Giants head into bye on 2-game losing streak
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has a message for anyone ready to give up on the New York Giants as they head into a bye week off disappointing losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s simple: Don’t write off the Giants (3-4).
Pierre-Paul believes the Giants can win their final nine games if they stop making mistakes.
The Giants, who have missed the playoffs the past two seasons, made many mistakes in getting blown out by the Eagles 27-0 a week ago and then dropping a 31-21 decision to the Cowboys on Sunday.
It’s frustrating for a team that thought it was on track after winning three in a row following a 0-2 start.
“I think we are fine,” Pierre-Paul said Monday as the players left for some time off. “It was a tough loss yesterday. As far as the team, we know what we can do if we all get on the same path. We spoke to some guys and said to do whatever you have to do on your bye week and get away from football. Just focus on something else, but when we come back it is time to turn it on.”
The schedule certainly won’t be in the Giants’ favor after the break. They start with a Monday night game at home against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts (5-2). It is followed by a game in Seattle (3-3) against the defending Super Bowl champions. Then, they have home contests against San Francisco (4-3) and Dallas (6-1).
It things don’t get turned, the Giants could be out of the playoff picture before Thanksgiving.
“There is a lot more football to be played,” said Pierre-Paul, who had an outstanding game against Dallas, recording two sacks, six tackles and three quarterback hits. “Don’t give up on us yet.”
There are a lot of areas that have to improve in the second half of the season. The running game and the run defense have not been good the past two weeks. The offensive line has not opened holes. The defensive line has not generated much pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
Penalties are once again a problem and no one seems to be making big plays.
“The effort is there for everybody, so now we’ve just got to string some things together, eliminate some of the mistakes, some of the mental mistakes that occurred,” said quarterback Eli Manning, who has thrown only one interception in the last five games. “They’re not huge ones, we’re playing smart we’ve just got to play that much better to be able to get back in that win department.”
The bye is coming at a good time for the Giants. Rashad Jennings, who has missed the last two games with a sprained knee, might be ready to go after the break and guard Geoff Schwartz, who was hurt in the preseason, hopes to return to practice next week.
Coach Tom Coughlin, however, had reservations whether they would be ready for the Colts.
Some players have stepped up. Rookie first-round receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is living up to the hype with three touchdown catches in as many games.
Cornerback Prince Amukamara has been outstanding and Pierre-Paul has made big plays on defense.
The Giants head into the break a game out of the last playoff spot in the NFC.
“We have nine games to play,” Couglin said when asked about the big picture. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to talk about this team being a lot better than you see it right now.”
Giants defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins strained a calf muscle and middle linebacker Jon Beason aggravated a toe injury against Dallas and their status is uncertain.
Jenkins expects to be out a couple of weeks and Beason will visit a foot specialist for the second time this season.
“The feeling around here is that there is a lot of disappointment because we dropped two in a row,” Jenkins said. “You know, 3-4, we still have a lot of control over what happens. All we need is another good run.”