The Giants’ momentum entering Sunday’s game against the Eagles was already heading in a downward trajectory. They had lost three out of four and were coming off a deflating tie against the Commanders. They needed a game that would get them off the floor and show that they are the same team that started this season 6-1. What ended up happening however was a loss that seemingly has placed New York at rock bottom when it comes to this season.
The Giants lost to the Eagles 48-22 in a game that wasn’t even close. The Eagles started off on fire, scoring a touchdown on each of their first three drives. They were converting what seems like every third-down conversion in the first half and the Giants’ defense had a very hard time getting off the field. The offense had similar struggles, going only 4-13 on third down during the game.
Here are three takeaways from the Giants’ blowout loss against the Eagles Sunday.
Saquon Barkley’s Recent Regression Is Very Concerning
First takeaway is that starting the season, Giants Running Back Saquon Barkley was on a tear. He was considered one of, if not the, best running backs in the NFL and was even getting some consideration for MVP. He led the NFL in rushing yards and scrimmage yards at one point and was the driving force for this Giants offense. Now, after Week 14, he looks like a shell of his early-season self.
Against the Eagles, Barkley only had 28 rushing yards on nine carries and two catches for 20 yards. His status was a concern before the game as he popped up on the injury report with a neck injury in the middle of the week. Daboll would say after the game that he wasn’t limited in the game but they were keeping an eye on him.
“I wouldn’t say we had a pitch count, but I think we had a plan. He came in early and got his treatment. He got looked at by the doctors and the medical staff. We were going to make sure we were being smart with him.” Brian Daboll – Postgame Press Conference
Injury or not, the Giants need to see more out of Barkley and they just haven’t gotten it. His yards per carry compared throughout the entire season is startling. There is a significant dropoff after the Jaguars game which, not coincidentally, is when the Giants started their struggles. It’s not what you want to see from a guy who is in the last year of his contract and most likely is expecting a big payday during the offseason. Hopefully, this turns around as we close out the season but for now, this is something to seriously keep an eye on.
Giants’ Inability To Have A Consistent Passing-Game Shows Up Again
All season, one of the main storylines for this Giants team has been their bad luck when it comes to their wide receiver room. Whether it’s Sterling Shepard suffering his second straight season-ending injury, Kadarius Toney getting traded after popping up on the injury report each week, or Kenny Golladay being so bad that he is benched for a guy that was on the practice squad five weeks ago. This team has seen it all and on Sunday, the effects were prominent. For the ninth time this season, Quarterback Daniel Jones threw the ball for 200 yards or fewer.
It’s really hard in today’s NFL to win without having a prominent passing-game. That isn’t putting the blame on Jones. He’s had maybe the best year of his career when it comes to his play and what he has around him. The Giants though don’t have the people around them to make the area a threat.
Wide Receivers Richie James and Isaiah Hodgins have had solid seasons for the teams compared to where they started on the depth chart. However, you can’t rely on them to make those game-changing plays. It’s not fair to them and the team just has to get through with the pieces they have. It will be a major topic in the offseason but for now, the Giants have to find a way to make it work.
Azeez Ojulari Is Once Again A Force On The Edge
The final takeaway is one of the few bright spots to come from Sunday’s loss is the re-emergence of EDGE Rusher Azeez Ojulari. He missed the first two games of the season and in his second game back against the Bears, he recorded a strip sack fumble that showed the potential that he flashed a year ago. Unfortunately, he got hurt in that game and missed some time. He returned a week ago against the Commanders and got another strip-sack fumble and even recovered the ball. The Giants have been waiting for someone to wreak havoc on the edge and Ojulari definitely fits the bill.
On Sunday, even in a losing effort, Ojulari made an impact as he got two sacks on QB Jalen Hurts. That has brought his sack totals on the season to four while only playing four games. If he can do this on a weekly basis, the Giants have something to work with on the defensive line. He, combined with Dexter Lawrence, Kayvon Thibodeaux, and Leonard Williams creates a nightmare for the opposing offensive line. Getting all four healthy at the same time is another challenge but when that time comes, watch out for Ojulari and the rest of the line.
It was an ugly loss for the Giants that revealed, what many people already knew, that the Giants aren’t close to competing with the best in the NFC. They just don’t have the talent on the roster and as good as a job as Head Coach Brian Daboll has done in his first year, it seems like even he can’t muster enough to get this team over the hump against the better teams. Injuries have been a factor but even going into the season, the talent on the roster seemed like an issue and it showed up again, against Philadelphia.