Even after dominating the Carolina Panthers in a 25-3 victory last Sunday at MetLife Stadium, the 2-5 Giants are still on a daunting quest to approach respectability in the standings. Their odds to make the playoffs are extremely long and reflect an unlikely outcome.
They will travel to Kansas City to face a staggered but dangerous 3-4 Chiefs squad this Sunday, who are coming off of a 27-3 beatdown at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. But the Giants should savor and build on their performance against the Titans.
“That was a good job of complementary football,” said Giants head coach Joe Judge after the much needed win. “We’re a very resilient team. You guys ask me all the time,” Judged related to reporters, “how do I see the guys come to work, how can I gauge the mood in the building?
“I tell you all the time, I do it based on how they show up to work, how they meet, their intent in their actions and what they’re doing, how they practice on the field, so that’s my barometer. That’s my measuring stick right there.”
The Giants were depleted on offense as running back Saquon Barkley (ankle), wide receivers Kenny Golladay (knee), Sterling Sheppard (hamstring) and Kadarius Toney (ankle), and left tackle Andrew Thomas, who was placed on injured reserve last Tuesday with left foot and right ankle injuries, were all sidelined.
Yet the unit still put up the third most points they have scored this season. While their overall total yardage output of 302 was underwhelming and they put up only two touchdowns, the Giants capitalized on scoring opportunities as Graham Gano made good on three field goals versus his former team as the defense stifled the Panthers.
Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham’s group held their opponent to just 117 yards passing and a mere 56 rushing. Sam Darnold, in his first season as the Panthers’ starter after being traded to them by the Jets last April, was replaced in the fourth quarter by PJ Walker after posting an ineffective stat line of 16-25 for 111 yards and one interception. Darnold’s counterpart, Giants QB Daniel Jones, was solid in going 23-33 for 203 yards and one touchdown. Most importantly, Jones, who has been plagued by turnovers in his three seasons as the Giants starter, ended the day with none.
“We’ve had some tough games and some close games,” said Jones, “but we believe in who we are as a team, what we’re doing as a team and where we’re going. We’ve just got to keep trusting that.”