Are Giants still watchable?
This season, we’ve enlisted two experts—one familiar with the ins and outs of New York’s football teams, the other a nationally focused football analyst—as a service to readers to answer an essential question: what these are the teams Good As yet?
Devin Gordon, who has written about sports for ESPN and GQ and is the author of “So Many Ways to Lose: The Amazon’s True Story of the New York Mets, the Best Worst Team in Sports”, wrote both the Giants and the Jets. observed. from a locally focused perspective.
Diante Lee, an NFL analyst with Pro Football Focus, offered a national view.
The Giants (0-3) lost 17-14 at home to the Atlanta Falcons (1-2) on Sunday.
In last week’s edition, I introduced the concept of a “funnibal”—the evolutionary state in which a youth team is insanely fun to watch, but still, fundamentally, terrible at football—and the 2021 Giants as a textbook example. offered. Sunday’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons, a team the Giants should have spun around — and often did — was a master class in fun football.
Like last week, the Giants once again lost on a field goal with a time-out, but let’s focus on a specific game: in the middle of the third quarter, with the Giants, 7-6, but in the field of the Falcons. Driving and facing a critical third and -4. Daniel Jones called an audible, and those of us watching at home Could hear chaos at the line of melee. “What is drama?” shouted a veteran player. “What is drama?”
Whatever the drama was, it didn’t work. The Giants were flagged for the catch and the drive ended. The game didn’t trigger this play, just to be clear, but if you’re a Giants fan, your confidence probably did.
For a drive into the fourth quarter, however, the Giants showed why they’re worth watching every week: jump-ball specialist Kenny Golladay drew a pass interference call in the end zone, Saxon Barkley drew three on the pile for his first touchdown. Stories have turned since 2019, and Jones ran as a defender for a 2-point conversion. He took a 14-7 lead in the fourth quarter, and cornerback Adori Jackson dropped a potentially game-sealing interception of a Matt Ryan pass in the end zone. Sure, the Falcons’ game-tying touchdown came after a few plays but… think of me as a tantrum.
Verdict: They’re bad but compelling.
Every player on the Giants’ roster better brings their jogging shoes on for practice this week – the Falcons will have laps to run after Sunday’s bad defeat. A walk-off field goal from Atlanta kicker Youngho Koo sent the Giants 0–3 and guaranteed them a spot at the bottom of the NFC East standings.
With 10 days to prepare against a defense that allowed 80 combined points in their first two competitions, the Giants should have come off a decent win at home. The Falcons have tackled all season (3.7 yards per carry), leaving it on the Giants’ offensive line to finish the game by producing the least effective rapid attack.
While Jones was dismissed only once, the pass security unit continues to lose their one-on-one matchups. The passing game was able to manage in Week 2 against Washington, but downfield opportunities were hard to come by against the Falcons defense which sports very little man-to-man coverage.
The Giants’ defense looks like it’s coming back from the 2020 season so far, but it wasn’t the team’s major issue until the game’s final campaign on Sunday. With the loss and one sack tackle, Leonard Williams still looks to be one of the five best internal defensive linemen in the league, and the coverage this week was even better (granted, it was against Ryan, whose hand is closer to an NFL backup). at this stage in his career) – but if the Giants can’t move the ball offensively, defensive improvement won’t matter.
I shudder at the thought of what this offense might look like against a better defense on the street, with the New Orleans Saints. After taking baby steps forward in 2020, this season is shaping up to be a few steps back.
Verdict: Not observable, and headed in the wrong direction.