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Giants Embarrassed on National TV Again, Drop 49-17 Contest to Vikings

I think we had a feeling it would be bad. But I don’t think we expected this.

Just 24 hours after being eliminated from playoff contention, the Giants looked like a team that just didn’t want to be out there in Minnesota.

It was a recipe for disaster, and the Giants played right into it. They had nothing to play for. The Vikings are fighting for the NFC North crown. On the road. Frigid temperatures. No Odell Beckham.

On paper, it looked like a game the Giants couldn’t win. But traditionally, the Giants have been a team that doesn’t stick to the expected script, as the 2007 and 2011 Patriots can attest. That’s what has made the Giants such a fun team to watch in the Coughlin-Manning Era.

A blue-collar team that makes up for deficiencies in talent with clutch play, good coaching and strong effort. That’s felt like the Big Blue Blueprint for years now.

But the Giants certainly strayed from that plan on Sunday night in a humiliating 49-17 loss to the Vikings.

If the Giants were able to put up an even competent offensive effort, then it would be easy to justify it with the lack of Beckham. But not only was the Giants offense incompetent, it was flat out bad.

Here’s how the Giants’ drives went in the first half: punt, interception, punt, punt, field goal (yay!), pick six, punt, end of half.

The second half didn’t start much better. The Giants began a half with a three-and-out, another interception and another three-and-out before the G-Men scored their first touchdown of the night on a Rueben Randle 72-yarder.

That was the only scoring the Giants’ first-team offense would generate. The other seven points came when Ryan Nassib (!) entered the game late in the fourth quarter.

The defense didn’t show much either. Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater may have been held to 168 yards on the evening, but got the job done against the Giants’ weak defense. Bridgewater moved the chains effectively and complemented the steady rushing effort of Adrian Peterson and Jerick McKinnon, who combined for three touchdowns.

The Giants dropped to 6-9 with the Sunday night loss, but I’ve noted several times that not all nine of their losses were poor efforts. As has been discussed several times, six of the Giants’ losses have come with Big Blue leading or tied with under two minutes to play. So at the very least, they were always in position to win those games.

This game, on the other hand, represented the first time we’ve really seen the Giants manhandled from beginning to end since the Week 6 humiliation to the Eagles in Philly. And it really couldn’t have come at a worse time.
The fact that they seemed so unprepared and overwhelmed less than a day after being officially eliminated from playoff contention is not a good look for the coaches and veteran leaders on this team. Even without Beckham, this should have been a closer game.

Don’t get me wrong – this Giants team is good. They played well against some of the leagues’ best, particularly New England and Carolina. But they just couldn’t seal the deal in those contests. On Sunday night, they looked nothing like that team.

“Playing for pride” is a popular term for teams that are eliminated before the end of the regular season. But I didn’t see a whole lot to be proud in the Giants’ play against the Vikings.

Offensive Game Ball: Rashad Jennings

For two weeks in a row, Jennings has been a bright spot for the Giants in these losses. It took way too long, but Tom Coughlin finally figured out how to utilize his running backs, and it’s clear Jennings is now the lead dog, with Shane Vereen, Andre Williams, and Orleans Darkwa seeing fewer snaps. Against the Vikings, Jennings only saw 14 carries with the team playing so far behind, but he made the most out of them, totaling 74 yards (5.3 YPC). He also added two catches for 62 yards. If there’s been one positive as this season nears its end, it’s that Jennings has looked like a true feature back.

Defensive Game Ball: Jonathan Casillas

Not a lot of performances to choose from, but Casillas looked good. He has benefited from injuries to Jon Beason and Devon Kennard, and led the team in tackles on Sunday with 11. He also added a sack and two tackles for loss. Despite Casillas’ strong performance, linebacker is just one of several positions the Giants need to address this offseason.

The Goat: Eli Manning

It was just a dreadful performance for Eli, who completed just 15-of-29 passes for 234 yards, a touchdown and three picks. A regression was always expected without arguably the best receiver in football at his disposal, but Manning looked completely lost against Minnesota. To be fair, Manning didn’t have the best supporting cast (Randle, Tye, Harris, Nicks), but he struggled more than he really should have. It says a lot that backup Ryan Nassib outplayed him, completing all five of his passes for 68 yards and a touchdown.

Next Up

The Giants close out the season with a meaningless home game with the Eagles, who dismantled the Giants on Monday Night Football earlier this year.

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