Week 15 Recap: Unrelenting, Freezing Rain Washes New York Giants Playoff Hopes Away

By Danielle McCartan (@CoachMcCartan and www.Facebook.com/CoachMcCartan)

BERGEN COUNTY, N.J.- Following the bye week, the New York Giants faced a tall task of earning the final wild card spot in the NFC Playoff picture. After turning a bleak season around after the bye week, the Giants were 4-1 (that loss was of the three-point variety to the Philadelphia Eagles). Entering week 15, there was cautious optimism in Giants Nation. That is, until high sustained winds and unrelenting, freezing rain at the Meadowlands washed away Big Blue’s postseason dreams.

Shortly after halftime, after being unable to find a rhythm on offense all day long, the Giants knew it (the game and the season) was over. Tensions boiled over with Olivier Vernon’s suplex of Derrick Henry with 6:28 to go in the game.  A major scuffle between players of both teams ensued, and the unnecessary roughness call it warranted was offset by an offensive penalty.

This morning, on my radio program 60 Minute Overtime, I stated that this game would be won in the rushing attack for both teams.  For the Titans, I outlined Marcus Mariota’s threat to both throw and run the ball effectively. For the Giants, I lauded their selection of Saquon Barkley in the 2018 Draft, saying that he is a “game changer” and that the Giants offense “runs through him”.

Well, it clearly does.  Before the Titans switched to prevent defense in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, Barkley had only posted 31 rushing yards (on 14 attempts – average 2.2 yards/carry) and 10 receiving yards (on 2 attempts – average 5 yards/per reception). The Titans defense plugged up Barkley for his season-worst rushing yard total… by a lot. In Giants wins, Barkley needs to gain at least 67 yards on the ground.

The Giants’ day was filled with: absent pass protection, missed tackles, a mishandled snap by punter Riley Dixon, and a sack/fumble combination on Manning. IMG_1237 The Titans, seemingly were unaffected by the adverse conditions in New Jersey.  Running back Henry posted 170 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Mariota added 10 rushing yards to his (only) 88 passing yards).  The game saw, in total, 61 running plays: 45 from Tennessee, 16 from New York. The Titans clearly had the better game plan of running plays to passing plays (45 rushes as compared to 21 passes).  The Giants’ game plan was inverse: 16 rushes as compared to 44 passes.

The weather matched the atmosphere for Giants fans in at MetLife Stadium today. The Giants have not been shut out at home in five years, almost exactly to the day: December 15, 2013. The only thing left for the Giants to do is to play for pride.  The only thing left for the fans is to is to wait for a new sense of optimism that the 2019 NFL Draft could provide. Until then, sports talk radio fodder will fixate on who will quarterback the team next season and beyond.

To download my radio show from this morning, please click on the image below!

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