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Giants-Cowboys ‘things I think’: Giants are back at the bottom, with a long hill to climb

This season has been a bad dream for the Giants

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

I think the beatdown the Dallas Cowboys gave the New York Giants on Sunday is one you had to expect. Considering the state of the Giants, you could see it coming a mile away.

The Giants were 17.5-point underdogs, and no one with money on the Cowboys on Sunday ever had to break a sweat worrying about draining their bank account.

The final score was 49-17. It could have been worse. A goal line stand on the Cowboys’ first possession, and some garbage-time second-half offensive production kept things from looking even worse.

In case you haven’t figured it out already, last year’s 9-7-1 record and playoff victory over the Minnesota Vikings was a mirage. Fool’s Gold. Not a true indicator of where the Giants are as a franchise.

Since beginning last season 7-2, the Giants have gone 5-14-1. Last season was fun, a nice respite from the darkness of being tied with the New York Jets for the worst record in football (22-59) from 2017-2021. It wasn’t, though, real. Or at least not an indication of where the Giants truly stood.

What is real is that the Giants are a rebuilding football team. It seems laughable now that before the season began we were asking GM Joe Schoen if he felt offseason moves like signing linebacker Bobby Okereke and trading for tight end Darren Waller had helped the Giants close the talent gap on teams like the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

The Giants are a galaxy, maybe several galaxies, from being on a par with the top teams in the NFL.

They have been outscored by Dallas 89-17 in two games. Yes, Sunday was with a third-string undrafted free agent quarterback making his first career start. The season-opening 40-0 whitewash was with starting quarterback Daniel Jones and a mostly-healthy roster.

Maybe all last season did is distract from the reality that the Giants are at the beginning of a long-term rebuild. Perhaps it also delayed some of the decisions the organization may ultimately need to make, like perhaps using a high draft pick on a quarterback to take them into the future.

If you were hoping for a Cinderella story from Tommy DeVito, the young man never really had a chance. The Giants’ first two possessions started at their 1 and 6-yard lines, respectively, and the Giants were fortunate not to give up safeties. DeVito was sacked five times, hit seven times and flushed out of the pocket several other times. No one should complain about the kid. Nothing that happened Sunday was his fault. DeVito, by the way, now leads the Giants in touchdown passes with three. Ten games into the season.

As currently constituted, the Giants have no chance to run good offense against the league’s best teams. They don’t really run good offense against anyone.

They didn’t have much chance on defense, either. They did get a goal-line stand on the game’s first drive after letting the Cowboys reach their 4-yard line in what seemed like the blink of an eye.

Still, the Giants gave up 640 yards. They lost Deonte Banks, Cor’Dale Flott and Kayvon Thibodeaux to injuries. Dallas averaged 8.3 yards per play.

The shell-shocked Giants never saw the type of misery they are experiencing this season coming, and their frustrations are plain to see.

Saquon Barkley had what was described as an “animated” conversation with Brian Daboll as the Giants struggled to mount any offense in the first half. Daboll and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale had a conversation about the defensive struggles that began before halftime and didn’t seem to be over when the Giants came out of the locker room for the third quarter. An animated Darius Slayton had words with Sterling Shepard, and then had a conversation with Daboll.

I do agree with BBV’s Tony DelGenio that “Everything about this season has been off-kilter.” I never agree with tanking, and the Giants won’t. Considering the itchy trigger-finger John Mara and Steve Tisch have shown, firing three straight coaches after two seasons or less, Daboll could use some victories to ensure that he gets third year. It would surprise no one, though, if the Giants fail to win another game this season.

I still don’t think Daboll belongs on the hot seat. The Giants, though, are getting embarrassed on a regular basis and each time it happens that position becomes harder and harder to defend.

I was going to figure out these numbers, but Dan Duggan of The Athletic has done it for me:

Including the playoffs, the Giants have lost eight of their last 17 games by at least 15 points. Six of those losses have been by more than 20 points. The Giants’ -148 point differential this season is the worst in the league by 51 points.

This is what the 2023-24 Giants are. All the good feelings from last year are gone. What’s left is the reality that the Giants are back at square one.