Jan 032023
Richie James, New York Giants (January 1, 2023)

Richie James – © USA TODAY Sports


-Daniel Jones: 19/24 – 177 yards/ 2 TD – 0 INT / 125.2 RAT

Jones added a game-high 91 yards on 11 carries, including another 2 touchdowns. This was the first time he was responsible for more than 2 touchdowns in a game since December 22, 2019 (his rookie season). That blew me away when I first looked into it. Considering the magnitude of this game and the fact his supporting cast is still well below average, I am labeling this the best performance of his career. While we have seen more production in previous games and more downfield/complex passing, the combination of his running and the fact he put this team on his back as they approached this win-and-in contest speaks volumes. Absolute enormous volumes. While IND is a bad team, they do not have a bad defense. Jones rose to the occasion and got the most out of himself and the players around him. He rallied this team together via action, not words. He was the first to pick up Slayton after the fumble. He put his body on the line numerous times. He never lost his mojo, it only strengthened. Dumb this down to the basics and that is exactly what a team needs out of a franchise quarterback.

Recency bias will put him onto the pedestal in this week’s episode of “Should NYG lock Jones up long term?” debate, a series that has seen more twists and turns than Ozark. Like always, I will remain on the outside of what I think NYG should do until everything is over. But a takeaway I have that nobody can dispute? Jones and Daboll have a good thing going and it is only ascending. All of this with, once again, a supporting cast that I still think ranks bottom third in the NFL. The next step in the evaluation will be how he responds to playoff football on the road. A different level of intensity, a different level of pressure.


-Saquon Barkley: 12 att – 58 yards / 2 rec -5 yards

Another sign this offense has come a long way: Barkley’s 53 total yards were the fourth lowest of the year. The other three games he was held below 55? Loss to DET where they scored 18 points. Loss to DAL where they scored 20 points. Loss to PHI where they scored 22 points. This team is getting better in games where Barkley gets contained; to the point where they scored 38 points (the most since 12/22/2019) in a winning effort. If there is one negative on the lack of production, those four games under 55 yards have all come in the last 7 games.

The one catch here is Barkley had just 12 carries (he averages 18 per game). His usage has dropped a lot since the first half of the season and there are multiple variables behind that. It is a good thing. He looked fresh and explosive again. Not many backs can say that in Week 17 and it is good to know that, if necessary, he is able to touch the ball 35 times in the playoff game. I would like to see him on the sidelines next week against PHI.

-Matt Breida added 59 yards on 9 carries and 8 yards on 1 catch. Explosive day for him and someone I think we forget about. He is a dangerous player if he reaches the open field. Always has been. Gary Brightwell had 9 yards on 5 carries.


-Richie James and Isaiah Hodgins came up big once again. This is why they play the games. Who would have predicted back in August that these two would be the 1-2 punch for the playoff-bound Giants down the stretch? Not only the 1-2 punch, but a formidable one. James caught all 7 targets for 76 yards and a touchdown. Hodgins caught 4 passes for 42 yards and a touchdown. 4 touchdowns over his last 5 games for the waiver claim from BUF and James has caught 26 of his last 30 targets. Tough, dependable, and smart.

-Last week I said Darius Slayton was going to score a big touchdown soon. If you told me NYG was going to put up nearly 40 points, I would have been positive Slayton was going to be a big part of it. I was wrong. He finished with 2 catches for 14 yards and was responsible for the biggest offensive gaffe of the day. Poor ball security after a catch led to a fumble on the first play of the third quarter.

-NYG is playing with a razor-thin receiver group. An injury to any one of these guys changes the offense immensely.


-Daniel Bellinger got more involved in the passing game, catching all 3 targets for 42 yards. He has now caught 30 of 33 passes this year. There are 44 tight ends with 29+ targets this season. Bellinger’s 91% catch-percentage ranks number one. This is a guy who will not get a lot of attention from opposing defenses in the postseason, I guarantee it. If he can get open, I expect him to be a focal point in key spots. He has passed test after test as a receiver. The bigger positive, in my eyes, was the quality blocking grade he earned. He did allow a pressure in the passing game, but I thought his pop and violence made a difference on trap blocks. His mechanics are all there and I think the baseline power presence is enough to build upon. He is going to be a quality blocker over his career.

-Nick Vannett allowed a TFL and Chris Myrick barely played. Neither were targeted. NYG has taken a sharp turn away from extra tight end usage.


-This was the best overall performance we have seen from the offensive line all season. Just 4 pressures was a season-low besides the CHI game where Jones dropped back 17 times. There were also zero sacks allowed. The second time in three weeks we can say that. It looks like the group is coming together just at the right time.

-Andrew Thomas bounced back after a rough game against MIN. He pitched a shutout in pass protection. I still see some loss of power and I have no idea if the ankle/foot is acting up or weakening, but it is worth keeping an eye on. Rookie Evan Neal bounced back well after a terrible game last week. Just 2 pressures against an ascending Kwity Paye and more dominant looks as a run blocker. While it may be an unfair comment, Neal is going to be one of the most important players on this team come playoff time. The spectrum between his good and bad is massive and can dictate a lot when it comes to the offense’s consistency and big-play potential.

-Inside is where I noticed the most improvement when it came to consistency. While we saw a couple of negative plays, it was nothing game-changing or overly hurtful. Nick Gates was flagged for tripping. Jon Feliciano allowed a pressure. Ben Bredeson played a clean game. Mark Glowinski allowed just one pressure despite several one-on-one matchups against Grover Stewart and DeForest Buckner, one of the better inside duos in the league. He got away with a block in the back on the Jones rushing touchdown in the early third quarter. He is a savvy player and even though some of the tightness in his hips creates issues here and there, he does a lot of little things with his hands and angles that make a positive difference.


-Azeez Ojulari was questionable all week and he barely played. I think that was partially a result of the point margin getting so high, so quickly. I bet he would have played more had the game been tighter. I expect him to sit out next week so he can be fresh for the playoffs.

-Kayvon Thibodeaux continues his red-hot play. It is good to see him do it without Ojulari on the field. While this fearsome foursome (one of you creative people needs to come up with a nickname for them) feeds off each other, seeing them do it individually means a lot. Man am I excited to see what they can do in the next few years. Thibodeaux finished with 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, and a pass break up. The sack was unblocked but that was the kind of explosion and lack of hesitation that we did not see early in the year. That and his power against the run are the two biggest gains throughout the season and it has turned into production. The snow angel next to an injured Foles is a complete non-story.

-Tomon Fox added 2 tackles and some physical, stout run defense along with Jihad Ward, who added 4 tackles. Oshane Ximines played 31 snaps and came on the field in passing situations. He did not pressure the quarterback once and he missed a tackle. After a solid start this season, his impact on the defense has been non-existent over the past 1-2 months.


-Maybe the two biggest winners of the blowout margin were Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams. They played just 67% and 53% of the snaps respectively. Keeping these guys fresh and healthy is absolutely vital. The lower-than-normal snap share did not result in a lack of impact. Lawrence strengthened his All-Pro candidacy with 5 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 pressures. His sack came on an island against Quenton Nelson, the best guard in football. No double moves. No fancy hand-work. He simply bull-rushed Nelson 4-5 yards backward and finished the play. Even though Nelson has taken a step back in 2022, I still think he is the stoutest pass protector against the bull rush in the league. Lawrence tossed him around. Williams added 2 tackles and 2 pressures.

-The trio of rotational linemen, Ryder Anderson-Justin Ellis-Henry Mondeaux, seems to be set in stone. Expectation for these guys is not high, but I will reiterate the importance of Lawrence and Williams being on the field for 85+ snaps in the playoffs. The other guys are solid space eaters, but not much else. After making a few plays in the backfield in consecutive weeks, the undrafted rookie Anderson was completely ineffective and moved off his point easily.


-Nice bounce back game for Jaylon Smith. Someone must have gotten into his ear about attacking his gaps downhill faster. He led the team with 9 tackles and added 2 pressures. He missed 1 tackle. Rookie Micah McFadden added 4 tackles, one of which was on special teams. He dropped back into coverage just 6 times, the lowest number we have seen since Week 8 at Seattle. Even though NYG cannot control that fully, it is a smart move to keep him out of that role as much as possible.

-Landon Collins, you’re up. He dropped into coverage 20 times and saw 30+ snaps for the second week in a row. He contributed 4 tackles and the biggest play of the game. He intercepted a Nick Foles pass in the second quarter just five plays after NYG went up 14-3. The play itself was impressive, but the timing is what put this game out of reach for IND. Sure, it was still early and “you never know.” But I thought this game was sealed after this play against a team that hasn’t won since November 13 and has scored over 21 offensive points just one time since October 16. Collins is another in-season find who deserves a ton of credit. His role in this defense is ideal and I’ll tell you what, this guy can still move. There is still some high-risk / high reward to him, but that sums up the defense as a whole. Collins is going to be a very important player against whomever NYG plays in two weeks.


-Darnay Holmes now ranks second in NFL in penalties. He was flagged for a hold on a 3rd-down stop in the first quarter. These are the kinds of plays that overshadow the fact that he is a solid player. He added 3 tackles and 1 TFL. He did a great job at limiting yards after the catch. He is one of the top pure athletes on this defense. But teams know in high-leverage situations, he is the one to attack. He can be a maddening player to work with but then again, there isn’t much to do about it. Nobody behind him brings the talent to the table he does.

-Fabian Moreau and Nick McCloud continued to fill most of the meaningful snaps on the outside. Moreau allowed a touchdown after losing his balance and falling to the ground. It was his third touchdown allowed over the last 5 games. He has been given, by far, the most difficult coverage assignments on this team. While he won’t ever be mistaken for Champ Bailey, I like what his coverage looks like from the All-22. Not the most athletic cover man, but he anticipates and knows what’s often coming. I like that about him.

-Nick McCloud added 2 tackles, some physical play, and a pass break up. Another guy who is simply showing great anticipation in coverage. Zyon Gilbert saw some action late in mop up duty. He is still learning route combos and footwork techniques. Not much to report here, though. Cor’Dale Flott played a lot (35 snaps) but was not targeted and didn’t make any plays against the run. Quiet day, but not a bad day.


-Xavier McKinney was a surprise activation for this game. He badly injured his hand during the bye week in early November and hasn’t played since. He played 83% of the snaps and because of the nature of his injury and recovery, I believe it is important to get him on the field as much as possible including next week against PHI. Get the rust out. He added 7 tackles and a pass break-up. He did get beat early on a jump ball against Paris Campbell. Overall, he was in the right position, moved well, and tackled well. The defense is better with him on the field.

-Julian Love finished with 4 tackles and 1 missed tackle. Otherwise, uneventful game for him, but he did cover well deep. His alignments have been all over the place and it is a valuable weapon for the defense. Getting McKinney back and up to speed should make that even more unpredictable for the opposing offense.

-Tony Jefferson and Jason Pinnock saw most of their playing time late in the game when it was out of reach.


-K Graham Gano: 1/1 (Made 36)
-P Jamie Gillan: 1 punt / 47 yards – 27 net


-QB Daniel Jones, WR Richie James, LB Landon Collins


-WR Darius Slayton, CB Darnay Holmes, EDGE Oshane Ximines


1. The team I was most wrong about when looking at my preseason predictions? The Colts. The team I was probably second or third most wrong about? The Giants. I said IND would get to 13 wins, NYG would finish at 6 wins. Man, I could not have been more wrong. What happened here with IND? I don’t blame the coaching (Reich is going to get hired again). The former general manager did a fine job with his draft picks. But how they handled quarterback once Andrew Luck surprisingly retired could not have been worse. Philip Rivers in his final year. A trade for Carson Wentz. A trade for Matt Ryan. A 1st-round pick, two 3rd-round picks, and just under $90 million over the course of three seasons was the overall price for what IND spent at the position. A major mishandle of the most important position in the game. While we can point to a few different components as well, this was the downfall of IND. They will be picking top 7 this April and it is time they go that route for their signal caller.

2. I am working on a Free Agent List to put out there in February. It is for use wider than just NYG followers, but if I have time, I will create a custom portion of it for you guys like how I do the draft prospects. Two of the top 20 guys play for IND and positions NYG will be looking at. In 2019, I had Bobby Okereke as a borderline 1st-2nd rounder (he was drafted toward the end of round 3). He has been a consistent run defender with speed and range, but there are questions about him in coverage. I’m not so sure NYG will be pursuing a high-priced linebacker, but if they do want to throw some money into the ring, he would be a nice option considering what Martindale wants from that spot. The other is a receiver who did not play because of a concussion. Ashton Dulin was the guy I wanted NYG to use a 7th round pick on in 2019. He started off as a key gunner on special teams but has been making plays in limited looks in the passing game his entire career. 6’1/215 with plus size and speed, Dulin will come with a cheap price tag and give the team a credible deep threat they lack. Think Darius Slayton but more physical, versatile, and with better hands. Keep an eye out for those two.

3. Who ends up coaching IND? I’m sure they will make the rounds in interviews. The hottest name is going to be Sean Payton but remember, you need to trade for him if you want him on the sidelines in 2023. I think they’re opening the door and wallet for another big name. Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Bruce Feldman, a journalist I know and trust fully, is fairly confident he will come back to the NFL for the right job. I only see Harbaugh coming back for a job to a historic franchise. IND fits that bill and Jim played for them in the 1990s. My one question is whether or not he wants to be a part of the rebuild for a team. The Niners had a solid core of talent in 2011 when Harbaugh went there and they had a quarterback (Alex Smith). Does Harbaugh want a higher starting point? Or would he want to pick his own new quarterback (Will Levis?) to mold and develop?


1. It looks like NYG will play MIN again in the opening round of the playoffs. Despite it being a road game, it is the best possible match-up for them. We will get more into that next week, but this lined up very well. There is a scenario where they end up going to SF, but that will require ARI winning a game against the Niners. I don’t see it. They’re on quarterback number four and they’re shutting some of their players down already. By the way, MIN just lost their top offensive lineman, right tackle Brian O’Neill, to a calf injury. They are already without starting center Garrett Bradbury (although he may back for playoffs). We saw this is a very beatable team and remember, they are -19 in point differential right now. That ranks 20th in the NFL. NYG is flat in differential (0), which ranks 14th.

2. How should NYG approach resting players in week 18 against PHI? It is ironic that PHI needs to play everyone to ensure they win and gain the bye + Home Field advantage while NYG cannot gain or lose anything with a win or loss. While I am a firm believer in keeping guys on routines and continuing the momentum-build, there are a few players I would like to see in sweatpants next Sunday. Anyone questionable or with a list of nagging injuries, you’re out. And if there are inactive spots left to use, I put the key players who are likely in for a huge workload in the playoffs on the sideline. Barkley, Lawrence, Ojulari, and Williams should be kept off of the field. Then, I would limit the snaps of guys where the depth just isn’t there. Hodgins, James, Bellinger, Thomas, and most importantly Jones. Let this be a high-snap game for the likes of Ryder Anderson, Tomon Fox, Henry Mondeaux, Justin Ellis, Oshane Ximines, Tyrod Taylor, Kenny Golladay, Nick Vannett, Matt Peart, and Dane Belton.

3. What do you do with Adoree’ Jackson if he is ready to play? Sounds like he was close this past week to getting on the field. Is he experienced enough to simply just be kept on the sidelines and throw him back into the fire against MIN? He is vital to the gameplan against that passing game. I feel Xavier McKinney needs more snaps to get the feel back and I am less concerned with re-injury / soft tissue with him. This is a tough call, but I think we should see Jackson on the field (if fully ready) for 15-20 snaps. Let him get a feel. Let him make a hit or two. Let the confidence build. But let’s maybe keep him away from returning punts this time!

Jan 012023
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (January 1, 2023)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants easily defeated the Indianapolis Colts 38-10 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday afternoon. With the victory, the Giants not only improved their overall record to 9-6-1, but they clinched an NFC Wild Card playoff spot. This is the first time since 2016 that the Giants have had a winning record as well as making the playoffs. Regardless of the outcome of next weekend’s regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants will be the 6th seed in the first round of playoffs.

Given the score, as one would expect, the Giants also dominated overall team statistics. The Giants out-gained the Colts in first downs (26 to 14), total net yards (394 to 252), net yards rushing (217 to 128), net yards passing (177 to 124), and time of possession (31:36 to 28:24). The turnover battle was even with one apiece. New York was 4-of-7 (57 percent) on third down, while Indianapolis was 3-of-12 (25 percent). However, the Colts did convert twice on 4th down.

The first quarter was largely taken up by two drives by the Colts and one by the Giants that only resulted in three points for Indianapolis. After both teams exchanged punts, the Colts went 75 yards in nine plays to set up a 23-yard field goal and an early 3-0 lead. The big play was a contested, 49-yard bomb from quarterback Nick Foles to wide receiver Parris Campbell.

The Giants’ second possession of the game started with 2:21 left in the first quarter. On an 11-play drive that included eight runs and three passes, New York drove 71 yards. On 3rd-and-goal, quarterback Daniel Jones threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Richie James. Giants 7 – Colts 3.

After a quick three-and-out by the Colts, the Giants added to their advantage with a 9-play, 64-yard drive that ended with another 6-yard touchdown pass by Jones. This time his target was wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins, who caught his fourth touchdown in five weeks. A key play on this possession was a 10-yard pass to tight end Daniel Bellinger on 3rd-and-6. Giants 14 – Colts 3.

The Colts’ fourth possession of the first half started with 4:17 left on the clock. After picking up two first downs, Indianapolis faced a 3rd-and-11 from their own 46-yard line. Foles threw a pass towards the right sideline that was picked off by linebacker/safety Landon Collins, who returned the ball 52 yards four a defensive touchdown. The Giants were now up 21-3.

On the Colts’ fifth and final possession of the half, they picked up another first down. But on 3rd-and-4 from their own 48-yard line, Foles was crushed by outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux. Foles left the game with a rib injury and did not return. The Colts punted.

With just 46 seconds left on the clock and starting from their own 39-yard line, the Giants were able to drive to the Indianapolis 18-yard line. Place kicker Graham Gano kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired.

At the half, the Giants were up 24-3.

The Giants received the football to start the third quarter, but immediately turned the ball over when wide receiver Darius Slayton fumbled the ball away at the 30-yard line after a 5-yard reception. The defense only gave up one yard, however, and Indianapolis missed the 48-yard field goal. The Giants then responded with a quick, 6-play, 62-yard drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown run by Jones. Jones also completed a 28-yard pass to James on this drive. Giants 31 – Colts 3.

With Sam Ehlinger now playing quarterback, the Colts did cut the score to 31-10 with a 16-play, 68-yard possession that last over eight and a half minutes. Indianapolis converted on both 4th-and-1 and 4th-and-6 on this drive. Giants 31 – Colts 10.

With two minutes left in the third quarter, the Giants began their final scoring drive of the game. The possession started off with a 12-yard run by running back Saquon Barkley and a 25-yard run by Jones. A 44-yard successful field goal by Gano was nullified when the Giants accepted a defensive offsides penalty, giving New York a first down. Three plays later, Jones scored his second rushing touchdown of the game, this one from 10 yards out. The Giants were up 38-10 with 12 minutes to go in the contest.

The Colts gained a couple of first downs on the ensuing possession but punted on 4th-and-11 from their own 41-yard line. On the Giants’ final drive of the game, they picked up 57 yards and three first downs with mostly back-ups in the game, including Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. Most importantly, the team took 6:40 off of the clock before the Giants turned the ball over on downs on 4th-and-2. Indianapolis got the ball back with just 1:56 left on the clock.  Three plays later the game was over.

Jones finished the game 19-of-24 for 177 yards, two passing touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also was the team’s leading rusher with 11 carries for 91 yards (8.3 yards per carry) and two rushing touchdowns. He scored four touchdowns in all. Running backs Matt Breida and Saquon Barkley chipped in with 59 and 58 yards, respectively. The leading receiver was James, who caught seven passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Giants were credited with two sacks, one by Thibodeaux (who also had two tackles for losses and a pass defense) and the other by defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (who also had three hits on the quarterback). The big play of course was the defensive score by Collins.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants activated S Xavier McKinney from the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List, which he had been on since November 7th after breaking his hand during the bye week. To make room for McKinney, the Giants waived WR David Sills from the 53-man roster.

The team also activated (standard elevation) FB/TE Chris Myarick and CB Zyon Gilbert from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster. Myarick was re-signed to the Practice Squad on Friday after he had been waived from the 53-man roster on Wednesday.

Inactive for the game were CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee), TE Lawrence Cager, OG Jack Anderson, OG Wyatt Davis, LB Jarrad Davis, CB Rodarius Williams, and S Dane Belton.

DL Leonard Williams (burner) came out of the game in the second half and did not return.

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:

The Giants finished 5-3-1 in MetLife Stadium, their best home record and first winning mark since they were 7-1 in 2016.

The Giants ended their NFL-long streak of 43 games without scoring at least 30 points.

The 28-point margin of victory is the Giants’ largest since December 7, 2014, when they defeated the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, 36-7.

The Giants did not allow a first-half offensive touchdown for the sixth time this season.

Brian Daboll is the fifth coach in Giants history to lead the team to the playoffs in his debut season, joining Allie Sherman (1961), Dan Reeves (1993), Jim Fassel (1997), and Ben McAdoo (2016). Rookie coach Earl Potteiger led the Giants to the 1927 NFL championship in the era before playoffs.

QB Daniel Jones has not thrown in interception in 12 of 16 games this season.

The Giants ended a four-game losing streak to Indianapolis and defeated the Colts for the first time since December 22, 2002, and the first time at home since December 12, 1993.

Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Dec 302022
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 24, 2022)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

Win and in. If you told the team, media, and fans the New York Giants would be in this position in Week 16 back in August, everyone would have signed up for that scenario. And here we are. It’s all in front of the Giants, who play their final home game against a disappointing 4-10-1 Indianapolis Colts team. But the Giants still have to do it. No game has been easy for them all year, and Sunday’s game is likely to be yet another nail-biter. We’ll learn a lot about the character of this team by the way they perform in this particular contest. The pressure is on.


  • DL Leonard Williams (neck – probable)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle – questionable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee – doubtful)
  • S Xavier McKinney (hand – still on Non-Football Injury List)

The Giants should not take the Indianapolis Colts lightly, despite their record. Aside from a few games, Indianapolis has been in every contest, and the main reason has been their defense. Despite being handicapped by an offense that has repeatedly put them in a tough position, the Indianapolis defense is 11th in the NFL in yards allowed (11th against the pass, 20th against the run). For comparison’s sake, the Giants are 27th in defense. A team that plays good defense and special teams will be in most games, and the Colts have both.

Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley does not use a lot of exotic looks. He plays a more conservative style in order to prevent giving up the big play in the passing game. It works because the Colts have talent up front in their 4-3 defense. The headliner is DeForest Buckner, the 6’7”, 295-pound defensive tackle with tree trunks for arms. Buckner is a disruptive force both against the run and pass (8 sacks). Fellow tackle Grover Stewart is no slouch (42 tackles, 4 sacks). Both will present problems for Jon Feliciano, Mark Glowinski, Ben Bredeson, and Nick Gates. The ends are talented too. RDE Yannick Ngakoue has 9.5 sacks on the year and will battle Andrew Thomas. Despite missing five games, LDE Kwity Paye has 42 tackles, six sacks, and 10 tackles for losses and will face Evan Neal, who has struggled in pass protection.

The linebackers are solid with Bobby Okereke and Zaire Franklin leading the way with an incredible 279 combined tackles. Ex-Bill and Patriot Stephon Gilmore is the familiar name in the secondary. While on the wrong side of 30, he’s still playing well.

The problem for the Giants remains the same: the inability to score enough points. The Giants had a mini-offensive explosion in last week’s loss to the Vikings, scoring 24 for just the fourth time this season. Ironically, the Giants have one of the better red-zone offenses in the league this year while the Colts have one of the worst red-zone defenses. But the offensive line has to hold up well enough for Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley to do their things. In my mind, offensive success in this game will come down to Thomas, Gates/Bredeson, Feliciano, Glowinski, and Neal up front against that talented front. Indianapolis won’t blitz much. But they will play games and stunt up front.

You don’t have to look far to see the warning signs. Despite the Colts’ offense turning the ball over three times, the quarterback being sacked seven times, and being held to 173 total yards last Monday against the Chargers, the Indianapolis defense still held San Diego to just 20 points. The Giants had better take this opponent seriously or they will get burned.

The head-scratcher with the downfall of the Colts this year has been the unexpected demise of an offensive line that was considered the strength of the team. To be blunt, their line has played like crap this year, allowing 56 sacks (2nd most in the NFL). The Colts are now on their third quarterback this season with Nick Foles, who has not played much since 2020 and is coming off of a 3-interception game. How bad have the Colts been on offense? They are 29th overall in yards gained per game (310 yards) and 31st in points scored (16.5). They average 207 yards passing and 103 yards rushing. They don’t make many big plays and they don’t score many points. Worse, they are bad at converting on 3rd down and turn the ball over (30 turnovers and a -13 turnover differential). And on top of all of this, their #1 stud running back, Jonathan Taylor, is out.

Should be a cakewalk, right? Well, yes and no. Aside from the old adage of “on any given Sunday,” the Colts have just enough offensive weapons to create problems for the Giants. Indianapolis has two good tight ends in Kylen Granson and Jelani Woods (late note: Granson has been ruled out). Wideouts Michael Pittman, Parris Campbell, and Alec Pierce are more than solid. The 6’4”, 223-pound Pittman has 90 catches on the year and will present a significant size match-up problem for Fabian Moreau. (It unfortunately appears that Adoree’ Jackson will miss another game). Pierce is the deep threat, averaging over 15 yards per completion. In a game that is likely to be low scoring, the Giants simply can’t allow the Colts’ offense to get untracked or they will be in trouble.

The other issue is that New York’s defense isn’t playing as well as most fans think it is. The Giants are not only 27th overall, but they remain 29th in rushing defense and are dead last in yards per rush defense (5.4). At some point, some opponent is simply going to try to nullify all of Wink Martindale’s blitzing by just running the ball over and over again. If I’m Head Coach Jeff Saturday of the Colts, and I have a struggling Nick Foles at quarterback, I just may attempt this strategy on Sunday. The Colts could attempt to stick with RB Zack Moss and just try handing off to him 30 times.

The problem for the Colts is their offensive line versus the Giants’ defensive front of Kayvon Thibodeaux, Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, and Azeez Ojulari. But everyone needs to stay healthy and play a full game, which has been a problem for Williams and Ojulari as of late. Thibodeaux could be due for another big week as he is facing fellow rookie LT Bernhard Raimann. The Colts had all kinds of issues protecting the relatively immobile Nick Foles last Monday night and that should continue on Sunday. The key is to get Foles and the offensive line in 2nd- and 3rd-and-long situations. Stop the run so you earn the right to rush the passer.

Finally, while the Giants have 13 fumble recoveries this year, they have an embarrassingly-low number of interceptions with four. Foles threw three picks in the last game. Get the football. Make life easier for your own offense.

With a blocked punt now added to their growing list of screw ups, the New York Giants special teams unit is officially hurting more than they are helping this year. Colts are #1 in kickoff returns, averaging over 28 yards per return.

Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale on QB Nick Foles: “(Monday was) the first game he’s played in a while. So, it’s going to do nothing but get better for him, seeing things, going at a faster pace of it. But there’s definitely blood in the water.”

I get the sense that many fans think this will be cakewalk. I don’t think so. Nothing has been easy for this still undermanned New York Giants team. Expect another close game in the 4th quarter. And as I’ve been preaching for weeks, turnovers will likely decide the game. Giants won the turnover battle against the Commanders and won. They lost the turnover battle against the Vikings and lost. Win the turnover battle and you probably win this game.

Nevertheless, it’s all in front of this New York Giants team. Win and in. It would be a shame if they let this opportunity slip away. Just get that win!

Dec 262018
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 23, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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Indianapolis Colts 28 – New York Giants 27


The last time Eli Manning and the Giants played in Indianapolis, it was against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Fast forward almost 7 years later and Eli Manning is still the quarterback, the lone representative from that Super Bowl winning team still on the roster. Two new coaching staffs, a new General Manager, and countless players have gone through the revolving door since that night in early February. It almost seems like that game against Tom Brady and the Patriots was a lifetime ago, as a lot has changed since then, mostly for the worst.

Their opponent was the team that plays its home games there, the near-playoff bound Colts. This organization hasn’t finished above .500 since 2014, saw their franchise QB go down with a serious throwing shoulder injury, and got nixed at the last second by Josh McDaniels in a coaching search. But 2018 has been a year to remember, as they came in winners of 7 of their last 8.

After a lackluster loss to TEN, the Giants came out firing on all cylinders. They quickly jumped out to a 14-0 lead thanks to a balanced offensive approach that saw Eli Manning spread the ball out across the board. Saquon Barkley’s 1 yard run and Manning’s 3 yard pass to Scott Simonson were the early scores. Combined with 5 pre-snap penalties by IND in the first quarter, this one had domination written all over it.

IND started to pick up chunk gains via the passing game but Andrew Luck tried to do a bit too much as they approached the red zone. He aimlessly threw the ball near the end zone without a Colts receiver in the same zip code. Safety Curtis Riley came down with it for his 4th interception of the season. The Giants offense began to sputter, however, as the IND defense crowded the box and prevented the running game from taking off.

IND put together a 12-play drive that took up most of the remaining time in the 2nd quarter. They spread the ball out, attacking the NYG linebackers in coverage and eventually got into the end zone via an easy 1-yard touchdown by rookie RB Nyheim Hines. NYG took the ball back and marched down the field to get 3 more points on the board. They went in to halftime possessing a commanding 17-7 lead and due to get the ball back after halftime.

The NYG offense continued to struggle early in the second half. They punted the ball to IND following their first drive and Luck led the offense right back downfield. It took just 7 plays to gain 85 yards, capped by a 2-yard pass to Dontrelle Inman to bring IND within 3. They often say the first 2 possessions of the second half go a long way in determining the outcome of a game. IND, despite being down 3, clearly had the momentum.

This is where Manning stepped up and showed, once again, there is enough left in the tank. He went 5/5 for 79 yards, connecting with four different receivers. He got the ball down to the goal line and took a QB sneak past the goal line for the Giants’ first touchdown since their second drive of the game. They took back a 10-point lead.

The IND offense continued to stay hot, as they picked up chunk gain after chunk gain. The NYG pass rush was struggling to disrupt Luck and the back seven couldn’t stick to anyone in coverage. It took just a 7 play drive for them to get back within 3, this time via a 3-yard touchdown run by Marlon Mack. Two plays prior to that score, an Olivier Vernon sack-fumble that was recovered by BJ Hill was negated by a Janoris Jenkins hold in coverage. Even though NYG led the entire game, it had a close-to definite feel that Luck and Colts were in control.

The 4th quarter started off with a 12-play NYG drive that saw them get inside the 10-yard line, but had to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Pro Bowl kicker Aldrick Rosas. The two teams then traded possessions with the margin at 6. With IND starting a drive near midfield with under 4 minutes left, Luck led them piece by piece all the way inside the 5. A 1-yard pass to Chester Rogers put them ahead for the first time with under a minute left.

On Manning’s third pass of their last-ditch attempt to get in field goal range, he threw a deep pass into double coverage that was intercepted by safety Malik Hooker. That was all she wrote.

NYG loses 28-27.


-Eli Manning: 25/33 – 309 yards – 1 TD/1 INT. Manning also scored a 1-yard touchdown on the ground. Manning, up against a red-hot defense that had a lot to play for, came up with one of his better games on the year without his top target, Odell Beckham. He spread the ball out. He was accurate short, intermediate, and deep. And he was completing a lot of passes on the move. A very solid game for a guy who will be debated all offseason long in relation to his future with the team. I’ll say it now. Unless NYG trades for an established QB, Manning will be the opening game starter next year. He has earned it.


-Saquon Barkley: 21 att / 43 yards – 5 rec / 34 yards. The IND defense came into today with one focus; do not let Barkley beat them. They had 8 defenders in the box more often than not on 1st and 2nd down, something we haven’t seen yet this year. In addition to that, their run defense has been one of the best all year. Barkley just couldn’t get going and the interior offensive linemen didn’t do him any favors. He did drop a pass and there were two runs where he chose the wrong running lane. The past two weeks have been the least productive we’ve seen in his rookie year and it could end up really hurting his Rookie of the Year chances if it trickles into the finale.


-Sterling Shepard: 6 rec / 113 yards. With Odell Beckham out for 3 games, it’s been an opportunity for Shepard to show he more than a complimentary asset. The previous 2 did not work out well for him, as he combined for 4 catches / 51 yards. However in this one, he stepped up big time. 5 of his 6 catches were in the first half when the NYG offense was really flowing, but he was quiet in the second half. Those 5 catches all resulted in first downs and that is one of his strongest attributes to his game. He finds the chains and stays tough in traffic. Very hard guy to cover short and intermediate but I do think there is some untapped upside with him that won’t be seen unless he is with a better quarterback.

-Bennie Fowler and Cory Latimer, two veterans who bring quality size and speed to the table, each had a catch for a first down. Fowler’s resulted in 26 yards, and when I see plays like that, it makes me think he may be worth bringing back for 2019. He can do some things.


-Evan Engram: 6 rec / 87 yards – 2 att / 26 yards. Engram has really broken out these past 2 weeks and reminded everyone what he can do if given enough opportunities. I’m still not sold on him being an every down tight end, as he once again finished with a below average grade as a blocker, but the speed/burst/agility he has with the ball is downright scary for opponents. He is one of the main reasons why I think this offense has a ton of potential in 2019 as a whole.

-Scott Simonson and Rhett Ellison were both on the field equally. They struggled to impact the running game, as they both finished with below average grades as blockers. However, they combined for 5 catches on 5 targets for 35 yards. Simonson scored his first touchdown of his career on a short rollout pass from Manning in the 1st quarter.


-Nate Solder, who’s play has stabilized in recent weeks, graded out as the best OL in this game. He allowed 1 pressure and was the cause for a TFL, but otherwise he did a nice job neutralizing the blindside pressure. He still doesn’t get a good enough push as a run blocker, especially when he has to move laterally. Not a big deal, but I did find it noteworthy he was getting moved back when Barkley was trying to hit his gaps.

-Chad Wheeler has steadily been below average throughout the second half of the season. I really hoped he would go in the other direction but I think his tape is going to lead the team to looking for a new right tackle. He allowed 2 TFL and a pressure in this one.


-Really rough day for this trio. Rookie Will Hernandez, who has been the best lineman on this team all year, had his first negative grade since early in the year. Denico Autry and Margus Hunt really gave him problems with their oversized frames combined with fast feet, similar to Calais Campbell in week 1. He allowed 2 pressures and didn’t sustain his blocks long enough in the running game.

-Jamon Brown, who is being proclaimed as a savior the line, had his worst game in a Giants uniform. He allowed 2 pressures, 1 TFL, and was penalized twice. While I do think he can be considered for the starting RG spot in 2019, he has not by any means cemented his name there. When he’s on, he is certainly a difference maker. But the inconsistency he shows game to game is exactly what made the Rams toss him onto the road.

-OC John Greco got the start with Spence Pulley missing the game with a bad calf. His lack of ability is still there. Greco graded out as the second worst blocker of the day, allowing a pressure, a TFL, and recording a block-in-the-back penalty.


-Olivier Vernon, a name that will be debated in the coming months when it comes to his status with the team, was very active. He didn’t blow up the stat sheet but he made a couple lateral-hustle tackles against the run in addition to 2 pressures. He also had a sack-fumble negated by a Janoris Jenkins hold.

-Kareem Martin and Lorenzo Carter split snaps at the other edge spot. Neither were very effective but Carter did record 2 pressures. It’s been exactly what I expected out of Carter for his rookie season. He makes plays that stem from his length and speed, but there isn’t enough power or skill to his game just yet. This offseason will be huge for him when it comes to physical and mental development.


-Dalvin Tomlinson and BJ Hill has a solid showing against the interior of the IND offensive line. They were both stout for most of the game, although they were completely taken out of the picture on both of IND’s goal line rushing touchdowns. Tomlinson added a pressure and a TFL and Hill had a pressure as well. These two are solid pieces to the puzzle that will be important moving forward. The question still remains, however. Do they need a more capable run defender between them on first and second down?


-With Alec Ogletree out, BJ Goodson was given the opportunity to be the leader of the defense. He responded with one of his best games of the season. He finished with 6 tackles and 2 TFL. Nothing special there but considering IND ran the ball just 16 times, you can’t expect a ton from a middle linebacker. The reason I called this a standout performance by Goodson was his range in man coverage against the pass and his blitz-production. Goodson made a few plays on crossing-route passes where his speed and reaction stood out. He had 2 pressures and his ability to impact the game on multiple levels stood out here. I still think there is a high ceiling left with this kid.

-Tae Davis got the start again. He led the team with 7 tackles and he recorded the lone sack of the game for NYG. Impressive game for the UDFA. He has certainly taken his rookie lumps and this game was no different. Luck attacked Davis in coverage all afternoon and the IND ball carriers took advantage of his over-pursuit. He missed 2 tackles on the day and was neutralized on running plays.


-Janoris Jenkins leveled off his play after a rough game a week ago. He broke up a pass but was also flagged for a hold on a play where the Giants pass rush forced a fumble.

-BW Webb, whom has exceeded expectations as the team’s starting corner this year, had his worst game of the year in this one. In his few matchups against TY Hilton, he got torched downfield. He couldn’t get enough contact at the point of attack and he just couldn’t keep up downfield speed-wise. He was also flagged for pass interference in the end zone that eventually led to an IND touchdown.

-Grant Haley played nearly every snap in the nickel role with IND throwing the ball so much. He continues to struggle against receivers that have a significant size advantage but his hustle and quickness can make things happen. He has been a pleasant surprise for the past 2 months and has a nice base to build off of this upcoming offseason.


-Curtis Riley came down with his 4th interception of the year. Looking at his numbers on paper, there will be some who see him as a definite for this roster in 2019. While I do like the speed and aggression he brings to the table, he has shown on more than enough occasions he isn’t the guy you want protecting the back side of the field. Michael Thomas, however, has been a solid strong safety since Landon Collins went down. He did miss 2 tackles in this one, but I trust him to get the job done. He made a couple of smart read-and-react plays that don’t show up on stat sheets.


-K Aldrick Rosas :2/2 (Made 40, 27). 18 consecutive made FGs for the Pro Bowler. I was really hoping he would get a shot at a 55+ yarder to win the game. That could have capped what has likely been the best season by NYG kicker in franchise history.

-P Riley Dixon: 3 Punts – 48.3 avg / 47.3 net. Not many know this, but Dixon has been one of the top 7-8 punters in the NFL this year. His net average is a very solid 41.7 yards on the year.


-QB Eli Manning, WR Sterling Shepard, LB BJ Goodson


-OG Jamon Brown, OC John Greco, CB BW Webb


-The Colts offensive line went from bottom 5 to top 10 in a matter of a year. The two main reasons? Two rookies. 1st rounder Quenton Nelson and 2nd rounder Braden Smith. These two, ironically, were the top 2 OL on my board in the 2018 Draft. They have been steady improving each week and even though they took some rookie hits early in the year, this OL has the look of a dominant group in the coming years.

-Darius Leonard, a LB I graded to be a top 10 overall prospect in the 2018 class, has been nothing short of dominant all year. This is the new age LB who is hard to find, but they are out there. Height, length, speed, an ability to impact plays on all three downs. He has all the range you can ask for, coverage ability of a safety, pass rush capabilities via short area burst, and enough stoutness against inside run blockers. Does NYG need to find one of these guys in the draft? Well they may already have him: Landon Collins.

-All the talk about Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz….etc. Who is the next top dog in the NFL at the QB position? It’s Andrew Luck then everyone else. I mean it. This guy is the best combination of throwing power, accuracy, and decision making. He makes plays with his legs. He is tough to take down in the pocket. And he stays mentally stable as good as anyone I have seen. He plays within the system, he takes what the defense gives. Now that Luck has a formidable offensive line, he should have an easier time staying on the field. Luck is about to take over the league.


-The Giants have one game left, at home, against a team that won’t be in all-out mode. Is this the perfect opportunity to get a start for Kyle Lauletta under his belt before entering an offseason that will be filled with long-term QB debate? The knee jerk answer is yes. But like I said when he was drafted, is Lauletta the guy that is going to determine how NYG handles the position? No. I think this guy is a career backup. Is there a chance he is more? Sure. But you can say that about every young backup QB in the league. Lauletta getting a start may be more about fans wanting something fresh more than him actually being capable.

-At this time last year, the Giants were just praying for the season to be over. There was nothing to be excited about. There was nothing to watch, really. However here we are in a similar, no-shot-at-the-playoffs type situation while division rivals are gearing up for postseason play. But we can all agree this team is indeed better than a year ago with more long-term potential than a year ago. The offensive line is better. The playmaking on offense has shown more. The schemes seem to have more dependability. There are several holes to be filled but we knew that would be the case anyway.

-This may be the last we see of a few of the higher paid players. Olivier Vernon and Janoris Jenkins come to mind first. Should NYG keep these two? Well if there is any thought of them competing in 2019, I say you keep them. They may be overpaid, but I still think they are better than what you are going to find on the market. Let’s not forget one thing – the NYG pass rush improved as a whole once Vernon came back. My vote is to keep him here.

Dec 232018
Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 23, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

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The Indianapolis Colts came from behind to defeat the New York Giants 28-27 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana on Sunday. With the loss, the Giants fell to 5-10 on the season.

Indianapolis received the football to start the game but their first three drives ended with two three-and-outs and an interception by free safety Curtis Riley.

Meanwhile, the Giants jumped on top quickly with their first two drives ending in touchdowns. First, New York went 75 yards in 11 plays, the possession culminating with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Saquon Barkley. Then the Giants drove 87 yards in nine plays, the big play being a 55-yard strike from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Sterling Shepard. Manning finished this possession with a 3-yard touchdown throw to tight end Scott Simonson.

After New York went three-and-out on their third drive, the Colts responded with a 12-play, 78-yard possession that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Nyheim Hines with just over four minutes before halftime. The Giants then extended their lead by moving the ball 53 yards in nine plays, setting up a 40-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. The Colts could not get into scoring position on their last possession of the first half.

At the half, the Giants led 17-7.

After picking up one first down on their initial possession of the 3rd quarter, the Giants punted the ball away. The Colts proceeded to cut the score to 17-14 with a 7-play, 85-yard possession that ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andrew Luck to wide receiver Dontrelle Inman. Luck also completed a 55-yard pass to wide receiver T.Y. Hilton on this drive.

The Giants impressively responded with their own touchdown, moving the ball 85 yards in eight plays, including a 32-yard pass to tight end Evan Engram. Manning finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and the Giants led 24-14.

However, the Giants defense could not hold and the Colts scored their second touchdown on their second possession of the half after a 7-play, 74-yard affair that ended with a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Marlon Mack. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Giants led 24-21.

The Giants reached the red zone on their ensuing possession but were forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal by Rosas. Both teams then exchanged punts, the Giants being forced to punt out of their own end zone.

Trailing by six points, the Colts’ subsequent possession began at their own 47-yard line with 3:43 left in the game. A 2-yard pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-3 by linebacker Tae Davis gave the Colts their first first down. Luck then scrambled for 14 yards and threw four consecutive passes for a total of 22 yards down to the Giants’ 8-yard line. Cornerback B.W. Webb was then flagged with a 7-yard pass interference penalty. With 59 seconds left in the game, Luck found wide receiver Chester Rogers for the 1-yard, game-winning score.

The Giants began their final desperate drive at their own 25-yard line with 55 seconds left and just one timeout. After completing two short passes for 11 yards, Manning’s deep throw to wide receiver Bennie Fowler was intercepted at the Colts’ 35-yard line with less than 30 seconds to play.

Offensively, Manning finished 25-of-33 for 309 yards, one touchdown, and one interception for a QB rating of 101.7. His leading receivers were Sterling Shepard (6 catches for 113 yards), Engram (6 catches for 87 yards), and Barkley (5 catches for 34 yards). However, Barkley was held to 43 yards rushing and one touchdown on 21 carries.

Defensively, the Giants allowed just 49 yards rushing, but 353 net passing yards. And after holding the Colts to just one score in the first half, the defense allowed three touchdowns in four drives in the second half. Indianapolis was 4-for-4 in red zone opportunities. The Giants forced only one turnover (interception by Riley) and only picked up one sack (by linebacker Tae Davis).

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

Inactive for the New York Giants were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), center Spencer Pulley (calf), defensive end Kerry Wynn (finger), linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion), quarterback Kyle Lauletta, and safety Kamrin Moore.

Tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion) and defensive end Mario Edwards (calf) left the game with injuries and did not return.

Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Pat Shurmur (Video)
  • QB Eli Manning (Video)

Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media on Monday.

Dec 212018

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Game Preview: New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts, December 23, 2018

A few steps forward, one Giant step backwards. Last weekend’s loss to the Tennessee Titans was a real eye-opener. The Giants were 4-1 in their last five contests heading into that game with momentum building. While still immensely flawed, they were still playing hard and showing some signs of becoming a more physical football team. Then a slightly-above-.500 Tennessee Titans team bitch-slapped them back to reality. The Titans dominated both lines of scrimmage and the score never felt as close as the 17-0 end result. The defeat also officially ended any faint hopes of a playoff spot.

I think the final two games of the 2018 season are fairly important for this franchise. What direction is this team heading? Is the arrow pointed up, down, stuck in neutral? How do the Giants respond this week? With another dud? Do they rebound?

The glass-half-empty crowd will lament Pat Shurmur and Eli Manning have done just enough to encourage ownership to mistakenly keep both around another year. The question remains is this team better or worse off bringing both back in 2019, or is the team merely postponing their inevitable departure in January 2020?

The glass-half-full crowd will argue that this was a team clearly in transition that played better in the second half of the season than it did in the first half. They will argue that you need to give Shurmur and his staff more than one season, and that firing the coaching staff will simply lead to more chaos. They also will argue that there is no clear better alternative to Eli Manning in 2019.

What we don’t want is the team being stuck in neutral, ensconced in the basement of a bad division for the foreseeable future.


  • WR Odell Beckham (quad – out)
  • WR Russell Shepard (ankle – out)
  • WR Jawill Davis (hamstring – probable)
  • OC Spencer Pulley (calf – out)
  • DE Kerry Wynn (thumb – questionable)
  • LB Alec Ogletree (concussion – out)


Though not all of the points were generated by the offense, there was a clear belief and feeling that the offense was finally turning the corner based on point production. During the 1-7 start, the Giants had averaged less than 19 points per game. During the 4-1 turnaround, the team averaged over 31 points per game. Then the Giants had their worst day of the season last Sunday, not even reaching the red zone until the end of the game.

It was no coincidence that the offense line regressed terribly in the game, both run and pass blocking. Or that receivers dropped a lot of passes. Or that Eli Manning once again showed a still-too-frequent tendency to make really bad decisions/turnovers. When you can’t block up front, you are going to have major issues on offense. If you can’t handle the basics, like catching the football, your punter is going to have a busy day. If your quarterback makes a bone-headed play in a still-tight game, you’re going to lose.

Offensively, the most alarming red flags were the offensive line and Manning seriously regressing again. Once again, we are now left with the questions: (1) how many starters do the Giants need to replace on the OL, and (2) is Eli Manning capable of being a consistent game-manager at this stage of his career? Nate Solder is up and down. Spencer Pulley, who is now hurt and may not play the final two games, looks like a clear liability. Jamon Brown flashes in the run game but also is too inconsistent, especially in pass protection. Chad Wheeler tries hard, but he’s just not getting it done.

Manning hasn’t thrown for a lot of touchdowns this year (18). He’s immobile. And he no longer appears to be able to elevate the level of play by those around him. But he is completing the highest percentage of passes in his career (66 percent), hasn’t turned the ball over much (just nine interceptions; though he does have six fumbles), and has played five games this year with a QBR over 100. With the Giants relying more on Saquon Barkley in recent games, Manning and – not coincidentally – the entire offense were playing better. Then came last Sunday. Still in a one-score game late in the 3rd quarter, Manning’s two boneheaded turnovers proved to be the back-breakers. If you are going to become a “game manager”, you can’t kill your team like that.

The prevailing opinion is that – for better or worse – the Giants are “stuck” with Manning for one more year. He has a no-trade clause. It is difficult to see him walking away from the $17 million dollars (salary, roster bonus, workout bonus) he is due in 2019. Ownership/management appears excessively loyal to him, perhaps out of guilt knowing that they never really gave him a reasonable offensive line in the last third of his career. Fans will feel better if Eli plays well in these last two games. But if he doesn’t, it could be a long and very grumpy offseason.

One last comment. Last week should put to rest that this team is “better off without Odell Beckham.” Now, one can argue that the team may be better off with a draft bonanza by trading him away. But you don’t take one of the NFL’s best players off of your active roster and become a better team.


As much criticism as the offense has received this year, the long-term outlook on the defense is equally alarming. Teams are running over the Giants. And if you can’t stop the run, you can’t win. The Giants don’t maintain their gaps well and they don’t tackle well. And when the other team does pass the football, though there have been some signs of life in recent games, the Giants still have serious issues rushing the passer and covering the middle of the football field. The Giants desperate personnel needs on defense in addition to their huge needs list on offense.

My biased view is that the team’s best pass rusher, Olivier Vernon, is a loser. He’s a guy who will tease but never be a winning football player. The linebacking corps as a unit is still so devoid of talent that I now question the strategic decision to shift this team from the 4-3 to the 3-4. Simply put, outside of Alec Ogletree’s recent interception fest, the linebackers are not making plays. They aren’t getting the quarterback. They aren’t stopping the run. They aren’t covering. The Giants may have one keeper in Lorenzo Carter, but he’s a guy who could also play at DE in a 4-3.

The secondary is also close to being a mess. Landon Collins being voted to the Pro Bowl is a joke, and will only contribute to his desire for a big pay day. Janoris Jenkins is a top-notch cover guy, but I get the feeling that he’s one of those guys who Bill Parcells or Bill Belichick would immediately get rid of. Whether you want to call it a “business decision” or a lack of physicality, his lack of willingness to “stick his head in there” leaves one with a bad taste in their mouth. The Giants have no free safety and no up-and-coming players at corner unless Sam Beal turns out to be good player.

And I can’t get a good read on James Bettcher. Is he worse, better, or the same as the disappointing Steve Spagnuolo? He doesn’t have a lot to work with, but at the same time, declining fundamentals such as tackling and gap responsibility are very concerning.


Believe it or not, the strong part of the 2018 New York Giants ended up being their special teams unit, including both kickers, kick and punt coverage, and the return game.

Most NFL teams have bad days like the Giants did last Sunday. Even the 2007 and 2011 New York Giants did. Was that a blip on the radar or a real sign that the 4-1 “turnaround” was a mirage? We’ll know more by the end of the game on Sunday.

Nov 062014
Tom Coughlin and Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (November 3, 2014)

Tom Coughlin and Ahmad Bradshaw – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Indianapolis Colts 40 – New York Giants 24

Game Overview

The New York Giants were badly beaten by a healthier team with vastly superior personnel and completely comfortable with their offensive and defensive schemes.

The Giants record since 2011 (19-21) and the number of uncompetitive games this team has played proves beyond a shadow a doubt that this team simply lacks talent to seriously compete for a playoff spot. The Giants are getting crushed far too regularly, and not just by top teams but average teams like the Panthers and Lions. Say what you will about the coaching staff (some of it warranted), but how many top 100 players are on this roster?

I’ve said it again and again – injuries and bad picks have gutted the 2008-2012 New York Giants draft classes. There are only five players left from the 31 players taken in the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 drafts: Will Beatty, Jason Pierre-Paul, Prince Amukamara, James Brewer, and Jacquian Williams. And the five players from the 2012 NFL draft still on the roster are not performing at a high standard:  Rueben Randle, Jayron Hosley, Adrien Robinson, Brandon Mosley, and Markus Kuhn. You can’t have five “bad” drafts in a row and not have that impact your team.

New York Giants - Indianapolis Colts November 3 2014 (2)


New York Giants - Indianapolis Colts November 3 2014 (3)

As for the game itself, the Giants offense never gave the team a chance, and then the defense collapsed in the third quarter.

The warning signs were there before the game started:

  • The Giants had not scored an opening-possession touchdown in 18 consecutive games, the NFL’s longest streak. (Now unfortunately 19 games).
  • Coming into the game, the Colts had outscored their opponents in the first quarter, 68-13. The Giants had been outscored, 48-14. (The Giants actually held their ground here, only being outscored 3-0 by Colts in first quarter).
  • Other than the game against the Steelers, the Colts have been the NFL’s stingiest defense on third down. (The Giants were 4-of-16 or 25 percent, which is actually better than most of the Colts opponents, believe it or not).

The Colts have the NFL’s #1 offense and average over 30 points per game. Everyone knew for the Giants to have a chance, they would have to score points early and often. The Giants failed miserably, scoring one field goal in eight first-half possessions. They punted seven other times, going three-and-out four times and only gaining one first down on two other drives. The Giants were very fortunate that the defense kept them in the game, only trailing 16-3 at the half.

During the Giants three-game winning streak, it seemed as if the Giants were finally grasping Ben McAdoo’s offense, and being more and more comfortable with the up-tempo, no-huddle style. For some reason, the pace has slowed and the entire offense seems out of sync during the last three losses. Perhaps that is due to the loss of Victor Cruz and Rashad Jennings. Perhaps most significantly, the offensive line is regressing again despite the same five linemen starting every game this year.

The Giants finally scored their first touchdown in the third quarter, but it was too little too late as the defense – now missing Prince Amukamara – imploded as the Colts scored three touchdowns in the third quarter and tacked on another field goal early in the fourth quarter to take a commanding 30-point lead. For the Giants to have a chance, it was necessary for the defense to force some turnovers, and it didn’t – no interceptions or fumble recoveries. And the Giants gave up eight plays over 20 yards, including four plays over 30 yards.

This once-proud franchise is clearly on downward talent spiral. At this point last season, the Giants were 2-6. Now they are 3-5. They are what they are – a bad football team. Many fans don’t want to admit that one obvious truth. It’s easier to make excuses. But the road to recovery begins with accurately recognizing your own problems.

One offseason and a handful of new players are not going to fix this mess. Hopefully management recognizes that. The Giants talk tough and can play well in spurts, but when better teams punch them in the mouth, the air goes out of their balloon and they wilt. Unlike the 2007 and 2011 New York Giants, there isn’t much toughness or resilience. And they aren’t very good.


The greatest tragedy of this season is that Eli Manning is actually having one of his best seasons and it is being wasted. That said, the Giants passing game in the first half was not good. Eli only completed 9-of-23 passes for 97 yards (52.3 quarterback rating). Not all of that was on him as he was the victim of a number of dropped passes. But a few of his throws were off the mark and his delay of game penalty after a kickoff return was inexcusable. In the second half, he completed 18-of-29 passes for 262 yards, but the bulk of that damage came far too late to matter.

“The ball was high at times during the game,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Fundamentally, he obviously just has to get the ball down. He knows that. We talked about it and hopefully we will get better at that.”

Running Backs

The Giants running game has simply disappeared with Rashad Jennings being hurt. Andre Williams had yet another disappointing game, rushing 12 times for 22 yards (1.8 yards per carry). Peyton Hillis had four carries for 20 yards. In other words, the Giants top two backs combined for 42 yards. That’s not going to get it done. As The Bergen Record pointed out, 11 of the Giants 3rd down situations were nine yards or more. Much of that is due to the failed running game.

The Giants have talked about Williams’ lack of patience as a runner and how this is normal for a young back. That may be true, but he really still is not getting a lot of running room to operate with. Is that because teams stack up against the inside run, or simply the Giants’ offensive line getting out-muscled on a down-by-down basis? Regardless, Williams didn’t help matters with his fumble that turned a 2nd-and-6 situation into a 3rd-and-12 situation. Williams’ best run of the night was a 9-yard carry outside a poor block by Larry Donnell. He juked the oncoming defender and finished the run with power. There was an odd play late in the second half where Weston Richburg pulled to his right, but Williams ran left to the spot vacated by Richburg. It seems to me he ran the wrong way.

Williams had two nice back-to-back plays on the Giants first TD drive when he caught a short pass on 3rd-and-10, broke two tackles, and powered his way down to the 1-yard line. He was hit at the line on the very next play but still managed to score.

Hillis flashed on two back-to-back plays that were well-executed: a 26-yard screen pass followed immediately by a 16-yard run. But even on these plays, it’s clear that Hillis is a lumbering back who struggles to create on his own. Hillis also missed a blitz pick-up on 3rd-and-9 on the same drive, leading to an incompletion and punt.

Peyton Hillis, New York Giants (November 3, 2014)

Peyton Hillis – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Henry Hynoski picked up a 3rd-and-1 first down on a rare carry.

Wide Receivers

The Giants miss Victor Cruz. But they are also being very much hurt by the fact that Rueben Randle is increasingly looking like a 2nd-round bust. After three seasons, there is still too much miscommunication between Randle and Manning, and that has to be on the wideout. Randle was targeted 11 times but only caught four passes for 49 yards. Early in the game, Manning expected Randle to continue his route across the middle of the field on 3rd-and-9, but Randle stopped and the Giants were forced to punt. In the second quarter, Randle dropped a 3rd-and-7 pass inside the Colts red zone. The Giants were forced to settle for a field goal.

Third receiver Preston Parker was terrible. He was targeted six times, dropped three passes, only caught one pass for seven yards, and left the game with a foot sprain. The Giants should consider replacing him with Kevin Ogletree in the slot.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 3, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

One of the few players to play well was Odell Beckham who caught 8-of-11 passes thrown in his direction for 156 yards. He had a key 19-yard reception on 3rd-and-10, but he also dropped a pass in the first half. For the first time in a Giants uniform, Beckham demonstrated his dangerous run-after-the-catch ability on his 59-yard play on the Giants first touchdown drive.

Corey Washington saw action in the second half and finished with four catches for 48 yards and 20-yard touchdown. He’s still very raw and will make mistakes, but given the reality of the 3-5 season, it’s time to give him more playing time.

Larry Donnell, New York Giants (November 3, 2014)

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Tight Ends

The Giants need more out of Larry Donnell, who caught four of eight passes thrown in his direction for 25 yards and one touchdown. He dropped a well-thrown deep pass from Manning in the first quarter.

Offensive Line

Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo keep giving this line an opportunity to improve its ability to be physical and run block. The line keeps failing miserably. Despite all intentions, de facto, the Giants are a one-dimensional team. When they run the ball, it’s almost like throwing away snaps. The Giants have two options – they can continue to work at improving their run game and pray; or they can largely abandon the run, put Manning at far greater risk, and pray.

An illustration on the run blocking came late in the first quarter. RT Justin Pugh, who has really regressed this year, completely whiffed on his block on one run by Andre Williams. On the very next snap, OC J.D. Walton could not sustain his block on the defensive tackle who stuffed the run. Two plays, two bad blocks, two yards. Even worse, on the game’s first offensive play, the Giants didn’t even bother to block the weakside end, leading to a 1-yard loss.

Too often, the opposing team is simply not being moved off of the line of scrimmage. Look at the following shot where Walton, Pugh, and Donnell are stalemated BEHIND the line of scrimmage. Williams has little chance on this play.

Giants Blockers Stalemated at Line of Scrimmage

Giants Blockers Stalemated Behind Line of Scrimmage

And the OL continues to make life more difficult for Manning. On the second Giants possession, Pugh was flagged with a false start (now 1st-and-15). After a dropped pass by Larry Donnell, Will Beatty got beat to the inside and Eli was hit as he threw the ball (2nd-and-15 turns into 3rd-and-15). Giants run and punt. On the next series, John Jerry failed to pick up a stunt on 3rd-and-12 and Eli had to throw the ball away. Pugh also had an illegal use of hands penalty. The final dagger was Will Beatty getting beat to the outside on strip-sack-fumble that set the Colts up on the Giants 4-yard line and an insurmountable 37-10 advantage.

Weston Richburg left the game with a sprained ankle. Before that, he gave up a sack when he failed to pick up a stunt.

Even when the game was out of hand, the OL continued to piss me off. Pugh lazily allowed the end to get past him, nailing Hillis for a 4-yard loss. Then Jerry got beat for a sack-strip-fumble on Manning. Jerry Reese’s draft picks – including the two high-round draft picks at tackle – and free agent acquisitions on the offensive line suck.

Defensive Line

The Colts came out throwing, only running the ball with their backs four times in the first half of the game for a total of 20 yards. Andrew Luck threw 31 first-half passes, which is a high number for a full game. He completed 17 of those for 202 yards. The problem was that outside of DE/DT Robert Ayers (3 tackles, 1 sack, 7 quarterback hits, and 1 forced fumble), the rest of the line did not get enough heat on Luck. Ayers deserves special kudos. Seven QB hits is an exceptionally high number for one player. And he did that in 45 defensive snaps.

Jason Pierre-Paul (65 snaps) did not make the impact expected and/or hoped for. He finished the game with only 2 tackles, 1 QB hit, and 1 pass defense. Mathias Kiwanuka saw his snaps reduced (57) and finished with 4 tackles and 2 QB hits. He was also flagged with an illegal use-of-hands penalty. Damontre Moore saw his playing time increase (25 snaps) and finished 5 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss, and 1 QB hit.

Inside, Mike Patterson (24 snaps, 1 tackle) started along with Johnathan Hankins (48 snaps, 1 tackle, and 1 pass defense). Neither made much of an impact, nor did Markus Kuhn (22 snaps) and Jay Bromley (16 snaps, 1 tackle). I spotted both Hankins and Bromley hitting Luck, but it wasn’t enough.

In the end, the Colts running backs only carried the ball 22 times, and finished with less than 100 yards on the ground. But they didn’t really try to run the football until the score was out of hand (37-10) and then they did so pretty easily – 45 yards on six carries on their final scoring drive that ended with a field goal. That said, it was the passing game that killed the Giants. The Giants got 11 QB hits and quite a few pressures from blitzes, but only sacked Luck once despite him dropping back 47 times. And seven of those QB hits came from one player. If the Colts didn’t call off the dogs at the end of the third quarter, the score would have been worse.


Jameel McClain and Jacquian Williams played all 75 defensive snaps. Devon Kennard only played 28 as the Giants were often in their nickel package. The Colts did not run the football until the second half. Pass coverage was an issue however.

Given the fact that the Giants often left their linebackers all alone with the Colts’ talented tight ends, it appears that Perry Fewell was more concerned about the wide receivers as I assume safety attention was focused elsewhere. The man on the spot using this strategy was Jacquian Williams, and Andrew Luck repeatedly threw in his direction.

Williams finished the game with 17 tackles (13 solo). He had an active first series with good short coverage on two passes to Colts’ running backs. But he missed a tackle on Andrew Luck on 3rd-and-4, keeping alive a drive that ended with a field goal. Williams was later beat by WR T.Y. Hilton over the middle for a 13-yard gain, but that’s an unfair match-up for any linebacker. In the second quarter, Williams had pretty tight coverage on TE Coby Fleener on the 21-yard gain on the play before the 32-yard touchdown pass to Fleener where the Giants’ defense was caught napping. Later in the first half, Williams had good coverage on Fleener on a 3rd-and-7 incomplete pass. He had tight coverage, but gave up a 13-yard completion to Fleener on the next possession.

Perhaps Williams’ worst play was getting beat deep by TE Dwayne Allen for 35 yards on 3rd-and-8 on the first series of the second half. This was the biggest play on a drive that ended with a touchdown and 23-3 lead. On the next series, Williams had good coverage on an incomplete pass to Allen, but he gave up an 11-yard completion to Fleener on a 3rd-and-8 on a drive that ended with a TD and 30-10 lead.

Kennard was flagged with a costly 15-yard facemask penalty on the Colts’ first touchdown drive.

Defensive Backs

The secondary did not play well and mental, as well as physical, breakdowns continue under Perry Fewell’s defense. One of the key moments of the game was when the Giants’ defense was not set on a far-too-easy 32-yard touchdown pass to Fleener. (Tom Coughlin really should have called a timeout before the snap). That play put the Colts up 10-0. What also bothers me is that a couple of times linebackers were called upon to cover wide receivers with no other defender in sight on crossing patterns over the middle. It happened with Williams on Hilton and McClain on Hakeem Nicks.

That said, it is important to recognize that the Giants have now lost three of their best corners – Prince Amukamara, Walter Thurmond, and Trumaine McBride – and their remaining top corner – Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – is playing hurt. Antrel Rolle (all 75 snaps, 7 tackles, 1 pass defense) is not playing as well as he did last year and the Quintin Demps (74 snaps, 3 tackles, 1 pass defense) and Stevie Brown (21 snaps, 2 tackles) are a big downgrade from Will Hill. Rolle dropped an interception that would have prevented a field goal.

After Amukamara (17 snaps) left the game, the Giants were really in a tough predicament against this offense. The top corners remaining were the gimpy Rodgers-Cromartie (63 snaps, 1 tackle), Zack Bowman (53 snaps, 1 tackle), and Jayron Hosley (41 snaps, 3 tackles, 1 pass defense).

Hosley looked decent at times, but had issues on other plays as the slot corner. The biggest play he gave up in the first half was a 27-yard catch-and-run to WR T.Y. Hilton on a shallow crossing pattern. But he did cause a couple of incomplete passes too with solid coverage. In the second half, Hosley was beaten by WR Reggie Wayne on 3rd-and-5 on a play where the Giants sent an all-out blitz. Wayne then ran away from Hosley for the 40-yard score.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (November 3, 2014)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

DRC’s worst play came on the 2nd-and-15 31-yard touchdown throw to Hilton where Rodgers-Cromartie had an interception ripped right out of his hands. Instead of 16-3 and Giants ball, the game becomes 23-3.

Special Teams

Josh Brown was 1-for-1 on field goal attempts, hitting his 38 yarder. One of his three kickoffs went for a touchback. One return went for 30 yards on a player where he tackled the returner. The other return only went for six yards after a pop-up kick.

Steve Weatherford punted eight times (seven in the first half), averaging 44.1 yards per punt (39.4 net). He did not have a good night, with two poor back-to-back efforts in the first quarter (37-yard punt that was returned for 15 yards and a 35 yard punt). The Colts returned five punts for a total of 38 yards (7.6 yards per return).

The Giants only returned one punt, with Odell Beckham losing three yards. Three other punts were fair caught by Rueben Randle. In a nutshell, the Giants punt return game remains a non-factor.

Michael Cox returned four kickoffs for 88 yards (22-yard average). The longest was a 33-yard return on the game’s first play, but he also made a bad decision to return one out of the end zone on a play where he only reached the 9-yard line (this was very poorly blocked too by the Giants). Another return only reached the 16-yard line.

(Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants, November 3, 2014)
Nov 042014
Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (November 3, 2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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The waning seconds ticked off the New York Giants 40-24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts and the few hundred fans remaining in the stands headed for the exits. The enthusiasm honorary team captain Michael Strahan and many ex-Giants legends who were on hand helped to build was was now long gone.

Andrew Luck and Co. marched into East Rutherford, put up more than 400 yards of offense through the third quarter and all but ended New York’s season. It wasn’t close. It never was. And the 3-5 Giants now look headed for mediocrity once again.

“We knew full well the explosiveness of this team and the production of their quarterback,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said.

After kicking a field goal to make the score 10-3 in the second quarter, Indianapolis scored on its next five possessions discounting the end of the first half. Luck connected on a 31-yard touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton, a 40-yard score to Reggie Wayne and a two-yarder to Dwayne Allen during a 21-point explosion in the third quarter. When the game mercifully ended, Luck was 25-of-46 for 354 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

While the Giants the Giants were able to hit Luck with a variety of blitzes, the team’s secondary couldn’t hold up. After starting cornerback Prince Amukamara was lost with a torn bicep, Luck went to work on the likes of Jayron Hosley and Zack Bowman. Nine different receivers caught passes from he former No. 1 overall pick. Six of those players caught passes of 20 or more yards.

Former Giants Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw enjoyed their first games against their former teams. Nicks caught three of the four passes thrown his way for 44 yards. Ahmad Bradshaw rushed seven times for 50 yards and had 29 yards receiving.

“They go fast,” Coughlin said. “Whenever they make a bit play, they go fast. We talked about it all week. Our defense had prepared for it all week along. All of a sudden we weren’t getting lined up as fast as we should.”

Offensively, New York failed to establish anything on a consistent basis. While quarterback Eli Manning’s 359 passing yards and Odell Beckham Jr.’s 156 receiving yards tell one story, the game says another. On the Giants first eight possessions, the offense managed three points. It wasn’t until the third quarter, with the Colts leading 23-3, that New York found the end zone.

The running game was nonexistent. Starting running back Andre Williams rushed 12 times for 22 yards, Peyton Hillis four for 20.

There were dropped passes, fumbles, missed opportunities and more. The plays that regularly haunt a bad team popped up time and time again with the ball in the Giants’ hands.

“We continue to have the same problems,” Coughlin said. “Three points in the first half isn’t going to give you much of an opportunity to beat the No. 1 offense in the National Football League.”

New York will travel to take on the Seattle Seahawks next week.

Post-Game Notes: CB Prince Amukamara tore a bicep muscle and is likely done for the season. OG Weston Richburg left the game with an ankle injury and was wearing a walking boot and using crutches after the game. WR Preston Parker sprained his foot and was also in a walking boot.

Inactive for the Giants were RB Rashad Jennings (knee), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), DE Kerry Wynn,  CB Mike Harris, OT Charles Brown, OT James Brewer, and OG Brandon Mosley.

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Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Tom Coughlin gives impassioned speech to NY Giants to ‘play above X’s and O’s’ by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Giants weekly observations: Magic number set for Eli Manning and the offense by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning still has work to do if he is to join Strahan in Hall by George Willis of The New York Post

Articles on the New York Giants Defensive Line:

Article on LB Jameel McClain: With Jon Beason out, it’s Jameel McClain’s defense by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on the New York Giants Secondary: For Giants’ Depleted Secondary, Colts’ Offense Presents Problem by Alex Raskin of The Wall Street Journal

Oct 312014
Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 16, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants, November 3, 2014

The New York Giants look to snap their two-game losing streak against a tough opponent Monday night in the Indianapolis Colts.

Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (August 18, 2013)

Ahmad Bradshaw – Photo Courtesy of Evan Pinkus and the Giants


First Down
Old faces in new places
A former New York Giant is making quite the impact for the Indianapolis Colts… it’s just not the player anyone expected. A year after dealing with neck injuries, Ahmad Bradshaw has found new life with the Colts and has all but supplanted Trent Richardson as the team’s starting running back. As for the other former Giant? Hakeem Nicks hasn’t had any impact on the offense. Last week, he played in just 19 of the team’s snaps.

Both players will sure be revved up to play their former team again in their former stadium, will the Giants contain them?

Second Down
Can the Giants establish a running game?
One of the things that made Giants running back Rashad Jennings so special was his vision. Even if option one wasn’t open, Jennings found the second and third holes that were formed as the play developed to turn negative plays into positive ones. It’s a trait Jennings developed over time. Andre Williams just doesn’t have it yet.

Williams has struggled to get things going for New York on a consistent basis. If the initial hole isn’t there, the play usually doesn’t work. Williams’ vision will develop over time, it just isn’t there yet. Will this be the game he breaks out?

Third Down
Will New York be able to contain Andrew Luck?
The odds of New York shutting down Andrew Luck are slim, but the team can contain him. Pressure Luck, forcing him out of his comfort zone and to roll out of the pocket and across his body. That’s easier said, than done. Can the Giants execute the defensive game plan?

Fourth Down
Can for one week there not be a miscommunication in the secondary? 
Just once, can the Giants not have a defensive meltdown in the secondary? Can someone not think someone else has their help? Can everyone just be on the same page as everyone else? It’s a weekly occurrence and it needs to stop. Every year the defense starts this way and then needs to be ‘dumbed down.’ Not sure if that’s on the players, or the coaching staff.


OFFENSE – by Connor Hughes
The Colts offense is littered with playmakers all across the field. Reggie Wayne (questionable to play), T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Hakeem Nicks, Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson are all capable of making plays at any point in time. Couple that with one of the best quarterback’s in the game and the Colts have one of the better attacks in all of football.

The interior offensive line can be had. The Colts guard play has been suspect this year and have struggled at times. The playmakers and Andrew Luck overshadows the line play.

DEFENSE by Eric Kennedy
The Colts defense had been ranked 3rd in league in terms of yards allowed until the game against the Steelers where they gave up over 600 yards of offense. That likely anomaly dropped them to 15th. Until that game, the defense was performing at a high level and had shut out the Cincinnati Bengals. The Colts are outstanding on 3rd down. And while they have a lot of “no-name” defensive players, they are very well coached and can confuse opposing offenses with their various 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. No player has more than four sacks, but the team has 21 overall. The run defense is giving up less than 100 yards per contest.

The sum of the Colts defense is stronger than their component parts as the team lacks impact defensive playmakers. They have a lot of “solid” guys, but there is no one to really fear. The defense benefits from the fact that the Indianapolis offense is so productive, allowing the defense to pin its ears back against what often becomes a one-dimensional opponent.

Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (September 15, 2013)

Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks – © USA TODAY Sports Images


Connor Hughes –
Hakeem Nicks
When Hakeem Nicks was at his best with the New York Giants, he was the team’s No. 1 target. He’s not that in Indianapolis and his numbers have reflected that. Nicks will revved up to play Monday night to play against his former team at his former home. While Nicks hasn’t been a focal point of the offense this year, he should be on Monday. Will he be a factor?

Eric Kennedy –
Eli Manning
The Giants season is on the line. If the Giants have any shot to make the playoffs this year, Eli will have to carry this team like he did in 2011. New York desperately needs for him to out-play Andrew Luck, which is no small feat.


Tom Coughlin – “(The Colts are) number one in the league on offense, first place in the AFC South, an exceptional fast start team. Sixty-four points in the first quarter, the opponents, 13. They are the number one passing team as well, big plays, you name it. Defensively – very, very aggressive. Prior to the Pittsburgh game, they were third in the league on defense. They have a high percentage of pressure on each and every down and distance. Special teams is outstanding as well with McAfee and Vinatieri and Whalen doing the returning.”

Chuck Pagano – “Eli (Manning) is obviously going to end up in the Hall of Fame with his brother one day. He is one of the elite quarterbacks in this game. If you don’t pressure and you can’t get pressure on him or do some things to disrupt the timing and rhythm of that offense that (Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo) is running over there now, then (Manning) will rip you to shreds. He can make all the throws and he has great touch and great vision and does a great job controlling safeties and people with his eyes. There isn’t anything that he hasn’t seen from a defensive standpoint.”


Connor Hughes – The difficult part of the Giants schedule began two weeks ago and it won’t get easy Monday night. Luck and the Colts march in after having a dreadful performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers and will be ready to go in prime time. I’m just not sure the Giants match up.

The running game hasn’t been there the last two weeks, the team refuses to take shots down the field and the defense is questionable. If Wayne plays, the Colts bring three No. 1 receivers to the table. If the Giants match that with their secondary, that opens up room on the ground for Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson to run against a smaller front. It doesn’t favor New York, and it could get out of hand quick. Colts 31 – Giants 10.

Eric Kennedy – Many fans charge me with being a Debbie Downer or pessimist. Others will say I simply sound like a dreadful broken record. But Giants fans probably need to come to the recognition that this team simply isn’t very talented. One post in The Corner Forum really resonated with me this past week:

The Giants won the super bowl in ’11 with a team that was basically in decline. The ’10 Giants were a better squad overall that pissed away the year with an insane number of turnovers and a historic collapse at home. In ’11 the Giants peaked at the right time and won a title due to one of the greatest quarterbacking performances of all time. I loved every minute of it but I do not think anyone can truthfully argue that the 2011 Giants were loaded with talent. They had the best QB play in the NFL and an awesome receiving corps. But they did play “over their heads” and a lot of that has to do with coaching. TC does not get enough credit for that. Late 2012 and the shit show that was 2013 finished the collapse and now the team is rebuilding. Luckily this can happen quickly in the NFL when you have a franchise QB.

– BBI Poster rocco8112.

Bad drafting and injuries have decimated New York’s 2008-12 NFL Draft classes, and the Giants are suffering the consequences. Simply put, since the middle of 2012, the Giants have been a bad football team. Now, they are relying on veteran and rookie free agents at far too many positions, and unfortunately, injuries (yet again) have hit the team hard across the board. The Giants are not talented enough to overcome it. The Colts are clearly the better football team. And Ahmad Bradshaw is going to show Jerry Reese he made another mistake. Colts 34 – Giants 17.