Thoughts From New York Giants Bye Week
The New York Giants (4-3) are coming off their bye week in the thick of the NFL playoff picture. What has been anything but a reassuring first-half of the season, the Giants must feel cautiously optimistic heading into the second-half of their season. With four divisional games in the last nine contests, the Giants have plenty to play for coming out of their bye.
The Giant’s first game post bye week is against the Philadelphia Eagles (4-3), who have had an interesting week following an impressive win over the previously undefeated Minnesota Vikings. On Sunday night, the Eagles fell to the Dallas Cowboys in Texas in an exciting back-and-forth game. Both rookie quarterbacks continued to impress and put their teams in position to win. They also showed that the level of play the Giants displayed during the first seven weeks will not result in a playoff berth. The Eagles had the lead going into the fourth quarter. Carson Wentz again showed a poise and ability to become a franchise quarterback.
Defense to go With Wentz
The Eagle defense, after abusing Sam Bradford, had less success containing Dak Prescott. While they sacked the rookie twice, he worked free to find receivers; notably a healthy Dez Bryant and a wide-open Jason Witten on the last play of the game. This defense, more so than the Eagles’ offense, poses a much bigger threat to the Giants. The defense intercepted Prescott and while the defensive line was not as disruptive, they continued to show they are one of the league’s best units. They kept the team in the game and only after Wentz’s potential game winning drive stalled, were they exposed.
Also of note, wide receiver Josh Huff, who dressed and recorded one reception Sunday night, was released by the Eagles, according to NFL.com, for firearm possession without a permit and possession of marijuana. While he did not play a large role in the offense, he did return kicks and was a role player in an otherwise unimpressive receiving unit.
The Washington Redskins, who played in London on Sunday morning, showed themselves to be a middling NFC East team again. In playing to a tie against the Cincinnati Bengals, Kirk Cousins chucked the ball around 56 times, and kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a short-range field goal in overtime. Unfortunately, the Redskins seem to be the rival the Giants have the greatest chance to compete with; but the Giants have already shown themselves to be capable of outperforming the Redskins when it comes to mistakes and costly turnovers.
Of the four wins the Giants have earned this year, none has resonance. The Giants have not defeated a playoff qualifier since defeating the Matt Flynn-led Packers in 2013. Just like this point last season, the team is 4-3, with four wins against non-playoff teams. For whatever reason, optimism continues to drive the Giants and their fan base. Obviously it is too early to decide if this optimism is unfounded. But as previous years have shown for the Giants, beating inferior teams only allows for this optimism to be pushed off to the next year.