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Giants Make Bills Pay, But I’m Not Buying Playoff Tickets Yet


Dwayne Harris - Giants Bills 2015 NFL Week 4

Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

A win’s a win. I get that. It’s hard to criticize a team after they win by 2 scores, but any Giants fan who watched the G-Men defeat the depleted Bills today must have doubts about their team’s prospects for the postseason.

At the moment, the Giants are in prime position to take control of the NFC East. Philly lost to Washington on a last minute touchdown from Kirk Cousins to Peter Waiter (aka Pierre Garcon), and Dallas looks like it will get Drew Brees in the Sunday night game as Brandon Weeden tries to throw the ball further than 10 yards down the field. The upcoming schedule is somewhat favorable for the Giants with home games against struggling San Fran and a diminished Dallas squad plus away games at wacky Philadelphia and a less potent New Orleans group. The Giants being the Giants, they could go 4-0 or 0-4. There’s no telling with this team.

Mario Williams Bills Giants 2015 NFL Week 4 Slam

Gif via The Big Lead

A very large part of me believes the Giants didn’t win this game so much as Buffalo lost it. Stupid penalties (17!!!) and a missed field goal cost the Bills a victory. Rex Ryan’s crew had numerous big plays including at least 2 touchdowns called back by infractions. If those touchdowns stand and Dan Carpenter hits a field goal, the Bills probably win 27-24. Even without those missteps, the Bills didn’t really play well enough to win. The fact they were even in this game halfway through the 4th quarter is baffling.

It was ugly, to say the least. The Giants defense was staunch against the run and defended well against the pass, plus they benefitted from not having to key on LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins, who were inactive. That unit came into this game ranked first in the league defending the ground and dead last defending the pass. Much of their struggles in pass defense have come due to lack of pass rush and that didn’t really change against the Bills. Buffalo only managed 2.3 yards per rush while only allowing 2 sacks for 16 yards, one of which by fullback Nikita Whitlock. When your undrafted free agent starting fullback is notching 1 of 2 sacks for your defense, you know you’re in trouble. Not taking anything away from Whitlock, he’s proven to be a tremendous, hard-working asset who continues to impress, but that’s not a good sign.

Big Blue’s D did well on third down, yielding 18% conversion. Devon Kennard, a player whom I thought needed to step up and make game-changing plays, did just that with a huge interception on a wheel route. Prince Amukamara got another turnover with a nice strip and recovery. Landon Collins had a great game, his first without a major error. Kerry Wynn lead the team in tackles, which is better than your safety topping that column on the stat sheet. The goal line stand in the 4th gave me a flicker of hope that this unit still has a lot of potential.

Devon kennard giants bills 2015 NFL Week 4 interception

Gif via The Big Lead

Really, if you think about it, the only reason the Bills had a chance to come back and be in this game at 16-10 in the 4th was because of the Giants offensive woes. Four punts and a red zone pick in the second half allowed Buffalo to figure out how to move the ball against a surely fatigued Giants defense. Inefficient on third down, converting only 20% of those opportunities, 3.3 yards per rush and only 5.9 yards per pass play, the Giants offense got the benefit of great field position on two of its scores and atrocious tackling on the Rashad Jennings grab and scamper for its contributions.

Rashad Jennings Giants Bills 2015 NFL Week 4 NBC New York

Photo via NBC New York

Beckham was kept in check with only 5 catches for 38 yards. It just didn’t seem like he and Eli were on the same page at all. Shane Vereen didn’t have a catch, but Dwayne Harris stepped up. Tough to say who’s more to blame for the goal line interception near the end of the game. Personally, I don’t think Eli should throw that ball, but Randle didn’t drive too hard on the ball to block off the defender’s path. Regardless, this offense looks and feels less and less potent by the snap.

After Victor Cruz’s latest setback, it’s difficult to imagine the offense looks much better for the remainder of the season. There was talk about signing 34-year-old wideout Wes Welker. If he hadn’t suffered multiple concussions over the past couple years, I’d say sign him in an instant. Welker contends that there are guys who can bounce back from concussions and that he’s one of them, but I still wouldn’t want that on my conscience if I’m Jerry Reese.

It seems like there’s 1 play per game where I say, “Wow, I love that!” One. This game, it was the fake end-around to Beckham, pass back to the running back. I don’t understand why Beckham isn’t used more as a decoy. EVERY play should incorporate Odell Beckham. Run that play again and hand it off to him. Run it again and have him throw it. I like that they lined him up in the backfield a couple times. They tried to go deep to him and weren’t able to connect, but I think they’re approaching the deep throw the wrong way. Stop attacking outside the numbers and start forcing the post and the seams. There were a couple times when Eli had either Donnell or Beckham open in the seams and opted for something else.

I could go on and on about how this team befuddles the best of us. Is this a good team that’s underachieving or a bad team that’s overachieving? To think if they just managed the clock better, they’d be undefeated. They would own the tiebreaker over the Cowboys and Falcons and be poised to run away with the division crown. Now, they’ll need a lot of luck and help.

NEXT UP: VS. SAN FRANCISCO, SUNDAY OCTOBER 11TH AT 8:30PM

The Packers beat the 49ers, leaving San Fran with a 1-3 record. The Niners looked pretty good against Minnesota in Week 1 and the Vikings were on the verge of upsetting Denver. Since then, the red and gold have been dismantled and demolished by Pittsburgh and Arizona. Which Colin Kaepernick are the Giants going to get? Big Blue probably should’ve won the game last year and this year’s matchup appears to be winnable, but who knows. The Giants have managed to hold on to double digit leads the past 2 weeks but have been somewhat shaky in the process.

 

 

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