After years of ineptitude, the New York Giants – surprise, surprise – are playing well so far this season.
They upset Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, 27-22, to move to an impressive 4-1 on the season.
If it weren’t for the Philadelphia Eagles being 5-0, which has been another surprise, albeit a much milder one, New York would be tied for first place in the NFC East.
No one outside of the Tri-State Area expected the team to have perhaps even two victories at this point of the season.
The Giants have attained a 4-1 record by, pardon the cliche, being greater than the sum of their parts, and it has fans wondering if they could actually be a legitimate contender.
Sorry, New Yorkers, but the answer is no.
The Giants’ Offense Is Lacking
Over the past few years, New York has had to make do with Daniel Jones as its starting quarterback, and despite its success this season, he doesn’t look to be much improved.
He is putting up a career-high completion percentage of 66.7, which is very good, but his other numbers through five contests – 848 passing yards, three touchdown passes and an 85.7 passer rating – are rather anemic.
Despite some optimism over the summer that perhaps Jones would bust out this season, it hasn’t happened, and there are no signs it will happen any time soon.
The one thing he is doing well is running the football, as he already has 230 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns this year, which compares favorably with his 298 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in 11 games last year.
Not only is Jones the same lackluster QB he has always been, but he also has a lack of weapons around him at the skill positions.
Not one of the Giants’ main receivers – not wideouts Richie James nor Sterling Shepard and not tight end Daniel Bellinger – has reached 200 yards yet this year, and none of the three have more than one receiving touchdown.
As a result, they’re 30th in passing touchdowns and next-to-last in passing yards, as well as last in net yards gained per pass attempt.
The One Bright Spot
On the other hand, running back Saquon Barkley is having himself a bounce-back season.
When he was the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, many felt he could be a special player, and he did do well in his first two pro seasons, posting over 1,000 rushing yards and a total of 23 touchdowns.
He was banged up and slowed by injuries in 2020 and 2021, but this season, he has returned to form.
So far in 2022, Barkley has 533 rushing yards, which is second in the league, as well as three touchdowns and 5.5 yards per rushing attempt.
This Saquon Barkley cut was sick pic.twitter.com/tofPirnE3Q
— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) October 9, 2022
SAQUON BARKLEY. PUT THE TEAM ON YOUR BACK.
— NFL (@NFL) October 9, 2022
Unfortunately, he hurt his shoulder in the win over Green Bay, and as a result, he was limited in practice on Wednesday.
The Rebuilding Process Continues
With the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings surpassing expectations, the window for the Giants to claim a playoff spot could quickly close later this season.
They clearly need a franchise QB, and next year’s draft is thought to be rich in men who could be just that.
Could it end up being better for them to lose a bunch of games and improve their draft positioning so they could nab such a player in April?
Sometimes, people and organizations need to go through some short-term pain in order to have lots of long-term gain.