Winning that opening matchup is always a momentum builder, but for the New York Giants, it could mean so much more this year.
This coming Monday, we’ll finally be able to witness actual New York Giants football for the first time since Dec. 29, 2019. At the time of the last matchup, our world was extremely different. We were unaware of what was to come, and what was to eventually affect all of us.
Between then and now (in regards to the NFL), we’ve witnessed a lost offseason that included a virtual draft, the cancellation of preseason games, and numerous other alterations to the league, all due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But in just a few days, we can at least act like normality is somewhat returning when the Giants take the field to compete against another historically successful franchise in the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s a new era of Giants football, with a new head coach at the top of a mostly new coaching staff, an up-and-coming quarterback, and many new acquisitions all throughout the roster.
It’s time for the Giants to begin putting their most recent trio of losing seasons behind them, and there’s no better way to do that than with a Week 1 win; a victory that could mean so much more than just a 1-0 start.
We begin with Joe Judge, the special teams coordinator-turned-head coach who shocked the world when the Giants hired him back on Jan. 8 (which seems like an eternity ago).
While a victory wouldn’t mean the Judge era in East Rutherford is going to be undeniably successful, it would at least plant some optimism in this impatient fanbase. After a three-year period that encompassed just 12 wins and a pair of underwhelming head coaches, a victory would at least give fans some hope that maybe the 38-year-old could have things on the right track.
Some may begin to believe that Judge’s in-practice antics, which include him making players and coaches — yes, coaches — run laps when mistakes are made, aren’t comprised of absurd ideas that will ultimately divide this ballclub. Others may begin to believe that hiring a head coach that doesn’t call the plays and is more of an overseer wasn’t such a bad idea on the parts of both the front office and ownership.
Again, it’d be just one win, but all successful seasons and tenures begin with an initial victory.
And then there’s Daniel Jones, the promising young leader of this offense who’s looking to take that significant leap from year one to two that we’ve recently seen from numerous other quarterbacks in this league.
He’ll possess an opportunity to show that he could potentially be the winning quarterback this team needs; the winning quarterback it didn’t employ for much of the last several years.
On the defensive end, a productive performance against this Ben Roethlisberger-led offense that results in a victory would give the fanbase some hope that this unit is under revival. From 2017-19, this group respectively allowed 373.2 (31st in the league), 371.4 (24th), and 377.3 (25th) yards per game.
A dominant performance with consistent production from the pass rush would at least provide initial optimism that maybe this defense could become successful under newly hired coordinator Patrick Graham.
But on a more noteworthy level, there’s so much this organization and fanbase have dealt with over the last three years. Ever since that 2016 postseason-clinching campaign (and the boat trip that we won’t talk about), there’s been poor coaching, non-winning quarterback play, and defensive units that have looked a step behind the opponent.
Needless to say, 2017-19 wasn’t ideal for Big Blue. This Giants team carries a chance to put so much behind it, and it all commences Monday night at MetLife Stadium.