Anderson: It’s October and the Giants aren’t making the playoffs

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It’s that time of year again. Halloween is in full swing, the leaves are changing to the colors of fall and Giants fans are accepting the fact that their team isn’t going to make the playoffs. 

The New York Giants failed to tame the Detroit Lions last Sunday and were given their fourth straight loss, and sixth on the year. 

This is a growing year for the G-men, as they’re a young team trying to learn how to win. They have a rookie quarterback among many other young players. Building a team in the NFL is a race, not a sprint. 

The Giants are at least showing that they can move their feet one at a time, and hopefully next year they’re prepared to cross that finish line, and be one of those teams competing into the cold and career defining months of January and February. 

Rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, is at the center of this rebuilding team and every game he delivers a valiant effort.

In the first quarter, Jones was hit by a free rushing linebacker up the middle as he was throwing the ball. The result was Jones throwing a backwards pass (counts as a fumble) which was recovered by former Giants linebacker, Devon Kennard, and returned for a touchdown. 

The Lions scored another touchdown in the first quarter, so Jones had a large deficit to deal with early in the game.

Like he had been every game prior, he was up to the challenge and led his team back to only lose by five points. Like his predecessor, Eli Manning, Jones can turn the ball over, get hit and sacked, and strike with an attack to bring his team back into the game.

Jones threw two touchdowns in the second quarter, both to rookie wide receiver Darius Slayton, and then two touchdowns in the second half to tight end Evan Engram and running back Saquon Barkley, but ultimately the Giants would come up short of a win. 

Blocking is still troubling the offense. Left tackle Nate Solder gave up a lot of pressure and was called for holding on a fleaflicker play that would have resulted in a first down. Barkley had some flashy runs and broke many tackles, but he ended the game with only 64 yards. 

Barkley was very involved in the passing game, catching eight balls for 79 yards and a touchdown.

Wide receiver Golden Tate racked up 85 yards on eight catches. The past two games Tate has caught fourteen passes, so him and Jones are showing some chemistry.

With two touchdowns in Sunday’s game, Slayton continues to show his playmaking ability. As Slayton and Jones continue to develop, one hopes that they become a dangerous duo. 

With Jones and Barkley leading the way for the young offense there’s a lot to be optimistic about. The offense still needs a big physical wideout who can be a downfield threat and a left tackle who can be more consistent. Overall, they’re a few pieces away from having a complete offense. 

The defense has improved since the beginning of the season, but they still make the same devastating mistakes.

They contained the Lions running game to only 63 yards, but they allowed Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford to throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. A trend of the Giants defense is giving up big plays and that’s what they did on Sunday.

Lions’ wide receiver Kenny Golladay caught six passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns. His first touchdown was a deep pass across the middle and he was wide open with Giants’ safety Michael Thomas trailing. Giants cornerback Deandre Baker was in prime positioning to stop Golladay’s second touchdown.

Baker extended his arm a good second before the ball arrived and still failed to swat it away. Stafford’s third touchdown was to a wide open Marvin Hall for 49 yards with safety Antoine Bethea was in coverage.

Safeties are supposed to be a defenses last line of defense, but they continue to miss their assignments and the defense is paying dearly.

After Sunday’s loss, the Giants had a player’s only meeting to get everyone on the same page. Linebacker Alec Ogletree said, “We accomplished what we wanted to get done.” 

 Like the offense, the defense is filled with young players.

Safety Jabrill Peppers has been all over the field and the Giants’ are starting to develop a pass rush with linebackers Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden, Oshane Ximines, and defensive linemen Dexter Lawrence and Dalvin Tomlinson. 

The Giants front seven is the bright spot of the defense, and they just added another behemoth to their front line.

The New York Jets traded defensive lineman Leonard Williams to the Giants for a 2020 third round draft pick and a 2021 conditional pick. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams has seven quarterback hits so far this season and he leads his new team in that stat. Since 2016, Williams is tied for third among interior defensive linemen with 97 run stops and 43 tackles for a loss. Williams was drafted with the sixth overall pick in 2015 so the Giants get some young, elite talent. 

The addition of Williams comes at a good time. The Dallas Cowboys are coming to Metlife for a Monday night NFC East showdown.

The Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines in football and rely on their running back Ezekiel Elliott to set the tempo for the game. The Cowboys are competing against the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East divisional title, so the Giants could play the upset.

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