Monday, October 21, 2013
Rapid Reaction: New York Giants
By Dan Graziano
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts from the New York Giants' 23-7 "Monday Night Football" victory over the Minnesota Vikings:
What it means: That the Giants aren't going to go 0-16. I know, I know. That sounds simplistic, but it's true. The result of Monday night's game doesn't mean that all of their problems are solved or that they can still make the playoffs. They aren't, and they can't. This just means that, no matter how bad things have been or how bad they'll be again for the rest of this season, the Giants are not going to go through the whole year without winning a game. You may have believed that prior to Monday, but you'd seen nothing to prove it, and now you can be certain. It's something. It matters.
Stock Watch: Defense, UP. Jon Beason is a difference-making presence at middle linebacker, and his high-energy performance since ascending to the starting role is a huge part of the reason the Giants aren't winless anymore. He has sideline-to-sideline speed. He has a nose for the ball, even when league MVP Adrian Peterson is carrying it and needs to be brought down. He got the helmet with the speaker in it so he could make the calls, and the defense looked as good as it's looked all year. The Giants even got a quarterback sack -- something they'd done only eight times in their previous 11 games coming in. Problems and issues remain, but the Giants' defense looked inspired against an overmatched opponent Monday, and that can help build confidence.
Run for the Hillis: Michael Cox was listed as the "starting" running back, but Peyton Hillis was in on the first snap and for some reason receiver Jerrel Jernigan was in on a good number of third-down plays. Hillis looked irretrievably slow in the first half, but he got his legs under him in the second, especially as a receiver, and helped the Giants move the ball. They like to run ugly, and he may be the perfect stopgap solution while their better running back options heal.
Clean Eli: This was the first game this year in which Giants quarterback Eli Manning did not throw an interception.
What's next: The Giants will play the Eagles in a 1 p.m. ET game Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The Eagles beat the Giants 36-21 at MetLife Stadium in Week 5. The Giants' bye week follows Sunday's game.