NFC East: g.j kinne
ESPN.com New York Giants reporter Dan Graziano makes his game-by-game picks for the 2014 season.
Week 1: at Detroit Lions
The Giants are coming off a mess of a preseason, undermanned and overwhelmed, with the offensive line still a mess and the new offense not clicking at all. No one will pick them to win this game. Except me. Prediction: Win
Week 2: Arizona Cardinals
This one's a comedown off the Week 1 surprise, as Arizona's banged-up defense still manages to flummox Eli Manning and collect a few interceptions. It's a bummer of a home opener as reality begins to set in. Prediction: Loss
Week 3: Houston Texans
Houston's defense is as liable as Arizona's to make life miserable for Manning and the offensive line. But Houston has bigger questions on offense than even the Giants, and this is a win for the New York defense against Ryan Fitzpatrick. Prediction: Win
Week 4: at Washington Redskins
Week 5: Atlanta Falcons
The pattern continues, and the Giants overcome two Osi Umenyiora sacks to outscore the Falcons with a furious Manning comeback in the final minutes. The Giants poke their heads over the .500 mark as they make the turn into the most brutal stretch of their schedule. Prediction: Win
Week 6: at Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants don't have Matt Barkley to kick around this time when they visit the City of Brotherly Love. Chip Kelly and the Eagles show them what a truly innovative offense looks like. Prediction: Loss
Week 7: at Dallas Cowboys
The season-long debate about what gives when an anemic Giants offense meets a pathetic Cowboys defense tilts in Dallas' favor in the first meeting. Tony Romo & Co. have more than enough weapons to outscore Manning and his bunch, and the Giants hit the bye with a 3-4 record. Prediction: Loss
Week 9: Indianapolis Colts
After a long break before the Monday night home game, the Giants get taken apart by Andrew Luck, Hakeem Nicks & Co. at MetLife Stadium for a third straight loss. The offense is starting to run more smoothly, but it still doesn't have enough playmakers to outscore one of the league's better offenses. Prediction: Loss
Week 10: at Seattle Seahawks
You're kidding, right? Prediction: Loss
Week 11: San Francisco 49ers
The Giants have obviously handled the Niners in recent years and in some high-profile situations. But by this point in the season, San Francisco's defense is back to full strength, and the 49ers can't afford to lose ground to the Seahawks by failing to beat the team Seattle just beat the week before. Prediction: Loss
Week 12: Dallas Cowboys
A sixth straight loss is by no means out of the question here, as Romo and his crew still have the potential to outscore anyone in a given week. But from this far out, I'll forecast that something goes wrong for Romo late in this game, and the Giants get a gift. Prediction: Win
Week 13: at Jacksonville Jaguars
This is where the schedule starts to soften up, when the Giants start playing teams that insist on not starting their best quarterback. It's unfortunate they're 4-7 at this point and just about out of the playoff hunt, but they will get it going against the bottom-feeders. Prediction: Win
Week 14: at Tennessee Titans
I think the Titans are going to be dreadful this year, and by December they won't be very difficult for anyone to beat, even at home. A third straight victory keeps the Giants' hopes alive. Prediction: Win
Week 15: Washington Redskins
Have to be honest: The NFC East is so unpredictable that, when doing these predictions, I just decided to give the Giants a 3-3 division record with victories in all three home games and losses in all three road games. It's as fair a way as any to do it, I believe. Prediction: Win
Week 16: at St. Louis Rams
After moving back to .500 with four straight wins, the season falls apart at the hands of the St. Louis pass rush. An offensive line that has once again been the Giants' biggest problem all year can't protect Manning in a must-win game. Prediction: Loss
Week 17: Philadelphia Eagles
Tom Coughlin's teams can always find a way to play for pride. The Giants' playoff hopes are extinguished, but they still manage to end the season on a high note and with a .500 record. Prediction: Win
Predicted Record: 8-8
“I want to be out there with my teammates,” Vick said Thursday. “That’s why I’m giving it everything I’ve got. I miss football, I can tell you that.”
Vick said he was “very optimistic” about playing and would feel like a “failure” if a setback kept him from playing Sunday.
The Eagles allow no media access on Fridays for what is considered their lightest practice session of the week. Vick said Thursday he would run hard before practice, pushing the hamstring at full speed for the first time since his Oct. 6 injury.
Vick was a full participant in the ensuing practice. Assuming he followed through, he met his own criteria for starting against the Giants.
Nick Foles, who left last week’s game with a concussion, was formally listed as out for Sunday’s game. Foles did not practice all week as he followed the NFL’s concussion protocol.
With Vick starting, rookie Matt Barkley will be the No. 2 quarterback once again. To dress a third quarterback, the Eagles would have to make a roster move to add G.J. Kinne from the practice squad. In the absence of that, tight end James Casey would serve as emergency quarterback.
The Eagles listed two defensive starters, safety Patrick Chung (shoulder) and defensive end Cedric Thornton (knee), as probable. That status was a bit surprising for Thornton, who coach Chip Kelly named as the team’s best defensive lineman so far this season. The coach made no mention of Thornton’s injury being a concern all week.
Cornerback Bradley Fletcher, who missed some practice time after hyperextending his knee last week, was listed as probable. So was running back Chris Polk, who was inactive last week with a shoulder injury.
At practice two weeks ago, Kelly suddenly faced the prospect of having none. Nick Foles, preparing to start at Tampa Bay in place of the injured Michael Vick, felt a pop in his groin muscle.
“It’s basically, 'Holy crap, what do we do now?' “ Kelly said. “Thank goodness it wasn’t a real serious deal. It didn’t affect him. He went out and played really well in the Tampa Bay game.”
If Vick were to experience that same popping sensation in his hamstring late in the week, Kelly could be looking at an NFC East game with Barkley and Kinne as his only available quarterbacks.
One of the more compelling questions about Kelly’s offensive scheme was whether his quarterbacks could last a full season running it. The current situation, however, says more about the vagaries of the position than about Kelly’s read-option attack.
Foles’ concussion came on a standard pass play. He had time in the pocket, couldn’t find a receiver and started sliding to his left. When the Giants defenders started to pursue, he ran all the way across the field to the right sideline. He took a massive hit from George Selvie because he failed to throw the ball away.
Foles was dinged earlier in the game. On one of his few designed read-option runs, he was kicked in the knee by a defender. He was limping noticeably after that. It wasn’t a serious injury, but it was the only one of the three quarterback injuries that could be traced specifically to Kelly’s system.
Vick wasn’t injured on one of the designed runs Kelly dialed up for him. He was flushed from the pocket and, as he has a thousand times before, he took off. He pulled the hamstring as he smartly avoided contact and raced to the sideline.
That could be seen as a comfort, going forward. Or it could be seen as cause for even more anxiety: Vick is 33 and missing multiple starts even when no one hits him now. After vowing to play all 16 games this season, he appears even more prone to injury.
“It’s a muscle pull,” Kelly said. “That’s all he’s had since I’ve been around him. As we move forward, we try to identify the problem and then try to fix the problem. I don’t know what I can go on. I’m not going to say, 'Mike, I don’t think you should go today because you got hurt three years ago.'"
The injury history was a factor in deciding to bring Vick back in the first place. Kelly decided it didn’t outweigh the potential he saw in Vick’s mobility and arm strength.
So here he is, one pop away from Matt Barkley and two pops away from G.J. Kinne.
Welcome to Eight in the Box, an NFL Nation feature that will appear each Friday during the offseason. This week’s topic: How each NFC East team needs to address the quarterback position.
Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys would like to sign starting quarterback Tony Romo to a long-term contract extension. Romo's deal expires at the end of 2013, and the Cowboys know there won't be any quarterbacks on next offseason's market who are as good as Romo is. They also would benefit from reducing his 2013 salary-cap number (about $16.8 million), and an extension beyond this year would allow them to do that by spreading signing bonus money out over future seasons. Romo will be 33 in April, and the backup quarterback is Kyle Orton, who's not a long-term solution. So there is a chance the Cowboys could try to find a quarterback in the middle rounds of the draft and start grooming him.
New York Giants: The Giants have one of the most stable quarterback situations in the entire league, as Eli Manning has not missed a game since becoming the starter during his 2004 rookie season. The Giants' plan for each season is founded in large part on Manning's durability and reliability. If he were to get hurt, they'd be more or less lost. Their preferred backup, David Carr, is an unrestricted free agent, and right now the only other quarterback on the roster is Curtis Painter (who coincidentally used to back up Manning's brother in Indianapolis). The Giants could stand to improve their backup quarterback situation, but unlike the Cowboys, they don't like to spend to do so.
Philadelphia Eagles: On the other end of the spectrum, once they add Arena Leaguer G.J. Kinne to the mix as they're reported to be doing, the Eagles will have five quarterbacks on their roster. The favorite to start is Michael Vick, though second-year man Nick Foles and career backup Dennis Dixon could factor into a training-camp competition. (Trent Edwards is likely the odd man out.) If Vick is to be the starter, the backup quarterback position becomes very important, as Vick obviously has a history of injuries. So the Eagles must figure out whether Foles or Dixon (or I guess Kinne) is the best option. The Eagles also could draft a quarterback with the No. 4 pick in April if they fall in love with someone like Geno Smith or Matt Barkley. New coach Chip Kelly is keeping his options open, which is a smart way to go in a market that presents him with few outstanding options.
Washington Redskins: All of the focus in Washington is on the recovery of starter Robert Griffin III from reconstructive knee surgery. In spite of his new adidas ad campaign that proclaims him "All in for Week 1," there is no way to project whether Griffin will be ready for the start of the season. If he's not, the starter's role will fall to Kirk Cousins, last year's fourth-round pick, who relieved Griffin three times and started one game for the Redskins in 2012. Look for Mike Shanahan to add a quarterback or two to the bench mix before training camp and the preseason arrive, as the Redskins will need depth while Griffin heals. Veteran Rex Grossman is someone the Redskins like having around and could factor into that depth mix if he doesn't find work somewhere else.