Earlier today I wrote that the New York Giants had four questions that they would need to answer in today’s wild card game against the Green Bay Packers.
About six and a half hours later, we have our answers.
Question 1) How Will Ben McAdoo Handle The Post Season?
Answer: We don’t know what went on in the locker room, but the Giants came out ready to play. For most of the first half the Giants simply dominated on defense and moved the ball almost at will on offense.
Unfortunately, special teams let them down throughout the game, and unforced errors doomed them on offense. Without any support from the offense and the absence of both Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jason Pierre-Paul on defense, it was only a matter of time until Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers were able to figure out a defense playing from behind.
Ultimately, the Giants came out strong but some familiar problems reared their ugly heads and ended New York’s season. It’s sometimes hard to recognize coaches as rookies but McAdoo is one. He will need to take his own lessons from the 2016 season and grow going forward.
Question 2) Does The Offense Have Anything Up Its Sleeve?
Answer: “Yes ... And no.”
The offense was consistently more aggressive than it had been all year, using different formations and attacking the Packers’ weakened secondary. The Giants presented the Packers with looks, plays, and concepts they had rarely used over the course of the season. They should have had the Packers in a deep hole by the middle of the second quarter.
Unfortunately, unforced errors, mental mistakes, penalties, and execution errors (Like Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard dropping sure touchdown passes) kept the Packers in the game. While the play-calling had been shaken up, the offense was still victimized by many of the same problems that held it back in the regular season.
Question 3) Can The Defense Perform?
Answer: Despite what the final score may read, the defense performed admirably.
They had the Packers’ offense almost completely stymied for most of the game and gave the offense every opportunity to deliver the win. However, playing from behind against an excellent offense, the defense wasn’t able to keep the Packers offense down.
This game also revealed a couple holes in the Giants’ formidable defense, namely the importance of Rodgers-Cromartie, who barely played, and Pierre-Paul, who was lost in the regular season. Ultimately, Rodgers was able to expose the Giants’ cornerback depth, who played as well as could be expected, but over time the Packers’ offensive talent won out. And in the second half the Giants struggled to get the consistent pressure on Rodgers that they did in the first half. Perhaps having JPP in the lineup would have created headaches for the Packers’ offensive line that Romeo Okwara and Kerry Wynn could not.
4. How Will The Young Guns Perform?
Answer: We’ll go with “Not Good.”
Landon Collins played well, Paul Perkins ran hard, and Will Tye came through with a couple big plays
However, the Giants were plagued by drops by Beckham and Shepard, an up and down night for Eli Apple, and poor blocking from Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart lost his starting job in favor of Marshall Newhouse.
There were some flashes of the play we’ve come to expect from them, but all in all, the Giants probably need to chalk this up to a very costly learning experience for many of their young players. It will be the work of the next eight months to make sure that the opportunity wasn’t wasted and they get the chance to redeem themselves.