Throughout the week, for whatever reason, I started to feel more and more confident that the Giants could put up a good fight against the more-talented Minnesota Vikings. I was of the belief that the New York Giant defensive line could do enough against the weaker Viking offensive line and that would keep Cook in check.
Welp, I got that one wrong. Was the Giant defensive line terrible? No. They simply weren’t good enough to make a difference due to the severe lack of talent behind them at Linebacker, where the Giants were missing their top three linebackers in Ogeltree, Connelly and Davis. Boy, did the Vikings ever take advantage of the Giants Linebackers.
The much-maligned Kirk Cousins took advantage of the middle of the field all day to his Tight Ends, Adam Thielen, and in the screen game to his running backs. It was a damn clinic. Cousins didn’t have to go downfield much due to receivers being wide open underneath. The perfect remedy for a struggling quarterback/offense.
Dalvin Cook was Dalvin Cook. He shredded the undermanned Giant defense on the ground (132 yards rushing) and through the air (86 yards receiving). There were running lanes everywhere and when the Giants had a chance to make a stop on Cook, 9 times out of 10, they missed the first tackle or two. SO many missed tackles throughout the game, and that was the biggest knock on this defense.
The pass rush and secondary did just enough to keep the team in the game, but ultimately couldn’t make up for the lack of talent in front of them (looking at you Nate Stupar). Baker and Jenkins played well and that should carry over into next week.
Daniel Jones was asked to do a lot against an elite Vikings defense. With Wayne Gallman going out early in the game to a concussion (why the Giants refused to sign a running back with only Elijah Penny and Ronnie Hilliman as the backups to Gallman is BEYOND me), DJ and the passing game were one-dimensional. The Vikings defense, with no threat of a running game whatsoever, pinned their ears back and got after Jones. They played back in coverage and took everything away in the passing game.
Jones, predictably, struggled against Zimmer and the Vikings fearsome defense. He still held his own though and was two plays away from having a good game. With the rush in his face, Jones missed a wide-open Shepard (by inches) down the field for a would-be touchdown. He barely overthrew Shepard another time on 3rd & Goal in the 3rd Quarter that would have cut the lead to 18-14, as the ball was caught, but was a bit too high for Shep to get his feet down. The final missed opportunity was in the 4th Quarter, on 4th & 12, DJ threw a perfect ball to Shep with a defender on his back that Shepard could not haul in.
The Giants moved the ball and could not cash in on several opportunities on offense. Against an elite defense like the Vikings, you cannot blow those opportunities. Can’t help but wonder how different this game would have been with a healthy Wayne Gallman, let alone a healthy Saquon Barkley. I’m not too down on the offenses performance otherwise. Save for Pat Shurmur’s ridiculous call to hand the ball to Hilliman from their own 2-yard line after a huge turnover forced by Peppers on the previous play. DJ has to either check out of the play (not sure he has that ability yet) or Shurmur needs to get DJ on the run there to get the ball out of the end zone. The Vikes forced a safety, and stole away any momentum the Giants gained heading into Halftime.
All in all, I thought the Giants offense and defense showed some good fight and were simply beat by a more talented team. The Giants had their opportunities to make this a closer game, but simply could not take advantage. I thought Shurmur and Bettcher were out-coached a bit, but again, due to the talent gap, I am not going to make too much of that.
The Giants now travel to New England on a short week to face the Pats. YIKES. Brady and Co. are sure to pick apart the middle of the field the same way Cousins did. REALLY hoping to have Barkley (who has made a ridiculous comeback from a High-Ankle Sprain and might only end up missing 3 weeks as opposed to the original prediction of 4-8 weeks), Ogeltree and Davis back for that one. Early spread……Giants are 16 point underdogs.
We’ve seen this before. Time for Daniel Jones and the Giants to shock the world again!
Mr. Glass-Half-Full’s Take:
Despite my unwarranted confidence heading into the game on Sunday, I still was going to chalk this game up to a loss against a much better (and desperate) opponent. I thought the Giants would keep it close and cover the spread, but with how several things worked out throughout the game, that didn’t happen.
I still think the Giants played a decent game and, if they were closer to full-strength, would have put up a decent fight. I am not too down on DJ’s performance, or the defenses performance. Each unit will learn from this loss and hopefully be better from it down the line.
This team is now staring 2-4 in the face though. I am not expecting a win against one of the best teams in the league, on a short week, in New England. I would like to see them put up a decent match and give the Pats everything they can handle, as opposed to getting blow out. Would lead to some momentum heading into Week 7 against the Cardinals if they can play well on Thursday Night.
With Dallas faltering and dropping to 3-2 and the Eagles yet to find their footing, the Giants are still only 1 game out of the division lead. Keep learning and keep fighting. Pray for Saquon to get back and stay healthy (maybe sign a viable backup?) and this season still has a chance to be a positive.
Go Big Blue.