This is the part of the program where the New York Giants can start going through the motions, regardless of how much pep and optimism head coach Joe Judge will try to assimilate into the locker room.
The Giants’ season is all but over except for the mathematical elimination that is just around the corner for the 4-9 side. Another miserable showing against the Los Angeles Chargers in a 37-21 loss — it was 37-7 late before two garbage-time touchdowns — clinched a fifth-straight losing season for a team that has made the playoffs just once since winning Super Bowl XLVI.
Nothing truly indicates that this team will get better any time soon, and now they’ll have to take the field against a Dallas Cowboys team on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. ET, FOX), that leads the NFC East at 9-4 and have won two straight.
Understandably so, the Giants are double-digit underdogs at home to the Cowboys. These two teams met in Week 5 with Dallas destroying the Giants 44-20 that included injuries to Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay that helped run New York’s proverbial train off the rails.
Both Barkley and Golladay are healthy — though neither of them are meeting their potential within a Giants offense that is one of the worst in the NFL (27th in points scored, 25th in total yards gained).
Barkley hasn’t rushed for 100 yards in a game since Week 15 of the 2019 season. The following week was also the last time he eclipsed the 75-yard mark in a game. While he’s struggled to find success behind a mediocre offensive line, the 24-year-old simply hasn’t shown the same sort of make-them-miss abilities he showed before his ankle injuries.
Golladay hasn’t come close to the billing of a No. 1 receiver that was placed on his shoulders after signing a four-year, $72 million deal during the offseason. In 10 games this season he’s caught only 28 passes for 424 yards. He still doesn’t have a touchdown, either, which is a major red fag for a receiver who led the NFL with 11 scores during his last full season in 2019 with the Detroit Lions.
Through all this, the Giants won’t have quarterback Daniel Jones for a third-straight game as he continues dealing with a neck issue.
Mike Glennon will get the reins once again, which won’t inspire much confidence from many affiliated with the Giants. Glennon has completed just 50% of his passes (40-for-80) for 378 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions in relief of Jones.
Now he’ll have to face a Cowboys defense that is susceptible to the passing game, having allowed the 10th-most aerial yards in the league, but is an extremely aggressive unit that will make timid offenses — like the Giants’ — pay dearly.
The Cowboys lead the NFL with 20 interceptions, fueled by the play of star cornerback Trevon Diggs who has accounted for a league-leading nine of them along with 17 passes defended.
But Dallas’ pass rush is one of the more imposing units in the league, as well. While their 31 team sacks are tied for 13th in the league, their quarterback knockdown per pass attempt percentage is fourth-best in the NFL at 11.9%.
The foundation of that rush starts with rookie linebacker Micah Parsons, who not only seems to be a lock for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, but also a strong candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. The Penn State product has 12 sacks in 13 games this season to go with 75 tackles and three forced fumbles — showing a versatile style of play that has opponents comparing him to some of the greatest ever.
“I’ve never really seen anything like him. He’s really [Lawrence Tayor]-like, to be honest,” Barkley told Yahoo Sports. “It is what it is: He’s insane. Every week, [Parsons is] one of those guys that, even if I can’t watch his game, I’ll look and say, ‘What is he doing?’
“And I am not just saying this because we’re friends. The sky is really the limit with him. If he keeps working hard and keeping his head on straight, he can be even better than he is now. That’s the scary thing.”
For a Giants team that has averaged just 17.8 points per game this season and just 11 over their previous four, Sunday afternoon looks as though it’s going to be a long one.