3 Takeaways from Giants' Week 12 Win
The New York Giants picked up their fourth win of the season Sunday. After beating the rival Philadelphia Eagles 13-7, New York pulled to 4-7 and just one game behind the No. 7-seeded Minnesota Vikings in the NFC playoff race.
A postseason berth still feels unlikely for the Giants, but it's far from a pipe dream.
This wasn't a particularly pretty game, but it was a tough, gritty performance by a team that has lacked an identity in 2021. The defense showed glimpses of being the stout unit we saw near the end of the 2020 season, and the Giants may have turned a corner in this campaign.
The Eagles came in on a two-game winning streak, and getting the victory over them was big for the Giants—even if it won't spark a playoff run. Here's what we learned during New York's Week 12 victory.
The Giants May Have to Overhaul the Offense in 2022
The Giants have invested heavily in their offense in recent years. They have used first-round picks on the likes of quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley and offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. They have spent on free agents like receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end Kyle Rudolph.
The problem is that few of these pieces have performed like building blocks. Jones has been good in spurts but hasn't established himself as a franchise quarterback. The oft-injured Barkley has not been the difference-maker he was during his first two seasons.
On Sunday, Barkley averaged just 3.1 yards per carry and 3.3 yards per reception. Golladay caught three passes for 50 yards, while Rudolph (ankle) was inactive.
There's no way the Giants can justify signing this version of Barkley to a lucrative long-term contract. Whoever is running the front office in the offseason—NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that general manager Dave Gettleman will likely be out—will have to think long and hard about upgrading the quarterback spot.
In short, the Giants—who came in ranked 25th in scoring—will have to consider blowing up the offensive roster and starting over in a few months.
Parting with Jason Garrett Solved Little
Sunday's game was another sign that the Giants need personnel changes on offense. The Giants fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett after Week 11 and promoted senior assistant Freddie Kitchens to the OC position.
According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, head coach Joe Judge considered moving on from Garrett last season.
"It was already bad between them then," one source told La Canfora.
However, the switch to Kitchens didn't solve much, if anything. On a positive note, he did seem to have the cohesive game plan that Garrett often seemed to lack. He spread around the ball—Jones connected with eight receivers—and used the quarterback in the running game.
Overall, though, the offense was just barely good enough. It totaled 264 yards and converted on only three of 12 third-down attempts. Kitchens may eventually provide an offensive spark, but it didn't happen Sunday.
If New York Goes on a Run, It Will Be Led by the Defense
With the offense spinning its tires, the Giants will need to rely on their defense if they hope to go on any meaningful run. The good news is that the unit might be able to carry this team.
The previous week's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't go well, as Tampa racked up 402 yards of offense and 30 points. However, New York has allowed a maximum of 20 points in three of its past four games, and the defense has forced a turnover in every game this season.
The Giants picked off Jalen Hurts three times Sunday. While they only notched one sack, they applied enough pressure to make him uncomfortable in the pocket. That led to mistakes and helped deliver a win to New York—along with a couple of key Jalen Reagor drops.
Hurts completed just 13 of his 31 pass attempts for 129 yards, and the Eagles converted four of their 13 third- or fourth-down attempts.
Philadelphia did rally 208 yards on the ground, but it struggled mightily against the Giants defense through the air. If New York can cook up a similar performance against the Miami Dolphins in Week 13, it will at least have a fighting chance to notch win No. 5.