I'd like to say it was a good run for the New York Giants, but it wasn't, was it? This season was terrible. Right from the start, we all kinda knew this season was doomed. The opening day loss to the Dallas Cowboys was crushing in like nine different ways, and these mistakes were repeated and compounded over the last few months.
Finally, here we are. There aren't enough games left in the season for this team to make up the gap to the barely relevant 8-7 division champs, and to be honest, I'm okay with it. This was a slow year that never really developed into anything but false hope. It was a ghost.
I'm a little relieved that it's done, at least in terms of optimism. The Giants were thoroughly embarrassed on Sunday night, and the sad part about it wasn't that they weren't good enough to beat the Minnesota Vikings, it was that they didn't seem to even try, and nobody was surprised. One team in the division fired their head coach, and another started four different quarterbacks, yet somehow, the Giants still came out as the pitiful one.
Sunday night's debacle reminded us that "Bad Eli" does occasionally rear his ugly Manning-shaped head a couple of times per season. While it was hard to put any blame on Manning in particular due to the general ineptitude of his surrounding cast, it was an important reminder of just how far Manning has come for games like these to be the exception rather than the standard.
Throughout his career, Manning has gotten a bad rap for turnovers. He led the league in interceptions three different times in the last nine years. That's one-third of the time. However, this season, we live in bizzaro-world and we currently find ourselves with Peyton, not Eli, as the league-leader for interceptions despite the fact that the elder Manning has missed six games this season.
Add to this the fact that Manning currently boasts a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 2.4:1, which is the best of his career, and it's difficult to frame Eli's season as anything but a success. Wins and losses are not a quarterback stat, no matter what the talking heads say. The Giants' QB has been a saint on a team of sinners, and somehow at nearly 35 years old, Manning is only getting better.
The Giants defense are on the verge of something big, something historic, and something shameful. It's no surprise to anyone with two working eyes and a beating heart that the Giants have been systematically incapable of stopping opposing quarterbacks from generating significant yardage on a weekly basis.
Even after holding Teddy Bridgewater to a meager 168 yards through the air, the Giants have a good shot at surpassing the record for most passing yards allowed in a single season. They're just 328 yards shy of the 4,796 yards allowed by 2011 Green Bay Packers. The Giants' upcoming game is against the Philadelphia Eagles and Sam Bradford is on a hot streak, averaging -- would you believe it -- 329 yards over the last three games.
With Tom Coughlin's job security in danger, the Giants could look to replace him for next season. Amazingly, a popular name floated as a possible candidate is that of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. We know that he's well liked within the organization, but is it really a possibility that he not only survives this statistical nadir but uses it to catapult up the ranks?
This isn't even his first crime. In 2012, he was at the helm of a New Orleans Saints defense that allowed the most total yardage in history. Hitting these lows once in your career may be written off as an anomaly, but twice in four years? That's a pattern, and it's terrifying. If Spagnuolo is the head coach in 2016, something has gone very, very wrong.
The Downright Confusing
Last Thursday, Washington defeated the Eagles and took the NFC East crown. In an overdue mathematical exclusion, Giants fans everywhere were put out their misery. Nobody was forced to enter Sunday's game with the indignity of hope, nor does anyone have to subject themselves to rooting for Kellen Moore in Week 17.
But hey, as disappointing as it is to see someone other than the Giants win the division title, you'd want it to be a sub-par Washington team right? You don't want the Eagles in there because it would have meant another season of listening to praise for Chip Kelly's smoothie regime, and you don't want it to be the Cowboys, because "America's team" is obnoxious enough. That leaves D.C. as the best of a bad bunch.
What's even better is, Washington are likely to get sent right back down to Earth with bone-shattering velocity. A first-place finish means the first-place schedule next season. This team massively benefited from a weak schedule this year to capture the East ahead of some tragically flawed rivals. Washington were not good this year, and don't let some embroidered hats and t-shirts let you think otherwise. Against teams with a winning record, they went 0-3. Good luck in the playoffs.
BONUS: Stat-tweets of the week!
Panthers fall to 0-1 when playing without baseball bats— Jared Shanker (@JShankerESPN) December 27, 2015
Dallas traded a 7th round pick to Seattle for a RB (Christine Michael) who is now a Seahawk.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 28, 2015
Blake Bortles is 2nd in the NFL in passing touchdowns and 2nd in the NFL in interceptions. He's DGAF personified. And just 23 years old.— Football Perspective (@fbgchase) December 28, 2015
Thru 15 gms Cards have 2 more TDs (57) than punts (55). Next closest teams: PIT & CAR w 14 more punts than TDs— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) December 29, 2015
Most 70-Yard Touchdown Catches - Last 5 Seasons Victor Cruz 7 Julio Jones 5 A.J. Green 5 Jordy Nelson 5— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 27, 2015
The Vikings' 49 points vs. Tom Coughlin's Giants were their most since they scored 50 on Dec. 20, 1998 vs. Coughlin's Jacksonville Jaguars.— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) December 28, 2015
Per @patrickfinley, Jay Cutler is the only QB in the NFL that hasn't thrown more than one interception in a single game (min. 10 starts).— Sean Wagner-McGough (@seanjwagner) December 29, 2015
Most Total Yds Allowed in Single Season in Eagles History 2013 6,304 2014 6,009 2015 5,924 **all under Chip Kelly— Katie Sharp (@ktsharp) December 30, 2015
Maybe now they'll stop using those "time between plays" stop-watch graphics on every nationally broadcast Eagles game— Matt Franciscovich (@MattFranchise) December 30, 2015
Andy Reid, who had two losing seasons - both when his QB1 got hurt - in his final 13 years in Philly, took over a 2-14 KC team and is 30-17.— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) December 30, 2015