The season is over for the New York Giants in terms of playoff hopes, but they have two games left to play. One of those is Sunday night vs. the Minnesota Vikings in frigid Minneapolis, where game time temperatures are expected to be in the teens.
Can the Giants win? Here are the predictions from your Big Blue View staff writers.
Alex Sinclair (11-3)
I pick the Vikings. I think they're better than the Giants and that they will win this game. I don't have any clever reasons or X-factor match-ups to analyze. It's late in the season, and everyone is tired or injured or some combination of both. My only hope for this game is that we see some experimentation with young talent as part of the 2016 evaluation process.
Final score: Vikings 34, Giants 10
Mike Gallop (8-6)
The outcome of this game will be impacted by the Eagles/Skins game. If the Eagles can pull out a win, then the Gmen's playoff hopes remain intact. With proper motivation, and the full blown underdog story with the suspension of ODB has created, the Giants pull out the improbable win. Sometimes all you need is your superstar on the sidelines for the entire team to collectively step up and play above their talent level. And like MNF in Miami, I think we get a repeat "good Eli" performance on prime time Sunday night.
Final score: Giants 28, Vikings 17
(If Washington wins tomorrow night and clinches the NFC Least, we lose by 30)
Stephen Milewski (10-4)
I don't believe the Giants will win this game. This Minnesota team is dangerous and can attack the Giants in multiple ways, and I think the loss of Odell Beckham will stagnate the offense for at least the first half of this game. Last season, I truly thought the Giants would be in contention for the first overall pick if they didn't have Beckham -- that's how important a catalyst he was and still is. The lack of consistent, game-changing talent on this team will be exposed, on national television no less.
The matchup I'm most curious to see is Weston Richburg, my X-Factor of the game, against ex-Giant Linval Joseph. Richburg is the highest graded center in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus, while Joseph has had lots of success as a less traditional 3-technique run stuffer up the middle. The two players are arguably the biggest Pro Bowl snubs at their respective positions. The Giants have had some success in the run game lately, with Rashad Jennings becoming the feature back, and will need plays in that facet of the game with Beckham suspended. Richburg setting the tone for the offensive line will be a key to the Giants if they are going to pull off the upset.
However, I just don't see the Giants doing that. The Vikings are a surefire playoff team and are very much in position to claim the NFC North, as they have a critical date with the division-leading Green Bay Packers in Week 17. They want this game just as much as, if not more than, the Giants. Adrian Peterson is a machine and easily the top running back in the NFL. Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, after early struggles, scored five touchdowns against the Chicago Bears last week and is coming into his own during his second season at exactly the right time. I think the Giants will compete like they always do, but the consistency and ability to finish just is not there for Big Blue this year, and the Vikings will put the nail in the proverbial coffin.
Final score: Vikings 35, Giants 24
Chris Pflum (8-6)
This game is tough to get a read on because there are so many moving parts.
On the Giants side, they will once again be without two of their best defensive players in Hankins and Kennard. That's a major concern going against a team with Adrian Peterson on it. But on the other hand, Jay Bromley, Barry Cofield, and Montori Hughes all played well and the Giants largely contained the Panthers run game, and Peterson is coming off an injury.
On the flip side, the Giants finally mounted an effective rushing attack against against a great defensive front. But, on the other other hand, they'll be without roughly half of their offense with Beckham suspended. Nobody would blame the Vikings for utterly disrespecting the Giants Beckhamless passing attack, loading the box or blitzing Eli on every drop back.
Will the Giants come out lifeless without their offensive spark? Will they fight for their missing teammate? How will they man the slot receiver position? Will it even matter how well they play?
Ed would probably yell at me for picking a "le shrug" push, so:
Final score: Vikings 24, Giants 21
Keane Macadaeg (8-6)
No Odell Beckham likely means no offense. Even when Beckham isn't catching passes, the amount of focus he gets from opposing teams opens the rest of the offense for more opportunities. Without Beckham, I find it difficult to see the Giants moving the ball well. However the positive news is that the Giants are getting the running game going when they abandon the concept of a committee which gives the offense some hope.
Defensively, nothing has changed. The upside for most defenses is shutting out the opposing offense. The Giants defense has only proven at best to limit the damage. Most of the time, they are simply bad. If Adrian Peterson plays, the Giants defense should try getting away with 12 men on the field because the 11 they have is simply not good enough.
Final score: Vikings 30, Giants 21
Jesse Bartolis (10-4)
The Vikings are very good at not beating themselves as opposed to the Giants, who are. Did you see what Lamar Miller did to the Giants in a few carries? Thankfully, the Dolphins went away from him for whatever reason. The Vikings won't do that. Adrian Peterson could torch the Giants. And then the Vikings have a very good solid defense and the Giants without OBJ are seriously lacking play-makers. The Vikings also have some speed on the outside which always gives the Giants problems, even though Mike Wallace as done virtually nothing this year he's nearly a lock to have a 50+yard touchdown this week. I'm not a sky is falling type guy and I hope the Giants can find a way to win and they always can because No. 10 will be suiting up, but I don't love the match-up for them just because the Vikings are very, very solid and the Giants do everything they can to lose games
Valentine's View (9-5)
In case you hadn't noticed, every BBV staff member up until now has picked the Vikings to win Sunday night. Mike, technically, picked the Giants but waffled based on Saturday's victory by Washington -- so that only sort of counts as picking the Giants. I get it, I really do. It's impossible to make an argument that the Giants are the better team. It's impossible to believe at this point that this team that hasn't been good enough to take advantage of its opportunities this season, or for that matter to beat really good teams for the past three years, will suddenly change its stripes.
I just can't, however, believe that no one -- I mean, NO ONE -- thinks the Giants can or will win Sunday night. Somebody has to believe. For that reason and that reason alone, I'm picking the Giants.
Final score: Giants 34, Vikings 31
Make your own prediction