The 2016 NFL season is in the books, and the New York Giants will be playing football next weekend.
Not only have they punched their ticket to the postseason, but turned in their best record since 2008 (just the fifth time since 1990 that they have won more than 10 games). In the process of securing that 11th win, they knocked a division rival out of the playoffs, letting them go into the postseason with momentum.
Who were the winner and loser of this evening’s game?
WINNER! - The Giants’ Brain Trust
The New York Giants are 11-5.
Allow me to repeat that: The 2016 New York Football Giants are 11 and 5.
I can think of no better use of this section than to show some love to the Giants’ brain trust for more than flipping the script over the last two years. Like they have all year long, the offense did just enough while the defense won the game. Granted, the offense looked transformed early on, but the defense was on a different level.
How different? Per ESPN Stats & Info, the Giants are the only team in the NFL to not allow a single point this season when opponents start drives inside of the last five minutes of a game.
The Giants got their start by hiring Ben McAdoo to be their next head coach after Tom Coughlin stepped down. There was some trepidation to turn the reigns of a flagship franchise over to a first-time head coach with just two years as an offensive coordinator to truly prepare him for the job. McAdoo, however, has proven to be equal to his task. He and Jerry Reese attacked free agency with a coherent plan to add healthy, talented, hungry, players who are either in, or entering their primes.
McAdoo has won over the locker room, and helped to renovate the strength and conditioning program, which has to get credit for slashing the Giants injured lists over previous years.
Regardless of what happens next week, the Giants’ 2017 season has been a success, and the Giants’ brain trust deserves plenty of credit for their work in building a winner.
Loser ... The Washington Redskins
The loser here is clearly Washington.
Just on the day, their explosive offense only put up 10 points after being shut out in the first half for the first time since Week 1 of 2015. But from there the Redskins’ organization enters the 2017 offseason on a disappointing note with several big questions in need of answering. Foremost among them: Is Kirk Cousins “The Guy?”
Cousins is a talented quarterback, but one of the big questions facing him was whether or not he could be trusted with the game on the line with the stakes at their highest. Today, with the playoffs on the line against a division rival, Washington couldn’t.
They will need to make a potentially tough decision regarding their free agent quarterback. Making the decision that much harder is the impending free agency of both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson. The Redskins have work to do on their team, have some very hard decisions to make, and this loss could weigh heavily on their off-season.