The New York Giants weren’t only playing for their fourth win of the season on Sunday against the Washington Redskins; they were also battling for Chase Young in the upcoming NFL Draft. The loser of the game saw their chances of landing the generational pass-rusher increase significantly, and the Giants’ 41-35 victory sealed their fate.
Dropping to the 4th pick in the draft, Big Blue is still in a great position to draft a quality player, but it likely won’t be Young. However, establishing a winning culture and gaining momentum is a positive thing and is more critical to the development of the players than anything else.
Here are three players up and three players down for the New York Giants:
1.) Saquon Barkley – UP
Barkley rushed for 189 yards and caught four catches for 90 yards, reaching the endzone twice. This was easily Barkley’s best game of the season, as his rushing total set a career-high for the sophomore player. After weeks of battling through a high ankle sprain, Barkley finally seems to be back on track, despite being eliminated from playoff contention.
Getting back into the groove of things was the most crucial thing for Barkley in the final two games, and he can now move forward with the satisfaction of momentum.
2.) DeAndre Baker – DOWN
After consecutive weeks of elevating his play, Baker took a step back against the Redskins. He had trouble covering Terry McLaurin as the pass-catcher finished with 86 yards on the day. Baker did finish with ten combined tackles and one tackle for a loss.
With Janoris Jenkins taking his talents to New Orleans via the waiver wire, Baker is not the No. 1 corner and has been matched up against opposing team’s best receivers. His development is essential for the progress of the defense, but there’s little evidence suggesting the Giants can rely on him to be their top dog in 2020.
3.) Daniel Jones – UP
Jones’ first appearance since suffering a mild ankle sprain three weeks ago was fantastic. He returned to post five touchdowns on 352 yards. His 132.1 quarterback rating was perfect, and he continues to put together strong outings to further lead the Giants towards the promised land.
If there’s anything that GM Dave Gettleman has done right in his two years with Big Blue, it’s draft Jones, who’s on his way to becoming an established franchise quarterback in the NFL.
4.) Sam Beal – DOWN
Once again, the cornerbacks for the Giants were torched by less than adequate talent. After Dwyane Haskins was forced out with an ankle injury, Case Keenum thrashed the Giants’ defense for 158 yards and a touchdown. Beal struggled to impress in week 16, but he did manage to display his toughness after suffering a shoulder injury that he subsequently returned from.
5.) Lorenzo Carter – UP
Carter finished the night with 1.5 sacks, recording his first of the season in the category. He also had four QB hits. Carter has been a ghost for the majority of the season, but he proved his quality against Washington. If he can piece together a memorable performance against the Eagles in week 17, the Giants will be looking to replicate their strategy in opening up his game.
6.) Corey Ballentine – DOWN
Another cornerback in the down section, what a surprise. Ballentine cost the Giants a chance to win the game in the waning moments when he drew a defensive pass interference call on 4th and 1 with seconds remaining on the board. The penalty gave Washington a new set of down and an easy score on the following play. The Giants need ample help in the secondary, and it starts with the cornerback position.