For a football game that has absolutely no meaning in the standings for the New York Giants, there are certainly a number of intriguing story lines surrounding Sunday’s meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs. Let’s look at Five Things to Watch as the Giants try to salvage something after the embarrassments of the past few weeks.
Will Jackrabbit play?
In my view, he shouldn’t. His performance last week against the San Francisco 49ers was disgraceful, something no professional athlete should ever put on film. His explanation on Thursday, refusing to accept responsibility by blaming technique, saying he “played to the best of my ability” and that he doesn’t care what people say about the game was also embarrassing.
Here is what the New York Daily News thought of Jenkins’ remarks on Thursday.
Coach Ben McAdoo said Wednesday that he had a “brutally honest” film session with players this week in which “desire to finish” was a topic. McAdoo had also said earlier in the week that “the players who are going to go out and do it the way we ask them to do it and do it on a consistent basis, they’re going to get a chance to play.”
If there are any teeth in those words, Jenkins can’t be in the starting lineup on Sunday.
The Giants’ young players are watching. So are the owners, who will determine whether McAdoo remains as head coach beyond the next seven games.
How should the Giants handle Janoris Jenkins on Sunday?
This poll is closed
He should start and play the whole game, as usual
He should not start, but he should play
He should be benched entirely
Who is protecting Eli?
Specifically, who will be manning the right side of the Giants’ offensive line?
Justin Pugh won’t be playing right tackle, with McAdoo admitting earlier this week that Pugh will need to sit for a while because of his back injury. Bobby Hart began the season at that spot, but has been awful in his opportunities. He has allowed five sacks in 269 snaps, only 46.5 percent of the Giants’ offensive plays. Undrafted free agent rookie Chad Wheeler sounded on Thursday like he expects to be in the lineup vs. the Chiefs.
At right guard, D.J. Fluker hobbled through the end of last week’s game and has been limited in practice this week by what is being called an ankle injury. He didn’t sound certain on Thursday that he would be ready, saying only “we’ll see what happens.” If Fluker can’t go, the Giants would likely have to choose between Jon Halapio, who played the first seven snaps of his career last week, of John Greco, a 32-year-old 10-year veteran who just joined the team this week.
The Travis Kelce show
The Giants have given up touchdown passes to tight ends in a league record 10 straight games. Our own Dan Pizzuta has even put together a compilation of all 11 of those scores for your viewing “enjoyment.”
Now, along comes Travis Kelce of Kansas City, one of the league’s premier tight ends. Kelce has 51 receptions and has already matched his career high with five touchdowns. Chiefs fans are looking forward to watching him celebrate a new career-high against the Giants.
Can the Giants do anything to prevent that? It’s hard to have confidence that they can.
Will the defense play with pride?
Jenkins isn’t the only Giants’ defensive player whose effort has been questionable the last couple of weeks. The results have been atrocious, giving up 82 points over two games. Players this week offered a variety of explanations, some of which sounded far too much like excuses.
After all that has gone on this season, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was asked this week if he thought defensive players were still “all in.”
“Yeah, I do. The three things I listed was I think we’ve got to be better at technique and we’ve got to have better eye discipline and then we’ve just got to get after it. That’s when you play good defensive football. To me, it’s that simple,” Spagnuolo said.
“I know that we have prideful guys. Do we get discouraged in the course of the game? A little bit, yeah. Do we get a little bit frustrated? Yeah, and that’s what we’ve got to filter out, I think, in the course of the game. And like I said, don’t let a bad play or a good play affect the next play. If we do that, I think we’ll play much better.”
Question is, will those “prideful guys” show it this week?
Who will be in the stands?
Maybe the better way to phrase that would be to ask how many of the 82,500 seats at MetLife Stadium will be occupied? And, how many of those that are filled will be occupied by fans wearing Chiefs’ jerseys? Our poll earlier this week gave an indication of how disinterested Giants’ fans currently are.
If you have tickets to a Giants game the rest of the year what will you do?
This poll is closed
Go to the game(s)
Try to sell the tickets
Just stay home