The Giants’ season may be unofficially over, but there are still games to be played. Up next on the docket is the Jacksonville Jaguars. And while they are amongst the dregs of the league, record-wise, they will not be a pushover for Big Blue.
Metro takes a look at this upcoming matchup and breaks down key storylines to watch, as the Giants (3-8) are now only playing for pride.
Get Odell Beckham Jr. to keep it going
The most important player on the Giants’ offense is also a neophyte; rookie Odell Beckham Jr.
Like Jacksonville’s Denard Robinson, the rookie is new to the rigors of being the focal point of the offense and Beckham has handled the role supremely.
Beckham is wise beyond his years and he has quickly tried to distance himself from the catch-of-the-year talk, following the Cowboys game, because his team lost.
While everyone was throwing verbal bouquets at the wideout — and rightfully so — Beckham was already moving on to this week’s matchup, explaining maturely that there’s more to accomplish than merely being the owner of the league’s best catch.
Beckham will have plenty of opportunities to go off against a Jaguars secondary that is ranked 16th in the league.
Keep control of Denard Robinson
The Giants own one of the worst run defenses in the NFL — always hovering around the bottom-five units of the league.
They’re currently ranked 26th — just two weeks removed from being the worst overall run defense in the league.
The Jaguars are ranked dead-last in the league in total offense, including a 22nd ranking in rushing offense, but they have an underrated running game that is spearheaded by former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. The convert leads the team in rushing (422 yards), despite not opening the season as the starting running back and has been riding a hot streak over the last month. He’s also adapted very well to the rigors of being an NFL running back, as he hasn’t fumbled all season, while registering four rushing touchdowns.
Unleash pass rush on BlakeBortles
If the Giants manage to slow down Robinson, they’ll be able to make the Jags offense one dimensional. Meaning rookie quarterback Blake Bortles will need to beat the Giants with the passing game.
The former University of Central Florida star has shown flashes since being named starter a quarter of the way into the season, but he’s mostly shown rookie tendencies — hence his league-worst passer rating.
Bortles has the size, arm strength, agility and moxie to be an elite signal-caller one day, but still lacks the pocket awareness and football acumen to be a top-flight passer this year. Bortles has thrown for eight touchdowns and a league-high 15 interceptions, so there’s plenty of success to be had by Big Blue should they make Jacksonville a one-dimension offense.