New York Giants: The return of Justin Pugh means more than the loss of JPP
Sep 11, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Sean Lee (50) in game action against New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh (67) at AT&T Stadium. New York won 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

While the New York Giants will certainly feel the negative impact of the loss of JPP, it won’t touch the positive impact Justin Pugh brings.

Just like that.

Actually, before you can even get the word “that” out of your mouth is as quick as “that” happens. This is the National Football League, and “just like that” happens on a weekly basis.

Just like that, the New York Giants situation doesn’t feel so comfortable. A humbling, sound 24-14 defeat at the hands of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and the Pittsburgh Steelers will do that to a squad. 

Suddenly, the prospects of getting to 10 wins and an NFC Wild Card berth seem a little tougher — especially, considering, the 11-1 Dallas Cowboys come to New Jersey this weekend.

The prospects for Ben McAdoo’s squad became even bleaker when it was announced that Jason Pierre-Paul would miss the remainder of the season due to a sports hernia. No longer could Steve Spagnuolo rely on the man who solidifies a classic bookend threat along with Olivier Vernon out of a 4-3 defense.

But as quickly as one week can turn ugly is the same form and speed one week can become wonderful. For the Football Giants, wonderful may just be around the corner.

He comes in the form of a left guard.

Justin Pugh isn’t just back at practice, he’s feeling great and slated to play this Sunday night at MetLife Stadium. It’d be the first game Pugh has participated in since Week 9, a 28-23 Giants victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at home.

The injury came as a terrible shame considering how well the former first-round pick was playing. Playing on a porous offensive line, Pugh was far and away the leader of the pack. In fact, most would argue he was playing on a Pro Bowl level prior to the injury.

Just look at New York’s offense with Pugh out of the lineup. The total yards numbers in the four games are as follows:

  • Week 10 vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 359 yards
  • Week 11 vs. Chicago Bears: 329 yards
  • Week 12 @ Cleveland Browns: 295 yards
  • Week 13 @ Pittsburgh Steelers: 234 yards

While the Giants 327.4 yards per game mark isn’t setting the world on fire, the four-game average without Pugh 304 yards per game would rank them as 30th in the entire NFL.

Additionally, check out Eli Manning‘s output from the past four games:

  • Week 10 vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 240 yards
  • Week 11 vs. Chicago Bears: 227 yards
  • Week 12 @ Cleveland Browns: 194 yards
  • Week 13 @ Pittsburgh Steelers: 195 yards

That’s a grand total of 214 passing yards per contest, far below his 249.9 yards per game mark on the season.

When Pugh was in the lineup, Manning saw games of 350, 368 and 403 passing yards, respectively. Sometimes, one offensive lineman makes all the difference in the world. This is especially the case when it’s the team’s best offensive lineman.

Sometimes, one guy makes an entire unit whole again.

Let’s just hope that’s how much Justin Pugh means to the New York Giants and their offensive line.

No JPP will certainly hurt the defense, but they’ll be fine. Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins, Damon Harrison — it’s a sound playoff-caliber unit ready to be reckoned with. Pugh, though, can solidify an offense with serious talent.

Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (Sold in 2020). SEO: XL Media. Email: robby.sabo[at]