Play tight coverage. Get the football. That will never change.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
I just want to mention what a tremendous performance by Graham Gano last Thursday night. Indeed, it may have been the best performance by a kicker in team history, nailing field goals of 23, 35, 47, 52, and 55 in less-than-ideal conditions. He deserved the win.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham:I need to do a better job of coaching. That’s my job.

THE FINAL WORD:
The wiggle room is disappearing. The fans are starting to tune out again. A reminder of the more successful past will be standing on the sideline. This team desperately needs to win this game.

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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