Just when it seemed New York Giants fans could finally relax following the team’s big divisional win last Sunday heading into their bye week, drama and controversy cropped up like an unwanted pimple.
The first piece of stir-making news came on Monday. Former Giants’ cornerback DeAndre Baker‘s armed robbery charges stemming from an incident back in May were dropped. The attorney of Baker’s accusers was arrested for extortion, as he allegedly requested money in return for changing his clients’ testimony. This is obviously a great development, as Baker gets his life back as a free man and is able to continue his football career. For the Giants, though, the news has to be at least a bit irksome, as it means they gave up on their 2019 first-round pick, who they traded up to draft, for no good reason. New York released Baker just prior to the season. The Kansas City Chiefs signed the 2018 Jim Thorpe Award winner to their practice squad on Thursday.
Latest Giants News
The second story arrived Wednesday, when the Giants unexpectedly fired offensive line coach Marc Colombo, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero. The news came as a shock, as position coaches rarely get fired mid-season. The timing is especially curious considering New York’s offensive line had shown marked improvement for three straight weeks. The Giants will replace Colombo with Dave DeGuglielmo, who last year coached the Miami Dolphins offensive line. DeGuglielmo had been an assistant coach for New York from 2004-2008.
But don’t let these off-field events distract from the Giants on-field prospects. By beating the Philadelphia Eagles last week, the G-Men have put themselves in the thick of the NFC East race. New York currently sits second in the division. They’re tied with first-place Philadelphia at three wins apiece, but still have two more losses thanks to the Eagles having played one less game and having tied the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3. The Giants will have to sit back during their bye week and watch how the results of their NFC East competitor’s games affect their playoff chances.
Here are the games Giants fans should watch Sunday with Big Blue on their bye, along with a prediction for each.
Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns
Start Time: 1:00 p.m. EST/10:00 a.m. PST
Ramifications for the Giants: New York needs Philadelphia to lose as much as possible the rest of the way, and this game against Cleveland marks their first of five straight against teams with winning records. If the Eagles lose, Big Blue will only be half a game back of first with the chance to leapfrog Philly in the standings the following week. If the Eagles win, they’d move to a record of 4-5-1, which would effectively put the Giants two games back of first place with six to play.
Prediction: Browns 20 – Eagles 17
Cleveland has a 6-3 record, but they’re not a very good team. They rank 21st in total DVOA according to Football Outsiders, and have a negative-28 point differential on the year. Quarterback Baker Mayfield has regressed considerably from his rookie season, and the loss of receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has sapped their offense’s big-play ability. Their defense is firmly middle-of-the-pack, ranking 15th in yards allowed per game.
The thing is, Philadelphia is even worse. The Eagles rank 29th in total DVOA, and quarterback Carson Wentz‘s regression outpaces even Mayfield’s. Philadelphia’s passing offense looked completely out of sorts against the Giants last week. Don’t expect it to straighten out on what could be a chilly, rainy Sunday in Cleveland. The Browns should control the ball with their strong running game, and walk away with an ugly victory.
Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Football Team
Start Time: 1:00 p.m. EST/10:00 a.m. PST
Ramifications for the Giants: Big Blue may appear to be Philadelphia’s top challenger for the NFC East crown, but Washington and the Dallas Cowboys aren’t far behind. Washington can go to 3-7 with a win, which would tie them with the Giants. New York holds the tiebreaker as they’ve swept Washington this season, but the Football Team can’t be counted out. They still have a top-five defense by total yards allowed, and their offense has shown a lot more life under quarterback Alex Smith the last game and a half. It will also be interesting for Giants fans to get a sneak preview of the Bengals, who the G-Men play next in Week 12.
Prediction: Washington 27 – Bengals 21
Washington might be finding their groove just in time. Smith has thrown for a whopping 715 yards over the last seven quarters. They’ll be able to put up enough points against a bad Bengals defense, and their pass rush will take advantage of Cincy’s shaky offensive line.
Dallas Cowboys at Minnesota Vikings
Start Time: 4:25 p.m. EST/1:25 p.m. PST
Ramifications for the Giants: Just like Washington, the Cowboys are 2-7 and hot on Big Blue’s heels. A win here would bring them even with New York, and for now they’d hold the tiebreaker as they beat the Giants back in Week 5.
They should be getting Andy Dalton back for this game as well. The former Bengal disappointed for a couple games in place of the injured Dak Prescott, but should still represent a major upgrade over the quarterbacks Dallas was forced to start during his own absence. The Cowboys showed plenty of life when they nearly beat the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago. If they can pull off a victory over Minnesota, with Dalton looking pretty good, they can resubmit themselves as real contenders in the NFC East.
Prediction: Vikings 31 – Cowboys 17
Dallas may be catching Minnesota at just the wrong time, with the Vikings having won three straight games. Running back Dalvin Cook has been on a tear over that time, having rushed for a combined total of 465 yards. The Cowboys’ 31st ranked run defense is woefully equipped to slow him down. As long as quarterback Kirk Cousins doesn’t hand Dallas multiple extra possessions with turnovers, Minnesota should take this one handily.