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‘Things I think:’ Giants need to win Thursday, or things may take an ugly turn

Joe Judge wants to preach weekly improvement, but a decade of futility means there is no grace period for the 2021 Giants

Denver Broncos v New York Giants Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

I think the New York Giants need to win Thursday. Desperately. Maybe even more desperately than they realize. That’s really it, my biggest thought for the day heading into the Thursday Night Football clash with the Washington Football Team.

The buzzards are already circling above the 2021 Giants. It is, of course easy and wrong to overreact to whatever happens in the first week of an NFL season. Considering the Giants’ recent run of consistently bad football, though, Sunday’s 27-13 loss to the Denver Broncos that saw fans heading for the MetLife Stadium exits midway through the fourth quarter stirred up a hornets’ nest of negative narratives.

  • Daniel Jones isn’t getting better. He still can’t hold onto the ball, and he still makes too many block-headed decisions.
  • Jason Garrett is the problem on offense. He is unimaginative, his offense is Neanderthal, and his play-calling stinks.
  • Yeah, the offensive line didn’t get Jones killed on Sunday but it still wasn’t properly addressed.
  • Dave Gettleman is a dummy who needs to retire or be fired.
  • Joe Judge is going to be the next Bill Belichick underling to crash and burn when he spreads his wings and goes out on his own.
  • The Giants need to blow the whole thing up and start over. Again.

On and on it goes.

Fair after one game? Absolutely not. Fair and absolutely predictable/understandable after nine seasons plus one game of mostly atrocious football? Absolutely.

  • The Giants have made the playoffs once since winning the Super Bowl in 2011.
  • There has been just one winning season since 2012.
  • Seven of the last eight seasons have begun with records of 0-2 or worse, eight of nine if they don’t win on Thursday night.
  • Since 2017, the Giants are the only team in football to have never been above .500. That little tidbit was dropped by Bob Papa recently on the Bleav Podcast Network.
  • In that time since 2017, the only time the Giants have even reached .500 is when they were 2-2 four games into the 2019 season.
  • The Giants and New York Jets (18-47, a .277 winning percentage) are tied for the worst record in football since the beginning of the 2017 season.

So, there is no grace period for these Giants. They haven’t earned it. An 0-2 start may not be an official death knell. Around the Giants, though, 0-2 in recent years has meant something much worse is coming.

No one is in the mood for talk about week-to-week improvement, slow starts because of training camp injuries, shaking off the rust or whatever. They’re in the mood for one thing — watching the Giants win some games.

Remember John Mara’s training camp words:

“It’s time to prove it on the field ... it’s time for us to start winning.”

Yes, it is.

The Giants don’t play again for 10 days after Thursday night. If they don’t beat the Washington Football Team, those are going to be 10 long, loud days. The podcasts, blogs, radio call-in shows, Giants Twitter and newspapers are going to be filled with vitriol, calls for firings, calls for change of any and every sort.

It is going to be ugly. And the reaction when the Giants host the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 26 might not be pleasant, either.

There is only one way the Giants can stave off all of that ugliness — win some games.

A victory Thursday night, whether the Giants get it with 13 points or 35 — would calm some of the craziness. Getting to 2-1 by beating Washington and Atlanta would put them in a place they haven’t been since 2016 — above .500. It would buy them keep, keep the vultures at bay.

Lose tonight, John Mara, Joe Judge, Dave Gettleman and everyone connected with the Giants might want to turn off their phones, stay off social media and the Internet, leave the radio and TV off and cancel their newspaper subscriptions.

None of it will be pleasant to listen to or read.