The New York Giants season is once again over before Halloween, a 1-5 dumpster fire of a franchise hobbling into a primetime, Monday Night Football appearance to close out Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Giants have had 11 days of rest after a 34-13 beatdown at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles two Thursdays ago as the offense came hurtling back down to earth after a surprising 31-point effort in a loss to the Carolina Panthers in Week 5.
As the script goes for dysfunctional teams, there are just as many storylines off the field as there are on, mostly centering around wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and ownership.
Monday night will see the Giants visit an irked Falcons that has lost two-straight close games as the narrative surrounding the franchise’s ability to pull out wins continues to plummet. At 2-4, they’re still within striking distance of the NFC South lead, and they could very well use the Giants as a punching bag to right the ship.
Here are a few things to watch on Monday night:
The fiery Giants wide receiver once again made headlines for his antics during that dreadful loss to the Eagles on Thursday night, prompting team owner John Mara to comment on his desire to see Beckham create headlines for his play on the field rather than his actions off it.
The problem is it looks like Beckham is the lone Giant that will not accept losing by simply rolling over and playing dead, because that’s what has been the theme for much of the past two years.
It’s difficult to blame Beckham when things do boil over. As a wide receiver, you have to rely on the quarterback to find ways to get you the ball. Eli Manning and his offensive line are not making that happen.
Look for head coach Pat Shurmur and the Giants offense to find ways to utilize Beckham in different ways like in Week 5 against the Panthers when he hit Saquon Barkley for a 57-yard touchdown pass.
Eli’s Eventual Benching
With the halfway point of the 2018 season drawing near, it’s become painfully, and almost depressingly, clear that Manning’s time with the Giants is up.
The situation around him, mostly looking at the offensive line’s inability to buy him time in the pocket, is not conducive to a 37-year-old quarterback that has no mobility and basically looks mentally shot.
Manning’s internal clock seems out of whack as he now expects to be hit within two seconds of the snap, which has him missing open receivers when the rare opportunity arises.
Against a Falcons aerial attack that ranks third-worst in the NFL, if Manning can’t get things going for the sputtering passing game, it’s only a matter of time before the Giants turn to Kyle Lauletta.
There’s nothing else to lose at this point.
Saquon is Stupendous
If there is one thing the Giants can take solace in this year is that they made the right draft pick in running back Saquon Barkley. That’s right, even with quarterbacks on the board.
Barkley continued to prove that he is a superstar in the making after a ridiculous outing against the Eagles, posting 229 yards from scrimmage, including 130 rushing yards on just 13 carries.
He’s proving to be the ultimate security blanket for Manning, who will seemingly check down to the running back at least 10 times per game as any sort of downfield options disintegrate.
It’s gotten to the point where opposing defenses know that Barkley will get the ball 20-to-30 times per game and they still can’t stop him thanks to an uncanny ability to make defenders miss and the agility to make quick cuts toward the open field.
Giants vs. Falcons Week 7 MNF viewer information
Date: Monday, Oct. 22
Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN+
Live Stream: Reddit