For stretches, it looked as if the Giants could keep this game close enough to steal an upset victory at the end, but ultimately the Packers’ preponderance of talent let them walk away with the win.
As usual we’re going to take the opportunity to look back on the Giants’ game and see what there is to learn.
The Giants have lost eight consecutive games
We all knew this was going to happen. As Ed Valentine said in our pre-game staff picks, “I don’t see how anyone can pick the Giants to win this game.”
The Giants’ defense offered only sporadic resistance to the Packers’ offense, and while their offense was able to move the ball in the first half, turnovers and missed opportunities hamstrung them in the second half.
But that isn’t why the the number eight is significant for the Giants. It’s significant because the Giants are just one loss away from tying their franchise record for losing streaks. The last time the Giants lost eight games in a row was 2004. This also marks the first time the Giants have had three straight seasons with double-digit losses since the 1978, 1979, and 1980 seasons.
Next week they play the Philadelphia Eagles in Philly on Monday Night Football, a location and time which has never been kind to the Giants. The Eagles are still in the hunt for the lead in the NFC East (someone has to win the division) and got embarrassed by the Miami Dolphins. If the Eagles have a bounce-back game against the Giants, we could see them match the worst stretch of football in franchise history.
The Giants lead “The Chase For Young”
If you want to put a positive spin on the Giants eighth consecutive loss, it would be that, along with wins by the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, and Washington Redskins, the Giants are now more secure in obtaining the second overall pick in the draft.
The Giants’ inability to consistently pressure quarterbacks and translate the pressure they do generate into sacks has been (one of the) Achilles Heels’ of the defense.
Assuming the Giants are able to secure the second overall pick, they should be free to draft Ohio State EDGE Chase Young, who combines elite athleticism with quickly improving technique to produce at a historic rate.
Kaden Smith’s big day
If there was one truly bright spot in the Giants performance against the Packers, it would be the play of rookie tight end Kaden Smith. With Evan Engram coming back from a mid-foot sprain and Rhett Ellison dealing with a concussion, UDFA rookie Kaden Smith got the nod, and he stepped up.
If there are two things the Giants have been able to consistently accomplish, it has been scouting defensive tackles and identifying under-the-radar tight ends. We shouldn’t go off the deep end after just two games — after all, Larry Donnell was never able to truly back up his break-out three touchdown game against the Washington Redskins. That being said, Smith does seem to be improving and looks as though he could provide a steady (and inexpensive) option behind Evan Engram next season.
Julian Love could let Jabrill Peppers take his time
Let’s be honest here: With the Giants mathematically eliminated from playoff contention (even in an atrocious NFC East) there is no need to rush Jabrill Peppers back to the field. His competitive nature might demand that he get back on the field as soon as possible, but his injury is a painful one.
And while he might be physically able to return to the field this week or the week after, he will be playing through pain. Working and pushing yourself through pain is exhausting, both mentally and physically, and it can force you to change how you move even without realizing you are doing so.
The good news is that Julian Love played well enough in his second major defensive outing that the Giants don’t have to push Peppers. Instead, they should feel confident in moving Love to the free safety position while letting Antoine Bethea play more in the box. Not only would that put Bethea in a position in which he might play better, it would give Love valuable snaps and experience in the role he should be expected to take next year.
Aldrick Rosas redeems himself
Plenty went wrong with the Giants in their loss to the Packers, but one thing that went right was the kicking game. It wasn’t anything like a sure thing that the Giants’ would have a reliable kicking game. This week the Giants placed long-time long snapper Zak DeOssie on the injured reserve, promoting Colin Holba from the practice squad.
The feeling this week was that DeOssie’s inconsistency — possibly related to his injury — has disrupted Rosas’ timing and affected his confidence.
There wasn’t any sign of that against the Packers, as the Giants’ kicking game operated like a well-oiled machine on their two field goal attempts and lone extra point. That’s doubly impressive considering the poor conditions in which the teams were playing. It was cold, raw, wet, and snowy, which had to impact everything from the handling of the ball to Rosas’ timing and footing. The Giants were aggressive in attempting to convert fourth downs this game, likely influenced by concerns about the kicking game, and it paid off early in the game. However, there will be times when kicking the field goal is the right decision. But fortunately the good play of the Giants’ specialists should give the Giants the confidence to send them out in future games.