The New York Giants’ season could not have ended with a more underwhelming thud, a 17-0 shutout to the Tennessee Titans in Week 15.
It only confirmed what had been made painfully obvious during the first half of the season: Big Blue is a bad football team.
They were able to save face, winning four of five games coming off a bye week to remarkably stay in playoff contention before being run over by Derrick Henry and Co.
While the win streak brought in some cheer around the holiday season for the current Giants, it might have just shot the future Giants in the foot as any hopes of a top-five draft pick and the best quarterbacks available have flown out the window.
If Giants fans thought Week 15 against the Titans was bad, just wait until this Sunday as the Indianapolis Colts, fresh off a shutout of the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys, welcome New York to town.
Lucas Oil Stadium does hold some fond memories for the Giants and Eli Manning, having won Super Bowl XLVI over the New England Patriots in that venue.
It was the last time the Giants played in Indianapolis.
Instead of competing for a Lombardi Trophy, the Giants are just trying to figure out what direction they’re moving in before an offseason of changes roll through.
Here is what to watch for on Sunday:
Giants, Colts preview: Eli’s last call
If last week’s game against the Titans suggested anything, it’s that the 37-year-old Manning should not be the Giants’ starting quarterback next season.
With no semblance of a run game against Tennessee’s tough defense, Manning was downright bad in his attempt to keep the Giants in a winnable game.
In an offseason that will see some notable veteran quarterbacks available on the free-agent market like Joe Flacco and Nick Foles, this could very well be Eli’s final ride as Giants quarterback.
That is, unless he lights up the Colts and the Cowboys in the last two weeks in the season. Then management is going to have quite the predicament on their hands.
Giants, Colts preview: Good Luck
The Colts have to be thrilled with what they’ve seen from Andrew Luck in 2018.
After a three-year nightmare filled with injuries and rehabilitation, Luck’s career has skyrocketed from questionable to Pro Bowl as he’s on pace for a career season.
In 14 games, he’s completed 67.3-percent of his passes for 3,951 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
It will be the Giants’ first true aerial test without Landon Collins after the star safety was shut down after Week 12 due to a shoulder injury that requires surgery. New York’s defense hasn’t necessarily faced a vaunted passing game after facing a combination of Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson with the Washington Redskins before taking on Marcus Mariota and the Titans.
Giants, Colts preview: Pro Bowl-bound Barkley
Star rookie running back Saquon Barkley had one of his worst performances as a Giant against the Titans, gaining just 31 rushing yards on 14 attempts. It was a rare occasion in which he was a non-factor as Tennessee clearly made him their top priority.
While it gives teams a blueprint on how to stop the dynamic rusher, Barkley received some good news this week as he became the first Giants rookie since Tuffy Leemans in 1965 to be selected to the Pro Bowl.
Barkley is one thing the Giants can salvage out of yet another disappointing season as it is clear they made the right decision with the second-overall pick in the 2018 draft.