JPP’s Return Spurs Giants Over Butterfingers Bucs

jason pierre-paul giants buccaneers 2015 nfl week 9 referee

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Sunday afternoon’s Giants-Buccaneers game in Tampa was familiar. It had all the makings of a Giants last-minute loss / double-digit win. 20-18 in the 4th, without Jonathan Hankins, Eli just a little off, and FOX Sports doing their best to jinx the bejeesus out of Josh Brown, any Giants fan had apocalyptic visions and flashbacks to Week 1 vs. Romo, Week 2 vs. Atlanta (Ryan), Week 8 vs. Nawlins (Brees).

But, instead, they summoned memories of their uncomfortably close wins against Washington (Cousins), Buffalo (Taylor), and Week 7 against Cassell’s Cowboys. Why do I list the starting quarterbacks? Should be pretty obvious. Big Blue’s Ws have come against mid to low-tier signal callers. Their defeats come at the hands of top-tier tossers with the exception of the loss at Philly when Sam Bradford had money on the G-Men.

The upcoming schedule?

Bradford or Sanchez

Just based on what we’ve seen out of this defense, there are 2 definite losses – against Brady and Newton. The rest could go either way. Cousins showed Johnny Moxie in the comeback win against the Bucs, but he’s looked mediocre against the Giants, yet, I’d imagine he plays much better in Landover. Fitzpatrick is dealing with the thumb, so maybe the Giants knock him out of the game and coast against Geno. Even so, Fitz is 0-2 against NYG. In Miami, Tannehill could go off for a Brees-like rampage or he could continue to disappoint. Teddy B worries me more so than AP, but we’ve got JPP…

JPP jason pierre-paul giants buccaneers 2015 nfl week 9 post-game interview

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Yesterday’s game against the Bucs could’ve easily been a loss. Mike Evans dropped a ridiculous number of balls. If he catches half of those, the Giants could be staring at 4-5. Evans still managed to hold on to 8 throws for 152 yards. Doug Martin must’ve shook hands with Evans before kickoff because he dropped a huge pass as well. Connor Barth missed a field goal and Tampa failed to convert a 2-pointer. Multiple penalties – notably neutral zone infractions – kept the Giants offense on the field. If all those missteps go the other way, Giants might not escape with the victory.

The Giants D is bittersweet on fleek. They get gouged for big plays to the extent that you think maybe they only had 9 guys on the field then somehow end up with multiple HUGE, highly necessary turnovers. But, the outlook is mixed, bleeding towards bleak. Jon Beason went on IR, DaMontre Moore averages one unnecessary roughness penalty per game, and Hankins – the one bright spot in the front 7 this season – looks like he’s donezo for the year. At this point, I don’t think anyone would blame the Giants for releasing Moore. It’s damn near close to unfathomable that Moore has so many roughing the passer penalties.

But, JPP is back. He came close to Winston a handfu-… a few times. It’s nuts that guy with an oven mitt on his right hand can still impact a game and get pressure. Jonathan Casillas and Jasper Brinkley stepped up. Casillas led the team in solo tackles, and Brinkley forced a fumble. Plus, the team is hitting harder this go-round. Making the tackle is paramount, but if you can put a lick on a guy, that puts a lil’ nugget in that dude’s head to be cautious. That doubt and that fear can lead to alligator arms, not extending for balls, not pushing for the required yardage to gain first down.

Though the D didn’t notch any sacks, they did get more pressure on the quarterback. I was really impressed with their efficiency in the red zone; Tampa only converted 1 of 4 opportunities inside the 20 and 1 of 2 goal-to-go.

Offensively, the Giants had an uneven game. They got into 3rd down opportunities 16 times, which has to be a record. Big Blue usually averages around 13 third down chances per game and the league high average is just below 16. However, Eli and Company were able to convert 9 of those 16 third downs, which is way above their average (5.3) and 2 more than the league high of 7. While that’s cool and all, you’re playing with fire. The takeaway: GET MORE FIRST DOWNS ON FIRST & SECOND DOWN.

How do you do that? Throw down the field. I’m not talking about bombs over Baghdad, but when you have 2nd and 7, throw to routes 8-14 yards down the field. Too many times on Sunday, Eli checked down way short of the marker. There’s only 1 or 2 receivers who can get enough YAC to move the chains: Beckham and Vereen. And my guess is defenses have caught on to McAdoo’s scent and will surround, bottle up, and contain.

The G-Men were 2 of 4 in the red zone, which is slightly above their average of around 48%. Luckily, they were playing Tampa, who’s even worse in the red zone at ~43%, and was 1 of 4 on Sunday.

The 2 picks are hard to pin on Eli. The first pick on the first throw of the game was behind Odell, Odell knocks it up with his hand, and Moore’s right there for the easy INT. I guess the second pick on Odell for running the wrong route, but I still don’t think that’s a smart decision by Manning. Eli wasn’t very accurate all game. He probably should’ve had a touchdown to Will Tye. I still don’t get Eli insisting on throwing to Will Tye in big spots. 2nd and 9 pass incomplete to Will Tye then he goes right back to him for another incompletion.

I was really impressed by Eli’s quick release in the red zone. The throw to Cunningham to get them in goal-to-go was sharp and the touchdown throw to Vereen was near impossible to defend. Eli’s mobility has never been a strong-suit, but he was able to buy some time with his feet on the TD pass to Randle.

As I mentioned on Twitter, it was good to see Andre Williams picking up chunks instead of divots. I’d still like to see him finish games when the Giants have the lead, but Rashad Jennings stepped up and ran hard when Big Blue needed it most.

I’m still baffled how the Giants aren’t able to capitalize on turnovers. The defense gives you the ball on the Tampa 24 and you go 3 and out.

35 minutes of possession and only 327 net yards, 4.5 per play, 5.3 per pass play. The Giants offense is in trouble. Forget the 49 points they scored against New Orleans, the Saints defense is a mess. Without a legitimate third receiving threat, teams will key on Beckham and Vereen. Randle is hobbled and can be taken out of a game with a press corner. Dwayne Harris was near invisible after a couple big weeks, tallying 1 catch for 1 yard. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that Cruz will not be back this season. Maybe if they make the playoffs? It’s gotten to the point where I would play Vereen every down, line him up as a wingback or slot receiver.

The postseason is possible, but, as I said in previous posts, the injuries are becoming insurmountable. Meanwhile, the Eagles appear healthy enough to make a run and when the Cowboys get Romo back, they might be able to reel off a streak to get them back in contention. The Giants have the most difficult schedule coming down the stretch, while the Eagles play a sub .500 schedule.

@ Buccaneers – The Giants score doesn’t indicate how closely the Bucs were to winning. The Cowboys are starting to find a rhythm with Cassell. If Matt can stop throwing pick sixes, they could pull out the W. WIN, 3-6

@ Dolphins – This will probably be Cassell’s last start. Miami’s usually tough in Miami, but even with a new coach, they can’t compete. WIN, 4-6

Thanksgiving Day vs. Panthers – Romo’s return. The big stage. I still think Carolina crushes. LOSS, 4-7

Monday night @ Redskins – Washington loves to upset Dallas at least once per year. This could be it. LOSS, 4-8

@ Packers – In Green Bay, where their postseason run ended last year, they’ll be out for vengeance and might just get it. WIN, 5-8

Saturday night vs. Jets – I think Dallas wins but only because it’s at home. It’ll be close fo’ sho’. WIN 6-8

@ Bills – I don’t know which Buffalo team will show up, but I’m sure they’ll be amped to spoil Dallas’ push. LOSS 6-9

vs. Redskins – WIN, 7-9

vs Dolphins – WIN, 5-4
vs Buccaneers – WIN, 6-4
Thanksgiving @ Lions – WIN, 7-4
@ Patriots – LOSS, 7-5
vs Bills – WIN, 8-5
vs Cardinals – WIN, 9-5
Saturday night vs Redskins – WIN, 10-5
@ Giants – LOSS, 10-6

vs Saints – WIN, 4-5
@ Panthers – LOSS, 4-6
vs Giants – LOSS, 4-7
Monday night vs. Cowboys – WIN, 5-7
@ Bears – WIN, 6-7
vs Bills – WIN, 7-7
Saturday night @ Eagles – LOSS, 7-8
@ Cowboys – LOSS, 7-9

vs Patriots – this could be the motivational game that spurs the team on a run, but odds are they get thumped. LOSS, 5-5

@ Redskins – coming off a bye week, I think the focus will be there. WIN, 6-5

vs Jets – A healthy Fitz might scare me, but I think the Giants win by FG or less. WIN, 7-5

Monday night @ Dolphins – Miami will most likely be playing spoiler at this point, but with the division on the line, I think the Giants play smart and tough. WIN 8-5

vs Panthers – LOSS, 8-6

@ Vikings – This will be the game that will decide Big Blue’s fate. A game that will highlight and expose the team’s weaknesses. LOSS, 8-7

vs Eagles – In a game that doesn’t matter for Philly (since they’ve already won the division), Giants will be playing Tom and Jerry’s last game with pride. WIN, 9-7

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