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NFL Draft

Giants, NFC East Outlook Depends On Daniel Jones’ Health

  • The Draft Network
  • December 1, 2020
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No, your mind wasn’t playing tricks on you. Both Colt McCoy and Mike Glennon were starting quarterbacks Sunday. While time has seemingly escaped us during months of COVID-19 self-quarantine, it was truly turned back in Week 12. The journeymen lined up under center for one reason or another, and while one passer nearly pulled off an impressive comeback—Glennon failed to convert the two-point play that would have tied the game, likely sending it to overtime—the other ascended his team to first place in the NFC East.

Yes, it’s the NFC East, and a potential five- or six-win season isn’t anything to boast about. This division will continue to be the butt of many jokes, but there, begrudgingly, has to be a winner. McCoy’s performance Sunday, filling in for an injured Daniel Jones, put the New York Giants at the top of the standings. They are the only team in this division that’s been able to sustain some resemblance of success.

McCoy did enough against the Cincinnati Bengals to get the Giants to four wins; they have edged out the Washington Football Team for first place. While head coach Joe Judge seems optimistic Jones will be healthy enough to play next week, tests have only ruled out a major injury.

If Jones is unable to play in Week 13, it would leave McCoy as the team’s starter. New York already had an uphill battle; and while McCoy provided enough veteran leadership and signal-calling to extend the team’s win streak to three consecutive games, the remainder of the season won’t be so forgiving.

McCoy was serviceable Sunday. He finished the 19-17 win completing 6-of-10 passes for 31 yards, setting up three field goals that narrowly put the Giants ahead; it was McCoy’s first game since Week 5 of the 2019 season. Aside from the general mess that is the quarterback position across the division—three passers are hurt and the last healthy quarterback, Carson Wentz, could likely be benched due to poor play—the Giants aren’t in the worst position. They could realistically go 6-10 and, at the least, 5-11, with games against the Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and Dallas Cowboys left on their schedule. New York has the tiebreaker over Washington while both Dallas and the Philadelphia Eagles are on an ill-fated mission. 

All signs are pointing to the Giants effectively winning their division. But it doesn’t always pay to be the best team in the worst division. New York can get to the playoffs with a losing record, host a postseason game, and end their four-year playoff drought, but it still needs the combined efforts of Jones and McCoy, or McCoy alone pending Jones’ recovery. The Giants likely won’t beat the Seahawks, no matter who is under center. But with winnable games against the hot-and-cold Cardinals and Browns, along with the regular-season finale against the Cowboys, Jones’ health could be paramount in New York’s final stretch. McCoy hasn’t won a game since Week 17 of the 2015 season. This likely won’t give way to any other team ascending up the ranks; things are working—working has massive air quotes around it in this context—for the Giants, who totaled a season-best 386 yards against the Bengals. This was the fifth consecutive game New York had more than 300 yards on offense. 

McCoy can keep things trending in the right direction, for now, but New York’s fate is very much intertwined with Jones’ health. If he does miss a few weeks, it could have a ripple effect for the desperate Washington Football Team or Eagles.

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