Giants should start looking to 2020 with 2-8 mark

TOM CANAVAN (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- After 10 games, the New York Giants' 2019 season is pretty much over.

Look at the NFC standings. The Giants are 2-8 heading into the bye week and riding a six-game losing streak after a 34-27 defeat to the rival Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.

Their only hope of making the playoffs would be to win the NFC East. Dallas and Philadelphia share the division lead with 5-4 records and the Cowboys have beaten Pat Shurmur's team twice.

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Even if the Giants went on a six-game winning streak, the best they could do would be 8-8. That means beating Chicago (4-5), Green Bay (8-2), Philadelphia twice, Washington (1-8) and Miami (2-7), which is riding a two-game winning streak.

That's asking a lot of a young, error-prone team.

''There is a lot to be learned,'' Shurmur said Monday. ''There's, I guess, pains that come with growing and we've just got to be very consistent, we've got to raise them right, we've got to coach them hard, and we've got to do like you do with any player. But they have the ability to get experience, and we all know there is no substitute for experience.''

To be honest, it's experience that might be useful in 2020. It's hard to say whether Shurmur will be the coach, James Bettcher will be the defensive coordinator or Dave Gettleman the general manager. Change happens when a team makes the playoffs once since 2011.

Shurmur has no plans of making coaching changes during the bye. He just wants to win. A couple of games would be helpful after a 5-11 mark in his first season.

WHAT'S WORKING

For all his mistakes, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones is the future. He is a playmaker with heart. The rookie has hit 187 of 297 passes for 1,984 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also is second on the team in rushing with 32 carries for 208 yards, a 6.5 yard average, and two TDs.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Finding a way to win. While New York has been outclassed in a couple of games, the Giants have been within a touchdown or less either late in the third or in the fourth quarter in the past five games. They led the Jets entering the fourth quarter Sunday.

''Just know the people inside the building, we're working, we still believe we can,'' receiver Golden Tate III said. ''We've just got to go out there and do it.''

STOCK UP

For the second time, rookie receiver Darius Slayton is trending up. The fifth-round draft pick was supposed to be a deep threat. He has shown he can do everything. He had career bests of 10 receptions for 121 yards. His 10 catches were the second-highest total by a Giants player this season, one less than tight end Evan Engram had in the season opener in Dallas. His five TD catches lead the team.

STOCK DOWN

Has to be Saquon Barkley. He keeps taking the high road in explaining his inability to produce since returning from the high sprain to his right ankle. He sat out three games. In the past four, the No. 2 overall rusher in the NFL last season has carried 64 times for 165 yards, a 2.58 yard average. He gained 227 yards on 29 carries in the first two games, a 7.8 yard average. He was hurt late in the first half against Tampa Bay on Sept. 22, finishing with eight rushes for 10 yards. Adding those numbers in, he was averaging 6.4 yards. Not the same guy now.

INJURED

Left tackle Nate Solder and cornerback Janoris Jenkins left the game with concussions. Barkley had an MRI in the past 24 hours and Shurmur said he is fine and will continue to play. The bye week will help center Jon Halapio (hamstring), tackle Mike Remmers (ankle) and Engram (foot) get healthy. The team should consider shutting down WR Sterling Shepard after two concussions and six missed games.

KEY NUMBER

24 - The NFL is all about having the ball. The Giants have 24 turnovers in 10 games. They had 19 in 2018. Their turnover differential is minus 12, tied for the league worst with Miami and Atlanta. Jones has 17 turnovers, including three fumbles returned for touchdowns in each of the past three games. That's not how to win games.

NEXT STEPS

The bye week is a time to fix things. With Jones running the show, the offense has potential. The running game and the O-line have to be better. The defense is a disaster. It has given up at least 27 points an NFL-high nine times and at least 31 points six times, tying Tampa Bay for the league high. It's easy to say either switch coordinators or fire Shurmur. It's still going to be a mess this season.

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