The New York Giants have been a disappointment under second-year head coach Joe Judge in the early stages of 2021. They have yet to win a game, although they came extremely close on Thursday Night Football. Unfortunately for the G-Men (and their fans), the Washington Football Team marched down the field and kicked a game-winning field goal at the end of regulation.
Daniel Jones has been a rather pleasant surprise, although Saquon Barkley has yet to break out following his return from injury. The Giants schedule doesn’t help them either as they face the surprising New Orleans Saints (2-1) on Sunday as they strive for their first win of the ’21 campaign.
The Giants will have to do so without a pair of starting wide receivers, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard. On the other hand, the injuries to the pair of wideouts could open the door for Kenny Golladay, who has been relatively quiet after signing a huge four-year, $72 million deal in the offseason.
Giants injury report is lengthy but a perfect chance for Kenny Golladay
The Giants have a ton of injuries across the board, with the latest being to the pair of wideouts. Shepard has been a nice surprise early on, catching 18 balls for 223 yards and a score. Slayton has chipped in just seven catches but has 127 yards and a touchdown. Ironically enough, those two have accounted for the only touchdown passes from Jones so far this season.
Golladay has been a massive disappointment and was even caught yelling at offensive coordinator Jason Garrett on the sidelines. The former Detroit Lions wide receiver has just 11 catches for 166 yards and has yet to cross the endzone in a Giants uniform.
This could be contributed to many different things, and Golladay has nursed a hip injury during the early portion of the season. Either way, this is not what New York envisioned when they signed him to the big deal during the offseason.
Golladay has always been slated as the WR1 on the offense, but the first three games have not been encouraging for him at all. Perhaps Slayton and Shepard being out is exactly what Golladay needs to get back on track.
Tough matchup for Golladay
The Saints defense features cornerback Marcus Lattimore, who will likely be tasked with guarding Golladay even more with Shepard and Slayton being out. On the surface, this is a brutal matchup for the Giants and their top wide receiving option.
Still, Jones has to throw the ball to somebody, and the other options are severely underwhelming. Collin Johnson figures to get more touches, as does tight end Evan Engram. Then there is rookie Kadarius Toney, who has just four catches for 14 yards after being selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Barkley is ready to go and Judge’s team is still waiting for his breakout. With all this, even with the tough matchup for Golladay, his target share and workload should be a massive one. If the Saints come out and take the lead, then New York will have no choice but to throw the football and lean heavily on Golladay.
The Giants liked what they saw from Golladay in Detroit. He played in just five games in 2020 as he dealt with a number of injuries, but prior to that had posted back-to-back
It seems unlikely that the Giants get the victory, but getting Golladay on track is most important, especially with fans growing thin after they paid him a giant chunk of cash during the free agency period.
The Saints’ uncertainty bodes well for New York
The Saints season has been a mixed bag. They marched out in Week 1 and shocked the world by stunning the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers with a 38-3 victory. Then New Orleans flopped against Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers, scoring just one touchdown in a 26-7 loss.
The New Orleans defense followed that up by frustrating rookie Mac Jones and beating the New England patriots 28-13, so who knows which version of the Saints show up on Sunday. The hope for the Giants is that they can get the Saints on an off week and finally get a tally in the win column.
Injuries are never a good thing, but for the Giants’ sake, the absences of Slayton and Shepard could be just what the doctor ordered for Golladay to get going and return to the star he was with the Lions.
Of course, the Giants’ schedule doesn’t look good, so they drastically need a win before things go down the drain in New York.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference