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The New York Giants opened the 2021 regular-season with an 0-3 record before upsetting the New Orleans Saints in Week 4. They then proceeded to drop two straight against the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams.
At 1-5, things were looking quite ugly for the Giants and rumors began to swirl that ownership was already looking ahead to offseason changes. Then, suddenly, Joe Judge’s group won two of their next three games — both upsets — and nearly took down the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs.
The sudden burst left the Giants with a 3-6 record heading into their bye week and ESPN believes they may continue some of that momentum coming out the other side.
In predicting the final record for all 32 NFL teams, ESPN has the Giants closing things out with a 7-10 record, meaning they go 4-4 over their final eight games.
What we know: This isn’t a very good team. The offensive line remains problematic, questions about quarterback Daniel Jones persist and the defense underperformed for much of the first half of the season without any serious rush off the edges. But at least there’s some hope that the team will be healthier and better down the stretch. The Giants are a long shot — at best — to be a serious playoff contender. They are 3-6, which just so happens to be their best record through nine games since 2016. So maybe at least coach Joe Judge & Co. are making progress, albeit at a snail’s pace.
What we don’t know yet: What would this team look like with all its players healthy? That remains unknown because of injury. Also unknown: Is Jones a true franchise quarterback they can build around? No team has more games lost to injuries by their Week 1 starters than the Giants. Running back Saquon Barkley and wide receivers Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton have all missed at least three games. Rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney missed two. They have not played a game this season when all of them were at full strength or at the top of their game. Instead, it has been a mishmash of players around Jones.
Final record prediction: 7-10. The Giants should be healthier and better, and the schedule in the second half of the season is much softer.
The Giants started turning things around despite the injuries. As noted, their schedule also gets significantly softer following a Week 11 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Should they see even a moderate return to health and some level of personnel consistency, who knows where this Giants group can go. We’re not saying they’ll make a push for the playoffs, but we (and Giants fans everywhere) would certainly like to see what this team can do with its normal starting lineup.
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