Giants Season Recap

The New York Giants’ season was average as compared to other teams, but for Big Blue, it was quite a ride. Finishing with a 4-13 record in 2021, the Giants were looking for a big change as previous Head Coach Joe Judge had not seen any success for the struggling G-Men. However, this all changed in late January of 2022, when the Giants hired ex-Buffalo Bills Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll as their new head coach. Daboll brings 21 seasons of NFL coaching experience to the table, but this was his first time as a head coach. Daboll also has a handful of Super Bowl rings and is looking to pick up more in the Big Apple.

Twenty-five-year-old Daniel Jones at quarterback (QB) and running back Saquon Barkley were notable leaders in the Giants’ offense. Jones ended the year with 3,205 passing yards and a 67.2% completion rate; both stats are new career highs for him. While the passing game was flourishing with Jones under center, Barkley was rushing the pigskin downfield for him. Barkley recorded 1,312 rushing yards, along with ten trips to the endzone in 2022. He also recorded 338 receiving yards on the downfield. However, Jones’ stats do not tell the whole story, as he was great with the ball in his own hands this year. Most notably in the wild card against the Minnesota Vikings, Jones rushed for 78 yards, which is the most by a Giants QB in a postseason game. He also became the first QB in NFL history to record 300+ passing yards, two+ touchdown passes, and rush for 70+ yards in a playoff game, which is quite remarkable for being only twenty-five years old. Graham Gano was another automatic player; he attempted thirty-four extra points and made thirty-two of them, only missing two for an extra point percentage (XP%) of 94.1%. Gano also had a field goal percentage (FG%) of 90.6%, capping off his attempts with a season-long 57-yard field goal.

In addition to the aforementioned positives, the Giants also clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2016, when they lost in the wild card against the Green Bay Packers. Consequently, this year’s playoff run was not as short as 2016’s playoff campaign. In the wild card round, the Giants and their fans were hyped to play in Minnesota against the third-seed Vikings in a close week 16 rematch, where Vikings kicker Greg Joseph put all of his leg into kicking the game-winning 61-yard field goal to push the Vikings over the Giants at the last second. The Giants were looking for revenge, and they got way more than revenge. They won 31-24, an all-around amazing effort by the Big Blue. This win had set the Giants up for a divisional round matchup against their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles had the #1 seed in the National Football Conference (NFC) with a 14-3 record, giving them the first-round; however, their all-pro QB, Jalen Hurts, was coming off a right-shoulder injury, and Eagles fans were worried about whether he would be fully able to play or not. However, their premonition was falsified, and Hurts went onto have an excellent game and put the Eagles on cruise control into the NFC Championship with a score of 38-7. Although the Giants playoff run was cut short, it was still significantly better than what was expected of them in the beginning of the season.

Just because the Giants saw success in 2022 does not mean there is no room for improvement in 2023, as there are some robust weaknesses that could have helped them in the playoffs. First of all, the defense this year was horrendous and needs to be improved if the Giants want to give their fans more hope for a longer playoff run. This can be fixed by a couple of good draft picks, as they have nine total picks in the up-coming NFL draft in late April. 

The interior offensive line has also been a huge factor in how the Giants’ offense played out. Apart from Andrew Thomas, the rest of the o-line was a liability from September to January. This weakness has affected how both Jones and Barkley have played, as they cannot do their jobs without sufficient protection. Jones does not have enough time to read the field in the pocket, and Barkley is not getting a lot of gaps on the inside. Another improvement that must be made is in the slot, as the receiving core this year was awful. With 728 yards, Darius Slayton, who started the year as third in the depth chart, led the receivers, who had struggled to find space from the cornerback. With Isaiah Hodgins’s late resurgence, the Giants had some help at the end of the year. But what made the difference in the Giants’ success this season was their success on the receiving side of the ball. 

Brian Daboll immediately took off at a running start by giving the Giants their first win of the season in week 1 against the Tennessee Titans with a score of 21-20. By the end of the third quarter, the Giants were down by seven and needed a touchdown and a point after the touchdown (PAT) to tie it up. Consequently, Daboll and the Giants had other plans. With 1:06 left in the fourth quarter,  Jones passed to tight end Chris Myarick for a one-yard touchdown to put the Giants behind by one. Daboll decided that he would test his offense by not going for the easy game-tying PAT, but instead for a two-point conversion. Jones chose to give the football to the reliable Barkley to deliver the much needed two-point conversion. Barkley delivered, and a minute later, the Giants were celebrating in the locker room on a win in week 1. This win marked the first time since 2016 that the Giants came out with a win in week 1. Then, in week 2, the Giants won again in an exciting home opener against the Carolina Panthers with a score of 19-16, putting them 2-0 on the season for the first time in 6 years. In the last three minutes of the game, both teams were tied at a score of 16-16, but all that changed as Gano scored a 56-yard field goal to put the Giants ahead by three, and they never looked back from there. Consequently, the Giants’ run ended with a tough week 3 loss against one of their division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. Then, in week 4, the Giants had a much easier game against the Chicago Bears, blowing them away with a score of 20-12.