With the loss by the Giants to the Vikings the Giants have dropped in the playoff hunt from the third team on the out looking in to the sixth team out of ten on the outside in the NFC. The good news is that the Dallas loss has the Giants still only one game out of first place in the NFC East.
The Giants are on a short week as they travel to Foxboro to play the Patriots on Thursday night. With the Patriots victory over the Redskins in week five, they are the only team to have a +20 or better quarterback rating differential in each of their games. Their differentials are 59, 100, 56, 22 and 45. Only the Buffalo game was close where Brady had only a 45 quarterback rating. However the team still managed a +21.9 QBR differential.
The Giant’s receiver Sterling Shepard is in concussion protocol. His second time this season and is almost certainly out for the game. Shepard is the Giants second highest receiver in yards, trailing only Evan Engram. It is uncertain if Saquon Barkley will play as he recovers from a high ankle sprain. Evan Engram is on the injury report with a knee injury. Running back Wayne Gallman is on the injury list with a concussion he suffered week five playing the Vikings.
The next man up.
Giant receiver Golden Tate was top ten among wide receivers for five consecutive years in Yards After the Catch from 2013 thru 2017. He led all wide receivers in 2017 in yards after the catch with 546 yards. His average was 5.93 YAC per reception. He was second in 2016 with 588 YAC and he had a 6.46 YAC per reception. In 2015 he was fourth with 525 YAC and he had an average 5.83 YAC per reception. In 2014 he was first with 691 YAC and he had an average 6.98 YAC per reception. He was eighth in 2013. His catch percentage over those years was 69.6%. That was the second best catch percentage over that time-frame among receivers with 400+ receptions.
Darius Slayton was sixth among wide receivers at the 2019 NFL combine in the forty yard dash with a 4.39. He was third in the vertical jump with a 40.5 and also third in the broad jump with an 11’3:”. His 7.0 in the three-cone was ninth among wide receivers. Slayton met or exceeded wide receiver combine target numbers in seven of his eight drills missing only the bench press by one rep. In college in 2017 Slayton was fifth in the nation in yards per reception with 22.2 yards. He was 17th in yards per reception in 2018 with 19.1. In 2018 he was tie for eighth in the nation in 50+ yards receiving plays with four. In his final game at Auburn Slayton had three receptions for a total 160 yards and three touchdowns. In 2018 49% of his receptions were for 15+ yards. So far in his rookie season on the Giants Slayton has nine receptions for a 17.4 yards per reception average and a 13.1 yards per target average. His catch percentage is 75% and he has one receiving touchdown. Among rookies his 75% catch percentage is tie for second best for players with a minimum 100 yards receiving.
In his last year in college in 2013 Cody Latimer had 1,096 receiving yards. That was a 30% team market share of receiving yards which historically shows a strong correlation to NFL Pro-Bowl achievement. His receiving yards was 32nd in the nation. His 15.2 yards per reception that year made the top 100 in the nation. He had nine receiving touchdowns which was 30th. His 91.3 yards per game was 22nd in the nation. Latimer had 48 receiving plays of 10+ yards which was 15th in the nation. At his combine/Pro Day Latimer hit all wide receiver target numbers for the five events he participated. His 4.44 forty time would have been tie for tenth among wide receivers at the combine. His 23 bench press reps was first among wide receivers. Latimer’s 39″ vertical jump would have been sixth at the combine among wide receivers. In his last year at Denver in 2017 Latimer was one of only eight wide receivers that had a 60% catch percentage, 15+ receptions, 2+ receiving touchdowns and 15+ yards per reception.
Running back Jon Hilliman is one of 80 college players last season that had six rushing touchdowns, a 4.0+ rushing average, 60+ rush attempts and 85+ receiving yards. At his Pro Day he met running back target numbers for six of his eight events. His numbers would have been top fourteen among all running backs at the combine in all events. He would be sixth in the forty yard dash, fifth in the 20 yard shuttle and eighth in the 3-cone. Among 17 rookie running backs that have played Hilliman ranks 13th in yards per attempt with a 2.79 yard average on 19 attempts. Hilliman here goes 73 yards for the touchdown in a 2016 Boston College vs Georgia Tech game.
In his 2015 senior year in college running back Elijhaa Penny had 1,398 yards from scrimmage. That was good for a 27% team market share of yards from scrimmage. According to draftcobern.com, 98% of long-term starting NFL players reached this level of market share production since 1969. That senior year Penny had six of his twelve games with 98+ rushing yards. Over the span of his three year career (2017-2019) Elijhaa Penny is one of only 25 backs that have 150+ rushing yards, 2+ rushing touchdowns, a 3.8+ yard rushing average and an 80% or better catch percentage. Just for laughs both Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley failed to make that list due to a catch % in the seventies. Here they are sorted by rushing yards per game.
Rhett Ellison‘s receptions per game have doubled since coming to the Giants from the Vikings in 2017. His catch percentage is up 10% and he is second on the Giants in broken tackles on receptions. His 3.5 receptions per broken tackle leads the team. At his 2012 Pro Day Ellison met tight end drill target numbers for five of his seven events. Over his time on the Giants (2017-2019) Ellison is one of only eight tight ends that have had a 70% or better catch percentage, 3+ receiving touchdowns, a 7+ yards per target and 50+ receptions. As of this writing Evan Engram was listed as limited participation in practice on Tuesday.
The Giants are 16.5 underdogs against the Patriots for Thursday night. As reported by ESPN last year the Patriots had the second biggest point spread of recent years back in 2011 when they played a winless Colts team led by fifth round quarterback Dan Orlovsky subbing for an injured Peyton Manning. The point spread was 20.5. The Colts came back from a 31-3 deficit in the 3rd quarter to pull within one touchdown in a 31-24 loss. I am not expecting a Giant victory but the game does present the Giants the opportunity to shock the football world with a stunning upset. The Giants players and coaches are playing to win. It is the big stage on Thursday night and the next man up players are probably psyched for the opportunity. As ex-Jets coach Herm Edwards emphasized in an old press conference shown below – “You Play to Win the Game!”. As a Giant fan I will be rooting for a Giant upset. They do have some history of that playing the Patriots!