East Rutherford, NJ: It’s been a minute since the New York Giants have been in the playoffs. The last game was the 38-13 waxing in Green Bay in January of 2017, a loss marred by the infamous “boat picture” taken earlier in the week. Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard, two of the boaters, each dropped TD passes in the first quarter. The Giants have been abysmal since then and have fired three coaches. But they’re back baby. They head to Minnesota to take on the Vikings on Sunday. Can the boys pull off the upset? Let’s dig in.
The Vikes are the first ever 13-win team to have a negative point differential. I’m no mathematician, but that doesn’t seem easy to pull off. The formula was a league record 11 wins within one score and beatdown losses at the hands of the Packers, Cowboys and Eagles.
The Giants and Vikings just played a few weeks ago in week 16. The Vikings won on a 61-yard field goal at the buzzer. Ouch. That one looked destined for overtime but a bubble screen to Justin Jefferson got them in miracle FG range on a Wink (surprise) blitz.
The good news was that Daniel Jones had a season high 334 yards passing, making Isiah Hodgins and Richie James look like decent NFL receivers in the process. The bad news is that Wink and the Giants had no answer for Jefferson and TJ Hockenson, who combined for 25 catches for 242 yards.
Teams like to put their nest receivers in the slot against the Giants. Oft abused slot corner Darnay Holmes can’t stay with them for long and Wink’s insistence on blitzing leaves him on an island. This is not the way.
The Giants seem to be the trendy pick for an upset, which makes me nervous. Sure, the Vikings had a negative point differential, but they’re 8-1 at home. None of the home wins were overly impressive but they find a way to win. The one loss was a shellacking by the Cowboys. Their best win of the season was in Buffalo, but that was the fluky one where Allen fumbled the kneel down on the one.
The challenge for the Giants will be on defense. Can they do enough on defense to slow down Jefferson, Cook, Hockenson, Thielen and the emerging Osbourne. They may get top CB Adoreé Jackson back, which would help. Keep him off the damn punt team please.
But there’s no reason to think the Giants can’t stay with them and this is likely going to come down to who makes plays at the end. But I’m sure glad we’re having this conversation after five brutal seasons on the outside. The NFC is not strong, but they would have likely their hands full with Philly next week if they can find a way to win Sunday. If Seattle somehow upsets the Niners, then they would play Philly and the Giants would go to Dallas or Tampa.
But whatever happens, please promise me one thing fellas: Stay on land this week, eh?
Come back tomorrow for Viking Nation President Angry Ward’s rebuttal. Please comment below and follow us on Twitter at @benwhit8 & @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts. And we’re on Instagram, too – @MeetTheMatts