WEEK IN REVIEW
In typical NFC (L)East fashion, the New York Giants improved their position in the division standings by simply not playing. Every team in the in the division is currently sitting with three wins, and Philadelphia has the slight edge because of their tie with the Bengals earlier in the year. It’s a wide-open race with six weeks to go. Things are getting interesting.
While the Giants were away, Washington and Dallas both picked up their third wins of the year and one will exit Thanksgiving with their fourth. Both teams saw their respective quarterbacks have their best performances of the year. After Thursday, the Giants will likely have an idea of who their top competition is in the NFC (L)East. Despite technically being in first place, the Philadelphia Eagles have shown the inability to get out of their own way. A solid performance this week could leave the Giants as the new favorites to be division champs.
NEWS OF THE WEEK
Head Coach Joe Judge made headlines during the bye week after he fired offensive line coach Marc Colombo. The firing was followed by rumors ranging from poor performance to intense verbal altercations. Judge seems ready to put the move behind him during his media availability. “The decision we made was in the best interests of the New York Giants, short- and long-term,” Judge said. “I made this clear from Day 1. I’m always going to make every decision on what I see as best for the team. This decision was no different.”
The Giants may also be about to add some firepower to their defense that has been playing at a high level lately. Second-year linebacker Oshane Ximines and rookie safety Xavier McKinney will begin their 21-day practice periods to potentially activate them from injured reserve. Ximines played in all 16 games last season and finished with 4.5 sacks, tied for second on the team. McKinney was a highly touted draft pick out of Alabama, who was selected by the Giants with the 36th overall pick. He has the potential to grow into an elite box safety. Looks for these two to provide an extra boost to this stout, New York defense.
THE WEEK AHEAD
The Giants’ potential path to the playoffs begins this week with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Giants open this week as 5.5-point road favorites over a Cincinnati team which unfortunately just lost rookie quarterback Joe Burrow for the rest of this season, and possibly next season as well. Paul Brown Stadium is not expected to see a ton of scoring, as this game features a middling 42.5 Over/Under. The Giants enter this week with a significant advantage having just had a week off for their bye and with the Bengals having to make major adjustments on offense as backup QB Brandon Allen takes over as the starter.
This game is a must-win for the Giants in the mutual opponents category of the standings. Washington just defeated Cincinnati 20-9 this past weekend and Philadelphia tied them earlier in the year. Given that they are one of the weaker opponents (2-7-1) remaining on the Giants’ schedule and the need to keep pace, the Bengals are a crucial step in the Giants’ playoff pursuit. In a division as tight as this, every game matters, even if most of them result in losses.