The New York Giants are playoff bound for the first time since 2011 when they won the SB. Here are New Year’s resolutions for Big Blue.
It’s been a long time since the New York Giants played a meaningless game while prepping for the NFL Playoffs. In fact, you’d have to go all the way back to 2008 when they were the defending champs and won the NFC East with a 12-4 record before losing in the divisional round.
But that’s the situation that stands before them going into Week 17 against the Redskins. They’ve cliched a playoff berth and are pretty much locked in as No. 5 seed. Washington, however, has everything to play for. A loss knocks the Redskins out of playoff contention.
The all-important question becomes, “How much does Ben McAdoo and company value doling out a coup de grace to a divisional foe over getting ready for the postseason?” We’ve seen teams like the Raiders and Titans suffer catastrophic injuries, so everyone else now uses that level of trepidation to fuel their decision making.
With that said, I’m not anticipating we’ll see the starters play a ton in the second half on Sunday, but the G-Men should already be thinking about how they’ll be championship ready once the playoffs rolls around.
Here are the New Year’s Resolutions for the Giants in 2017:
Eli Manning needs to come correct:
It starts at the top. Eli Manning simply needs to play better. Success can mask the blemishes. It’s the first winning season for the Giants in four years and their first double-digit win mark since 2010. But the future hall of famer they have behind center needs to take notice.
They have a Super Bowl caliber defense — credit given to Jerry Reese for spending $200 million to improve what was an historically bad defense. If the offense gets it rolling, we could see this team win it all.
The issue is, we haven’t seen anything close to the Giants offense from just a season ago that was eighth in total offense and sixth in scoring. This year, they are 24th and 25th in those categories respectively.
You can look at the putrid offensive line play. It’s a unit that has been plagued by injuries and the realization that Ereck Flowers is a bust.
But Manning isn’t devoid of any blame. He’s supposed to be the leader of this offense, yet he’s tied for fourth in interceptions. That’s just three behind the leader, Philip Rivers.
This is Eli’s highest INT number since McAdoo came on board, and Manning has thrown for 300 or more yards just four times this season.
It’s simple, if he improves his play, look out NFL.
The rushing attack as a supplement:
A valuable supplement to an inconsistent passing attack is running the football with success. Unfortunately, this isn’t a formula that has worked for the Giants, who are ranked 29th in that category.
When you’re going up against better defenses in the postseason, you’d like to have a balanced attack, and with NY struggling in both areas, this is a cause of concern.
Giants fans might say, “Hey, we were dead last in rushing in 2011 and won the SB.” But this isn’t exactly a paradigm you want to follow. In fact, Manning was supported by the fourth best rushing attack when he won his first ring.
Consistency against all rosters:
Stop playing down to competition. Far too many times we’ve seen these Giants struggle against clearly inferior opponents. It shouldn’t take four interceptions by Case Keenum to beat the Rams, who had a chance to send that game to overtime.
It shouldn’t take an interception on the final drive to beat the Bears. Same goes for the Bengals. The resume isn’t exactly outstanding against those teams they clearly are better than.
These deficiencies aren’t incorrigible. There’s still some time for areas to be corrected.
The Giants don’t need a “new year, new me” mentality. This is a really good football team.
But going into 2017, there should some resolutions on the docket and that begins with Eli Manning.