The New York Giants begin a Week 12 game against the Cincinnati Bengals with an opportunity to win the NFC East whether they deserve or not. Let’s take a look at some of the main storylines leading up to Sunday’s game.
Meaningful November football? What is that?
Sterling Shepard is the only Giants’ draft pick remaining on the roster to have made a playoff game. Other than Shepard, you can safely say that no Giants draft pick on the roster – or any young player on the roster, for that matter – has ever played in a meaningful NFL football game in November or December. Not a single one with the Giants who can at least get a taste of the playoffs.
Despite being 3-7, in the sad NFC, that’s the position the Giants will be in this Sunday when they face the Cincinnati Bengals. They are half a game behind the Philadelphia Eagles 3-6-1. The Dallas Cowboys and the Washington football team, who face off on Thanksgiving Day, are 3-7 years old. Winning on Sunday and the Giants could end up with a leading share of the division with five games to go.
Merit or not, this is the reality. How are the Giants going to handle this?
“It’s a unique opportunity for us,” said tight end Evan Engram, one of those playoff rookies. “When it comes to meaningful football and the playoffs are involved, everyone, like I said, brings up the sense or the urgency. For me, it’s different to be here the last three years in the situations we’ve been in. I know it’s different for a lot of young guys who have just entered the league and have the opportunity to play meaningful football. Like I said, our motivation right now is getting better and better every day and attacking every opportunity over the course of the week, like we’ve done now against Cincinnati. But it’s a special opportunity that a lot of guys are up for.
The Giants are 5.5 point favorites, according to the latest SBD odds. It’s a game they should win against the Bengals 2-7-1 without Joe Burrow and Joe Mixon. This is one of only two games left on their schedule against a team with a losing record, the other being Week 17 against Dallas.
As the graphic above shows, Football Outsiders lists the Giants as favorites to win the division. Sunday’s game against Cincinnati is a game the Giants MUST win if they are to make it happen.
This “ winnings ” scenario is one that many of these giants have never experienced before. Let’s see what they do with it.
Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow is out for the season after tearing an ACL and MCL last week against the Washington soccer team. It’s disappointing, although – on paper – it makes the Giants more likely to defeat the Bengals on Sunday. I mean admit it you know you were anxious to watch Burrow play, all the while hoping he didn’t play well enough to win Sunday’s game.
Brandon Allen will be leaving for Cincinnati. No offense to Allen, but his family might be the only ones who really want to watch him play.
The Giants this week nominated safety rookie Xavier McKinney (broken foot) and defenseman Oshane Ximines to return from the injured reserve. Coach Joe Judge said both players “have a chance” to be active on Sunday.
Giants fans will be especially excited if McKinney, the team’s second-round pick, finally gets to make his NFL debut. The Giants thought McKinney could be a difference factor for them at the back of their defense.
Impact of coaching change
Much of the past week has been spent dissecting Judge’s decision to replace offensive line coach Marc Colombo with Dave DeGuglielmo. It’s a midseason move that is hardly unprecedented in the NFL, but it carries uncertainty for a largely young offensive line that has improved in recent weeks.
The judge said Monday that the Giants “will do nothing to reverse the attack here.
Still, DeGuglielmo will be a different voice that players hear. How will they react to it? Will their performance continue to improve?
Giants.com’s John Schmeelk and yours had a really interesting offensive line discussion on a recent “Valentine’s Views” podcast. The full episode is below, and our up-and-coming offensive line begins at 7:30 p.m. Listen to him.
Les Giants ont quatre joueurs – le placekicker Graham Gano, l’ailier serré Kaden Smith, le plaqueur offensif Matt Peart et le receveur large / retourneur de botté Dante Pettis – sur la liste Réserve / COVID-19.
Gano, qui a effectué 21 des 22 tentatives de placement sur le terrain cette saison avec son seul échec de 57 verges, serait la plus grande perte s’il n’effaçait pas les protocoles COVID-10 de la ligue à temps pour le match de dimanche. Il a été le premier des quatre joueurs à figurer sur la liste Réserve / COVID-19, s’il est testé négatif, il est peut-être le plus susceptible d’être actif dimanche.
«Quelques gars vont [have a chance to play] not just based on the schedule the league puts us in. There will be a few of these guys who get an opportunity, not just because the schedule allows them to have that opportunity, ”said Judge. “We still have to go through the week and the progression of where they are physically, how they deal with the build-up period, if the doctor clears them, all that good stuff there. The answer is yes and no. Some will have the opportunity to play, others will not. “
Peart turned on tackle, mostly taking a few shots on Cameron Fleming’s right tackle. Smith’s blocking, the No. 2 tight end, helped the Giants improve in the running game. Pettis, recently claimed on waivers, was inactive last Sunday in his first game with the Giants.
If Gano can’t kick out, the Giants will go with 25-year-old Ryan Santoso. He handled kickoffs in three games last season for the Tennessee Titans, but has never kicked a basket or an extra point in an NFL game. Santoso kicked for four seasons in college in Minnesota, but didn’t handle placement duties after his second season.
“Ryan is a guy with a huge leg, he’s shown a huge improvement since he’s been here. It’s a unique skill set that he does all three, field goals, kickoffs and punters. He showed a lot of improvement in all three phases, ”said Judge. “We have a lot of confidence in Ryan. He’s definitely a developing player. I think he’s had a big advantage in this league for a long time, really. I am delighted that it has been part of our program and that we have been able to keep it until now. I’m really happy with the work Tom and T-Mac have done with him. If he has to go, we are confident that he will be able to go there and do the job efficiently.