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Giants at Falcons 2018, Week 7: “Close in games” doesn’t really matter — only 1-5 does

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Can the Giants start winning some of those one-score games?

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants
Nathan Stupar and the Giants have been pointed in the wrong direction thus far. Can they get turned around?
Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

1-5.

Each week when we do these “first looks” at the upcoming game for the New York Giants those focus largely on numbers. The only number that really matters for the Giants as they prepare to head south for a Monday Night Football game against the Atlanta Falcons is that 1-5 record.

Whatever side you’ve chosen in all the Eli Manning-Odell Beckham Jr.-John Mara drama that has been unfolding, the source of all of that drama is the 1-5 record.

Mara says he is “embarrassed” at being 1-5. Coach Pat Shurmur says he is “disappointed.” Fans are mostly hopeless, with only 9 percent showing confidence in the team’s direction in our most recent Fanpulse survey.

“I think we need to play better, I think we need to coach better, and we’re certainly not happy with the record. I feel like when you’re close in games, you look back on plays here and plays there, and close isn’t enough. We’ve got to try to find a way to get it over the top.”

It’s tough to remember with the taste of last Thursday’s 34-13 whipping by the Philadelphia Eagles still fresh, but the Giants have indeed been “close in games” several times in their five losses. Close enough to have perhaps won three of them, to perhaps be sitting at 3-3 or 4-2 at this point without all the drams having unfolded.

  • Week 1 — The Giants lose 20-15 at home to a Jacksonville Jaguars team that, as the season has unfolded, was more vulnerable than last season’s AFC Championship Game appearance might have indicated. The defense gave up just 13 points. Awful offensive line play that culminated in breakdowns leading to a fourth-quarter Pick 6 by Myles Jack doomed the Giants here.
  • Week 2 — A 20-13 loss on the road to the Dallas Cowboys. This one “should” have been winnable, but the Giants were never really competitive. They trailed 10-0 at the half, 13-0 before getting a field goal and 20-3 before tacking on a couple of stat-enhancing late scores.
  • Week 5 — What do you say when you crack the 30-point mark for the first time in three seasons and still manage to lose on a 63-yard game-ending field goal?

That’s three “coulda/woulda/shoulda” games for the Giants already this season. While that’s not really a productive game to play, good teams find ways to win those, and right now the Giants just aren’t a good team. Can they become one? At least one that provides optimism heading into 2019?

We have 10 games to find out.

Giants-Falcons by the numbers

432 and 401 — The Giants gained 432 vs. Carolina and 401 yards vs. Philadelphia, their first consecutive 400-yard games since Sept. 18 and 25, 2016, when they totaled 417 yards vs. New Orleans and 457 yards against Washington. Points, obviously matter more than yards but if you are looking for a glimmer of hope about the offense that might be one.

5 — That’s the number of Falcons starters already on injured reserve. That list includes:

S Ricardo Allen
RB Devonta Freeman
LB Deion Jones
G Andy Levitre
S Keanu Neal

Atlanta placekicker Matt Bryant is also not expected to play against the Giants due to a hamstring injury. The Falcons have signed Giorgio Tavecchio to take his place.

7 — If Saquon Barkley can total 100 or more yards from scrimmage he will join Kareem Hunt as the only two players to hit that mark in each of their first seven NFL games.

33.3 — The points per game surrendered by the Giants in their last three games. They have given up an even 100 points in losses to the Saints, Panthers and Eagles.

6 — The number of points the Falcons are favored by.

8 — The number of points the Giants fan base believes the team will lose by.

9 — The percentage of the fan base that said in our weekly Fanpulse poll that it still had confidence in the direction of the Giants.

19.5 — The number of points the Giants are averaging per game, 27th in the league.

368 — Odell Beckham Jr. (358) needs 10 receptions to surpass former Giant and Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford (367) for 6th all-time in receptions in franchise history.

350 — Eli Manning (345) needs 5 touchdown passes to become the 7th player to reach 350 in NFL history. In Week 4, Manning surpassed Pro Football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton (342) for seventh-most touchdown passes all-time.

70 — Odell Beckham Jr. (4,930) needs 70 receiving yards to reach 5,000 in his career.

23 — Beckham (22) needs one 100-yard receiving game to pass Amani Toomer (22) for most 100-yard receiving games in franchise history.