New York Giants defense needs to shut down high-scoring Cowboys offense in Week 17

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

The New York Giants are still in the playoff hunt. With a Giants win over the Dallas Cowboys and an Eagles win over the Washington Football Team, the Giants will make their first playoff appearance since 2016.

First and foremost, the Giants need to beat the Cowboys. A loss against Dallas would officially eliminate the Giants from playoff contention. But if the Giants want to beat Dallas and go to the postseason, they need their defense to step up in a major way.

The Giants’ offense has struggled to put points on the board all season long. New York has only topped 30 points in a game once this season (their Week 5 loss to the Cowboys). The Giants’ offense also averages the least amount of points per game, averaging only 17.1 points.

The Giants’ offense has been particularly bad over the last three weeks. During their current three-game losing streak, the Giants have scored a total of 26 points, an average of 8.6 points per game. Dallas on the other hand has lit up the scoreboard over the last three weeks.

Dallas Cowboys offense

The Dallas Cowboys are on a three-game winning streak in which their offense has exploded and propelled them to consecutive victories. The Andy Dalton-led Dallas Cowboys are putting points on the board with ease. Over their last three games, the Cowboys have topped 30 points in each game. Dallas’s offense is averaging 36 points during this winning streak.

This incredible offensive display by Dallas is not exclusive to this three-game winning streak. The Cowboys have been scoring a high volume of points all season long.

If the New York Giants want to win this game, they absolutely have to contain the Dallas Cowboys’ offense and hold them to under 30 points (ideally under 20, given the state of the Giants’ offense). The Cowboys have scored 30 or more points in every single win this season. They have topped 30 points in eight of their fifteen games this season.

The Cowboys are averaging 25.1 points per game this season. The Giants, though, do have one of the better defenses in the NFL. New York has allowed opposing offenses to average only 22.5 points per game this season (tenth-best in the NFL). The Giants have held opposing teams to 20 or fewer points in eight games this season. Keeping Dallas’s offense under the 20-point threshold will go along way toward winning this crucial Week 17 matchup.

New York Giants could make the playoffs or pick as high as third overall in 2021 NFL Draft

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

Despite losing to the Baltimore Ravens yesterday, the New York Giants are still very much alive in the playoff hunt. The lowly NFC East has kept the Giants in the playoff hunt despite their 5-10 record. But the Giants do not have complete control over their playoff destiny heading into Week 17. They will need some help to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Inversely, the Giants have the unique opportunity to be awarded a top-three draft pick in 2021 if they miss the playoffs by only one game.

How the Giants could make the playoffs

The Giants will need some help to get into the playoffs next week. First and foremost, the Giants need to beat the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17. The 6-9 Cowboys are on a three-game winning streak entering the final week of the season. Over these last three games, Dallas is averaging 36 points per game. New York’s defense will need to slow down Andy Dalton and the Dallas offense to keep the playoff hopes alive.

The Giants will play the Cowboys at 1 p.m. on Sunday. Then, they will have to wait until the primetime, Sunday night matchup to see if they are making the playoffs. The Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles had their Week 17 matchup flexed to the primetime slot. The Giants need some help from the Eagles in order to make the playoffs.

If the Giants beat the Cowboys next week, they will improve to a 6-10 record, which would be the same as the Cowboys. However, the Giants have the tie-breaker over Dallas because they have the better divisional record. So, then it would come down to the Giants and the Football Team. The Giants also have the tie-breaker over the Washington Football Team.

If Washington loses in Week 17, their record would fall to 6-10 as well. If the Giants win in Week 17, they will have the same record as the Football Team if Washington is unable to win and get in. It might pain many Giants fans to do this, but this week, they will be rooting hard for the rival Philadelphia Eagles to beat the Washington Football Team and help New York make the playoffs.

How the Giants could get the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft

If an NFL team does not make the playoffs, their fans immediately turn their attention to the offseason. More specifically, once a team is eliminated from playoff contention, most fans believe that it would behoove their team to lose as many games as possible. The team with the worst record in the NFL will be awarded the first overall pick in the NFL Draft.

The first two picks of the 2021 NFL Draft have already been clinched. But every single other pick after that is up for grabs. And somehow, the Giants not only have a chance of making the playoffs, but they also have a chance of securing the third overall draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

In order for this to happen, the Giants need a lot of help. Firstly, the Giants need to lose to Dallas. This scenario only exists if the Giants are unfortunately eliminated from playoff contention. But it is an exciting fallback plan.

Secondly, the Giants need Philadelphia to beat Washington. New York needs this to make the playoffs, anyway, so Giants fans are rooting for Philly regardless on Sunday night. On top of that, the Giants are going to need some bottom-barrel NFL teams to pull off some upsets.

The Houston Texans need to beat the Tennessee Titans in order for the Giants to get the third overall pick. The Giants also need the Atlanta Falcons to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Titans are very unlikely to lose to a poor Houston Texans team, but it is a divisional matchup, so you never know what could happen. That goes for the Falcons as well who will be playing the Buccaneers. Luckily, the Bucs have already clinched a playoff spot, so they could be resting their stars. This could give the Falcons, who just went down to the wire with the Kansas City Chiefs, a chance to win in Week 17.

Lastly, the Giants need two more upsets to get the third pick. New York needs the Bengals to upset the Ravens and the Lions to upset the Vikings. While the Lions winning is somewhat plausible, it would still be an upset. The Vikings have a better record and Detroit is coming off of a putrid Week 16 performance. The Bengals beating the Ravens, however, is a huge longshot. Baltimore is rolling and fighting for a playoff spot. It is unlikely they let the Bengals take that playoff opportunity away from them.

So, while it is a longshot, it is a possibility for the Giants to receive the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Most Giants fans will likely be rooting for a playoff birth instead, but it might be reassuring to know that, if the Giants miss the playoffs, they will have the opportunity to draft near the top of the 2021 NFL Draft.

New York Giants in tight race to win the division with Washington Football Team

New York Giants, Ryan Lewis

The New York Giants, for a short while, sat alone in first place in the NFC East. After a clutch, statement victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, New York improved its record to 5-7, moving into first place in their division. It looked like New York would hold onto that position, as the 4-7 Washington Football Team was scheduled to play the 11-0 Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. However, Washington earned a statement victory of its own on Monday, improving to 5-7 and tying the Giants for first place in the division.

The Giants, of course, have the head-to-head tie-breaker over Washington. The division rivals already played their two scheduled contests in 2020, with the Giants coming out with the victory in both of those matchups. Still, Washington and New York have the exact same record after thirteen weeks this season. With the other two NFC East teams imploding, it looks to be a tight race to win the NFC East between the Giants and The Football Team.

The race to win the NFC East

With four weeks left in the season, the Giants have a tight race to win the NFC East. New York is on an impressive four-game winning streak and looks like a completely different team than they were when they were started the season 0-5. But the Washington Football Team has also improved drastically over recent weeks and could try to steal the Giants’ playoff spot.

Washington is now on a three-game winning streak after handing the Steelers their first loss of the season. But with four games left to play, Washington just might have a more favorable schedule than New York.

The Giants’ Remaining Schedule

The Giants will host the 6-6 Arizona Cardinals this week in another intriguing matchup. This is certainly a winnable game for the Giants but they need to be careful when facing Kyler Murray, DeAndre Hopkins, and the Cardinals’ electric offense. This should be a good, close matchup.

Then, in Week 15, the 9-3 Browns will travel to New Jersey and give the Giants one of their toughest tests of the season. Cleveland is on a serious roll in recent weeks and poses a serious threat for the Giants on their upcoming schedule.

The Gmen will then travel to play another AFC North team after that, the 6-5 Baltimore Ravens who have looked like anything but the Super Bowl contenders they were expected to be before the season began. But the Giants cannot sleep on a Ravens team that features the reigning league MVP.

Finally, in Week 17, the Giants will have their final divisional game as they host the disappointing Dallas Cowboys. Dallas is 3-8 on the year and is by far the Giants’ weakest opponent on their remaining schedule.

The Football Team’s Schedule

The Washington Football team’s schedule seems to have less formidable opponents. Washington will travel to play the 5-7 San Fransisco 49ers this week. Record-wise, this is an even matchup. But San Fransisco looked ready to throw in the towel early in last night’s loss to Buffalo and might be cooling off for the season.

Washington will then host a tough, but beatable 8-4 Seattle Seahawks team. The Giants are celebrating a thrilling victory over Seattle this week, but they should hope that Seattle can put together a better performance in Week 15.

The Football Team’s Week 16 matchup is another beatable team. The Carolina Panthers have dealt with many key injuries this season, pulling their record down to 4-8. However, stud running back Christian McCaffery might return in time to play Washington, which could give the Football Team’s solid defense some trouble.

The Football Team’s final game of the season makes things very interesting. Washington will finish their season in Philadelphia against the struggling 3-8 Eagles who just benched starting quarterback Carson Wentz. This projects to be a favorable matchup for Washington, but this will likely be one of those ultra-rare moments where Giants fans root for Philadelphia.

The Path to the Playoffs

Simply put, if the Giants keep playing the way they have been playing, and if they keep winning football games, they should win the division. New York’s defense has been dominant in recent weeks. The best way to win the race to the playoffs is to win out. But, realistically, the Giants might drop a game or two before the season’s end. The Giants should hope to see Washington lose in Philadelphia in Week 17 in order to weigh down their divisional record and give the Giants a greater chance of winning the NFC East.

Buffalo Bills: Josh Allen chides NFC East as division race looms

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen earned another win against the NFC East, taking a not-so-subtle jab at the division’s dismal 2020 output.

Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen knows a thing or two about beating the NFC, having gone 3-1 against the division’s quartet last season. He earned another win against the tragic foursome during an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show this weekend.

Speaking with the former NFL punter, Allen was asked about the Bills’ ongoing question to clinch their first AFC East title since 1995. Buffalo sits at 8-3 heading into their Monday night showdown against San Francisco in Glendale, Arizona (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC), one game ahead of the Miami Dolphins (7-4).

McAfee discussed the current state of the division, noting that the New England Patriots (5-6), winners of all but three division titles in the new century couldn’t be counted out despite their dismal record and that the dismal New York Jets (0-11) were simply “whatever”. He asked Allen if there was a sense of “why not us” in Buffalo’s journey. That’s when Allen revealed his roast.

“Exactly, why not us?” Allen rhetorically asked. “But again, we’re sitting at 8-3. And eight wins doesn’t win you the division unless you’re…” he paused before somewhat sheepishly adding “in the NFC East” with a smile.

The comment sent McAfee and his off-screen co-hosts into hysterics, one of whom cheers in support. McAfee tells Allen “that was awesome” before Allen gets the interview back to serious matters.

“In all seriousness, coach (Sean) McDermott preaches playoff caliber. Our goal is to get into the playoffs. Once you get into the playoffs, anybody’s got a chance to win it. The easiest way to get into the playoffs is to win your division. So that’s been our goal and mindset ever since we’ve stepped foot back here in August or whatever month that we got back here.”

Allen also further praises McDermott, saying that he has “been doing a great job with us”. The full interview can be found here.

If anyone knows of the former glory of the NFC East, it’s the Bills, whose four consecutive Super Bowl defeats came at the hands of three teams from the division (the New York Giants, Washington Football Team, and the Dallas Cowboys, the latter beating them twice). But the modern NFC East has become a cesspool for disappointing, sloppy football, as every team in the division is at least three games under .500 as December football opens. The Giants are the current leaders with a 4-7 record, owners of a head-to-head tiebreaker with Washington. Behind them, the Philadelphia Eagles sit a 3-7-1, while the Cowboys are 3-8. The winner of the division will likely have the lowest win percentage of any NFL playoff team in the modern era, topping the 2010-11 Seattle Seahawks, who won the NFC West with a 7-9 record.

Despite the division’s ineptitude, its teams routinely appear in high-profile television slots. For example, Dallas will make up a date on Fox and NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football package on Tuesday against the Baltimore Ravens (8:05 p.m. ET, Fox/NFL Network).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: A Week 12 win is necessary with difficult upcoming schedule

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are fresh off of a bye week, ready to face off against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 12. This is a critical game for the 3-7 Giants who sit one game back from first place in the NFC East. New York is still flying high off of their clutch victories against their rival Football Team and Eagles in Weeks 9 and 10, but need to continue their winning streak to stay alive in the playoff race.

The Cincinnati Bengals are 2-7-1 and lost last week to Washington. But for Cincinnati, it feelsN like they lost twice in one week. Not only did they fail to come out on top against Washington, but they also lost star rookie quarterback Joe Burrow to a season-ending injury. This means the Giants will face the Bengals and their backup quarterback Brandon Allen on Sunday.

This is the Giants’ most winnable game left on their schedule until Week 17. New York is in a prime position to pick up a momentum-building victory in Week 12 against a Bengals team starting a backup quarterback and possessing one of the worst defenses in the NFL.

This is a must-win game for the Giants. Not just because they are playing against an inferior opponent (that does not usually happen, especially when you are 3-7). But this is also a must-win game because there are not many winnable games left on the Giants’ schedule.

Who do the Giants have left?

After the Giants’ Week 12 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals, they will enter a four-week period where they play some of the best teams in the NFL. The Giants will travel to Seattle in Week 13 to play the Super Bowl-contending Seahawks. Then, New York will host the Arizona Cardinals, another certain playoff team that could be a darkhorse Super Bowl candidate.

After facing off with those two NFC West teams, the Giants will face off against two more AFC North teams. In Week 15, the Giants will host the 7-3, red hot Cleveland Browns. Cleveland has looked like a legitimate playoff contender the last couple of weeks and is heating up for a playoff run. Then, in Week 16, the Giants are going to be on the road again as they play the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are a team that has struggled at times this season, but they are still 6-4 and playoff contenders. Entering the season, Baltimore was a Super Bowl contender.

That is four weeks of playoff teams for the Giants after this Bengals matchup. Getting one last win before facing these four superior squads is crucial for the Giants. Furthermore, beating a bruised and battered Bengals team is necessary for the 3-7 Giants. This will be their last favorable matchup until they play the imploding Cowboys in Week 17. Now is the time to really prove that the Giants are better than their record indicates.

Thanksgiving Day game has major implications for New York Giants’ season

New York Giants, Cam Fleming

The New York Giants are not playing on Thanksgiving this year. However, two of their division rivals are playing. And the game that they are playing is crucial for the Giants and their playoff aspirations.

After a wild Week 11 in the NFL, the Giants found themselves in a three-way tie for second place in the NFC East, despite not playing during their bye week. The Giants, Football Team, and Cowboys are all tied with a 3-7 record. Washington and Dallas both picked up clutch victories last week to narrow the gap between themselves and the division-leading Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia is a half-game ahead of everyone else with a 3-6-1 record.

With the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team facing off in this Thanksgiving matchup, Giants fans should watch closely as this game could have major implications on New York’s season. The Giants have a tough schedule to close out the year, playing playoff-caliber teams like the Ravens, Seahawks, Cardinals, and Browns before season’s end. The Giants might struggle to string together more wins this year, but some of their divisional rivals’ schedules are not as difficult.

The Cowboys, in particular, have a much easier schedule. The Cowboys will face one legitimate playoff contender, the Baltimore Ravens. The rest of their matchups are quite manageable. Dallas will play the 49ers, starting Nick Mullens, their backup quarterback. Outside of that, they will play the Bengals who just lost Joe Burrow for the season, as well as the struggling Eagles and one final matchup with the Giants. If Dallas continues to play the way they did last week, that season-ending matchup with the Giants could be an additional playoff game.

Root for Washington or Dallas?

For Giants fans, Washington needs to beat Dallas today. The Giants have the tie-breaker over Washington, beating them twice this season. New York has already lost one of its two matchups against the Cowboys and will play their next game against Dallas in Week 17. Dallas has a favorable schedule leading up to that game and could string together some wins to take the lead in the divisional race.

The Washington Football Team, however, plays a much harder schedule to close out the season. They will face the undefeated Steelers and the Super Bowl-contending Seahawks, making their schedule instantly harder than Dallas’s. For Washington to stay alive in the playoff race, they need to win today’s matchup. Additionally, in order to keep Dallas from picking up steam and taking a lead in the division, Washington needs to win today’s matchup. The Giants should hope to see Dallas crumble like the crust of an apple pie during today’s afternoon Turkey Day matchup.

New York Giants: Root AFC North in Week 11, beat AFC North in Week 12

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have fought hard and entered their name bac in the playoff race. With a statement victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 10, the Giants are just inches behind their rivals for the top spot in the NFC East. The Giants sit at 3-7, having beaten the Washington Football Team twice and the Philadelphia Eagles once. The Eagles are 3-5-1, playing one less game than the Giants and obtaining one win outside of the NFC East.

New York is trending upward; the Giants are 3-2 in their last five games. Philadelphia is trending downward; the Eagles are 2-3 in their last five games. This is setting up to be a close race to the finish line as both teams fight to win their lowly division.

Go Browns!

The New York Giants are on a bye this week. Philadelphia, however, has already had their bye week, and is stepping into a tough Week 11 contest on Sunday afternoon. Speaking of hot and cold teams, Philadelphia is travelling to Cleveland, Ohio to take on the Browns. The Browns have been surprising this year, improving to a 6-3 record (winning 3 of their last 5) after a shaky start to the season. Cleveland is hot, fortunately for the Giants, and unfortunately for the Eagles.

Boo Bengals(?)!

The Giants will rest up this week and prepare to take on their own AFC North opponent in Week 12. Giants fans will be rooting for Cleveland to whoop up on Philadelphia this week, cheering for an AFC North team that they will face later on this season. But, at the same time, the Giants will be preparing to take on an AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals, next week.

This week, though, Giants fans have reason to root for Cincinnati. The Bengals are playing the Washington Football Team who sit at 2-7. With a win over the Bengals, Washington would improve their record to tie the Giants at 3-7. So fans might want to root for the Bengals this week. But their love and admiration for Cincinnnati is sure to run out quickly as the Giants will face the same team next week that they are rooting for this week.

In Week 12, the Giants will have a big opportunity ahead of themselves. From here on out, New York needs to win their winnable games and also needs to pull out an upset against in one of their games that is not considered as winnable. The Giants have a tough schedule ahead of them. The two weakest teams they will face are the Bengals (2-6-1, currently) next week and the Cowboys to close out the season. Both of those are must-win games as the Giants race the Eagles (and potentially the Washington Football Team) for first place in their division. The AFC North could actually decide the fate of the NFC East in 2020.

New York Giants: Carson Wentz struggling ahead of crucial Week 10 matchup

The New York Giants will host the Philadelphia Eagles at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday for a crucial divisional matchup. The last time these two teams faced off was in Week 7 on Thursday night as the Giants suffered a heart-breaking defeat on primetime.

The Giants have not beat their rival Eagles since 2016. New York is looking to end that divisional losing streak this week. Luckily for them, Philadelphia’s quarterback, Carson Wentz, has struggled throughout the 2020 NFL season. The Giants could look to exploit this and come out on top in Week 10.

Carson Wentz’s 2020 Struggles

The Philadelphia Eagles sit atop the NFC East with an overall record of 3-4-1. The Eagles, like the rest of the NFC East, have struggled to find wins in 2020. Philadelphia has suffered from some key injuries this year, making things especially difficult for quarterback Carson Wentz. Wentz has not had many playmakers to share the football with and has had to endure plenty of injuries on the offensive line. This has led to plenty of struggles this season for Wentz.

Carson Wentz has a completion percentage of 58.4%, the 32nd ranked in the NFL this season. But Wentz ranks towards the bottom of the league in multiple statistical categories. Carson leads the NFL with 12 interceptions and, according to Pro Football Focus, the most turnover-worthy plays in the NFL this season. PFF has Wentz graded as the 31st overall quarterback in the league.

Luckily for Wentz and Philadelphia, the offense will be replenished with a couple of healthy playmakers returning to the lineup. Miles Sanders and Alshon Jeffrey will return to the lineup this week to aid Carson Wentz and the offensive attack.

Currently, the Eagles are the team to beat in the NFC East. They have a narrow lead in the division, but the Giants could make up some serious ground with a win on Sunday. A win over Philadelphia could keep the Giants in the playoff hunt.

ESM EXCLUSIVE: Former NFL RB Stephen Davis comments on the modern state of football

Former NFL running back and three-time Pro Bowler Stephen Davis sat down with ESM to talk about the past, present, and future of football.

(This interview was made possible through Pickswise.com)

Stephen Davis knows a thing or two about making the New York Giants feel a little downtrodden.

Formerly of the Washington Football Team, Davis often made the most of a yearly pair with Big Blue, the most recent edition of which wraps up on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, Fox). The Giants particularly felt the wrath of Davis during his formal introduction to the mainstream football fan in 1999. A fourth-round pick out of Auburn in 1996, Davis’ first years were spent sharing carries in a fullback’s role with veteran Terry Allen. Granted a chance to shine, upon Allen’s transfer to New England, Davis exploded for 1,405 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, headlining Washington’s 10-6 season and NFC East title. That trek started with Davis tallying three first quarter touchdowns in a 50-21 win over the Giants in Week 2 at Giants Stadium before following it up with a then-career-best 183 yards in the rematch nine weeks later. The 858 yards he gained over 15 matchups with New York (8-6-1) were his second-best tally against any opponent except Arizona (1,089 yards in 17 games).

Retired from on-field activities since 2008, Davis comes in peace when it comes to the Giants, offering advice as to how his former rivals could snap their streak of ineptitude that continues to show itself in the form of a 1-7 record in 2020.

“Any time you have a team that’s not doing so well, you have to get back to the basics: be consistent, be physical, be a team instead of individuals,” Davis said in an exclusive conversation with ESM. “Everybody thinks it’s easy, and it’s not easy at all. You have to be a team, you have to have that team chemistry. You have to have everybody on the same page, and the players have to buy into it.”

To demonstrate his points, Davis brought up the example of Dutch Fork High School, where his son Stephen Jr. spent his gridiron career as a linebacker and free safety before moving on to North Carolina A&T. The team had struggled in football since its 1992 founding, but later bought into a system established by the arrival of a new head coach in 2010. Two years later, they were state champions.

“All the kids bought into it. They’re not the best athletes. You look at them, you’d go ‘he played football?’. But all the kids bought into (the coach’s system),” Davis explained. “It’s amazing, it’s human nature. When kids buy into something and adults buy into something and everybody’s buying into the system, it’ll work.”

Those are wise words from a locker room leader, one that paved the way for success in both Washington and Carolina. After his time in the nation’s capital came to an end, Davis moved on to a Carolina Panthers team two years removed from a 1-15 record. Davis united with head coach and former Giants defensive coordinator John Fox to create a culture change amongst youngsters and veterans alike, earning an 11-5 ledger and a Super Bowl berth for the first in franchise history. The rusher did his part with a career-high 1,444 rushing yards.

It’s an incident during the 2001 season in Washington, however, that stands out as a moment of team cohesion, a moment where a unified rally led to something special on the field. That season’s endeavor saw the team start off 0-5, the stretch capped off with an infamous Monday night showing against an equally winless squad from Dallas.

“We were trying to find our footing, we were trying to do everything we could to possibly win a game,” Davis recalled. “We might’ve been in the lead, something bad would happen, then we’d lose the game. But we started 0-5, then went 5-0. Missed the playoffs by one game. The difference was getting in here. We were resisting what (head coach Marty Schottenheimer) was trying to do. It took one of our team leaders to come and say ‘we can’t keep doing this, we can’t keep doing what we’re doing’. Then everybody started buying in and it turned around.”

Washington finished that season 8-8, but Schottenheimer was fired in favor of college football legend Steve Spurrier during the offseason. A sloppy 7-9 regression followed, giving Davis a lesson in consistency and how important faith in a head coach is in what became his final season in burgundy.

“You’ve got to always try, whenever you can, to buy into what the coach is doing.”

Even as one of the first prominent names of the 21st century NFL, Davis’ dominance feels almost dated with the NFL becoming more of a passing league. Teams have been discouraged from drafting running backs high and offering them maximum long-term deals, though these trends are slowly becoming nixed with the emergence of names like Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott, and Christian McCaffrey. Davis commented on the role of the modern running back in his statements to ESM, expressing admiration at the fact that rushers need to possess skills beyond the 40-yard-dash in order to warrant big contract consideration.

“They’ve got to be able to catch the ball in space. They’ve got to be able to protect the quarterback…and, clearly, run the ball,” Davis said. “It’s a lot different (today). Every (position) goes through its phases. When I was playing, it was more run-oriented. Now, you have a lot of teams that like to pass a lot. But I think it’ll get back to (rushing) once everyone figures out that offense. A defensive coach is going to figure that out, everybody’s going to go back to the old ways. It happens all the time.”

Davis feels that today’s game features “more finnesse” and also noted the increase in physicality.

“You’ve got everything more spread out, teams running with four or five wide receivers. Different sets and everything, a lot of zones with the running back and the quarterback. Back when I played, everybody was in a 4-by-5-yard box…elbows and (rear ends),” he said with a laugh. “You had to fight, you had to grind. We fought. I ran against a lot of eight or nine-man fronts.”

The game of proessional football has also changed in the fact that the NFL has opted to partake in affairs beyond their fields, namely acknowledging the nation’s ongoing reckoning with systemic racism and injustice. Davis’ former compatriots in Washington have been a major part of the movement, eschewing the controversial nickname of Redskins after over eight decades of use.

Davis had no strong opinion on the moniker, but acknowledged that “everybody feels certain ways on certain things”.

“The Redskins has been a name for a very long time. Getting used to that now, it’s hard, but you’ve got to deal with it,” he said. “Anytime when someone feels like they’re being racially profiled, you’ve got to correct, you’ve got to do something to correct. I think they’re doing a great job.”

Davis also praised players speaking for speaking out on causes that are important to them, saying that their words created a unique form of unity across the league. Combining that with the on-field innovations seen on Sundays, Davis sees a postivie outlook ahead for the game as a whole, pointing out developments on the medical and social levels as well.

“It’s great what they’re doing it. It’s not only going to help our future, but it’s going to help our younger generation that’s not even born yet,” Davis analyzed. “Have them understand the importance of teamwork. Teamwork is what you teach the guys on the football field, basketball, baseball field…you have to teach everyone how to work together to get to a common goal.”

“Football is great now. But we want to be greater in the future.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Giants: Daniel Jones is not the problem

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants, once again, suffered a heart-breaking loss last night. The Giants fought valiantly on the road against Philadelphia but came up short to fall to 1-6 on the season. Meanwhile, the Eagles rise to the top of the division as the Giants fall off to the bottom.

The Giants were leading by 11 points last night with under five minutes left to play. The team had a quick meltdown that saw them blow their lead and lose the game 22-21.

It is easy to point fingers and play the blame game after losses like this. Often times, the quarterback gets the bulk of the blame when NFL teams lose close games. But for the Giants, the quarterback is not to blame this week. Daniel Jones is not the problem with the Giants. In fact, after last night, he looks like the solution.

Expanding the Offense

Daniel Jones is providing the Giants’ offense with a versatility that they have never had out of the quarterback position. New York spent the better part of the last twenty years scheming an offense around an immobile quarterback that could only make plays while standing in a clean pocket.

While Daniel Jones does his best work from a clean pocket, he can make plays happen elsewhere. The young quarterback has sneakily elite athleticism. Jones put his athletic ability on full display last night, ripping off an 80-yard run that put the Giants in scoring position.

That was the longest run by a quarterback in New York Giants history. That run was also longer than any rushing attempt by Saquon Barkley since 2018. Jones’s ability to make plays with his legs is special and allows the Giants to expand their offense and open up the playbook. Jones’s running ability should be treated as a real threat from now on and there should be far more designed quarterback-runs called on gamedays.

Coming Up In The Clutch

When the New York Giants needed their quarterback to mak a play last night, Daniel Jones delivered. Unofortunately, the same cannot be said for Jones’s teammates, which is ultimately why the Giants lost this game.

This season, we have seen Daniel Jones make the same mistake on multiple occasions. We have seen him put together long, 14+ play drives to get his team down in the red zone before throwing a heart-breaking interception. This happened in Week One against Pittsburgh, in Week Four against the Rams, and even in the Week Six win against Washington.

In Week Seven, the Giants put together one of those long drives to get in the red zone. This time, Daniel delivered, connecting  with Sterling Shepard on a touchdown pass to finish off a 15-play, 75-yard drivee.

So Daniel Jones passed one test; he proved he can put together long scoring drives. Check. But Jones was faced with a much more difficult and important test later in this game.

In the fourth quarter with a one possession lead with just over two minutes left in the game, the Giants are driving. Their running game is on point but stalls out. The Giants’ offense finds itself in a third and six, must-convert situation. Daniel Jones has to step up and make a play. Daniel Jones delivers with a perfect pass to Evan Engram down the left sideline.

Dropped. Evan Engram dropped it and the Giants had to punt the football. Philadelphia responds with a scoring drive and the Giants fall to 1-6.

This play changed the narrative of the entire game. If Evan Engram catches this football, fans are not talking about the upcoming “fire sale” at the trade deadline. Instead, fans would be talking about how their young, second-year quarterback marched into the belly of the beast and took down the Giants’ biggest division rival with one clutch play after another to thrust the Giants to the top of the NFC East.

Thursday night’s game should have been Daniel Jones’s coming of age. Not the reminder of the Giants’ impending doom. But if fans extract Daniel Jones’s performance from this game and analyze just the way their quarterback played, they might feel a lot more confident in the direction the team is heading. Daniel Jones had a breakout performance last night that will be forgotten due to the ineptitude of the rest of the New York Giants’ roster. The quarterback position is the lone bright spot, despite the contradictory narrative. Daniel Jones is not the problem. In fact, he just might be the solution.