Are the Giants Watchable Yet?

Time is a flat circle, but we want to help you break it. To that end, we’ve enlisted two experts — one familiar with the ins and outs of New York’s football teams, the other a nationally focused football analyst — to answer an essential question as a weekly service to readers: Is this team good yet?

Devin Gordon, who has written about sports for ESPN and GQ and is the author of “So Many Ways to Lose: The Amazin’ True Story of the New York Mets, the Best Worst Team in Sports,” observed the Giants from a locally focused perspective.

Diante Lee, an N.F.L. analyst at Pro Football Focus, offered a national view.

The Giants (1-5), with several starters battling injuries, fell to the Los Angeles Rams, 38-11, Sunday.

With running back Saquon Barkley (sprained ankle) and wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hyperextended knee) out, and quarterback Daniel Jones coming off a concussion last week against Dallas, the Giants all but promised an unwatchable performance on Sunday afternoon. Credit where it’s due, they did not disappoint.

Coming off a self-induced helmet-to-helmet collision that knocked Jones out of last week’s game against Dallas — and given the ferocity of the Rams’ (5-1) defense — it’s fair to wonder why Giants Coach Joe Judge put him out there at all. Why not send out the backup Mike Glennon and let the young quarterback gather his wits for a week and avoid Rams rusher Aaron Donald?

Glennon could not have done much worse. Through the first three and a half quarters, Jones led the Giants offense to more turnovers (4) than points (3). In the end, the Rams wound up going to their backup quarterback: After Matthew Stafford’s fourth touchdown pass put Los Angeles up, 38-3, the Rams could safely turn the offense over to John Wolford in the fourth quarter. They could’ve done so after halftime.

Verdict: If you chose apple-picking today, you’re the real winner.

Gravity is real, and Daniel Jones knows that universal law all too well. After a hot start to the 2021 season, Jones was yanked violently back to earth in Week 5, only to rush back from a head injury to try to keep the Giants from spinning out of control against the Rams.

When Jones wasn’t trying to escape pressure from one Rams defender, he was throwing the football to another. He ended the game having been sacked four times and thrown three interceptions on 29 of 51 passing. If a quarterback took every snap and threw the ball into the fourth row of the stands, he’d end the game with a 39.6 passer rating. Jones just eclipsed that number with a 44.7 rating.

As is customary with this team, bright spots have quickly turned bad. Saquon Barkley and Kenny Golladay’s injuries followed breakout performances in the Giants’ win against New Orleans. This week, the rookie receiver Kadarius Toney hobbled off with an ankle injury, a week after his 189-yard game against Dallas showed he could be a loadstone in the receiver rotation. That left Sterling Shepard on an island in the second half, when the Giants were reduced to lining up Dante Pettis and tight ends as outside receivers.

The Giants are still last in the N.F.C. East and only a game ahead of the winless Detroit Lions in the conference. A huge chunk of the roster is hurt, the offensive line still plays as though blocking pass rushers is optional and the defense can’t stop a runny nose.

Other than that, the white jerseys looked nice today!

Verdict: Use your Sundays to get ahead on holiday shopping.

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