In the early parts of 2021, the New York Giants have been a letdown under second-year head coach Joe Judge. They still haven’t won a game, despite coming close on Thursday Night Football. Unfortunately for the G-Men (and their supporters), near the conclusion of regulation, the Washington Football Team marched down the field and scored a game-winning field goal.
Although Saquon Barkley is yet to break out after his comeback from injury, Daniel Jones has been a nice surprise. The Giants’ schedule also doesn’t help them, as they play the surprise New Orleans Saints (2-1) on Sunday in their quest for their first victory of the season.
Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, the Giants’ starting wide receivers, will be unavailable. The injury to the two wideouts, on the other hand, may provide an opportunity for Kenny Golladay, who has been relatively quiet since signing a massive four-year, $72 million contract in the offseason.
The Giants’ injury list is extensive, but this is a great opportunity for Kenny Golladay.
On September 26, the New York Giants’ Kenny Golladay gets tackled during the first half of their game against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium. | Getty Images/Sarah Stier
The Giants are dealing with a slew of ailments, the most recent of which is a pair of wideouts. Shepard has been a pleasant early surprise, catching 18 passes for 223 yards and a touchdown. Slayton has seven receptions for 127 yards and a score on seven targets. Jones’ only touchdown throws this season have come from those two players, which is ironic.
Golladay has been a huge letdown, and he was even recorded on the sidelines screaming with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. In a Giants jersey, the former Detroit Lions wide receiver has just 11 receptions for 166 yards and has yet to reach the endzone.
This may be due to a variety of factors, including the fact that Golladay has been dealing with a hip ailment for the most of the season. In any case, this isn’t what New York had in mind when they signed him to a huge contract in the summer.
Golladay has long been the offense’s No. 1 wide receiver, but his first three games have been everything but promising. Perhaps the absence of Slayton and Shepard is precisely what Golladay needs to get back on track.
Golladay has a difficult opponent.
With Shepard and Slayton out, Marcus Lattimore, the Saints’ cornerback, will likely be entrusted with protecting Golladay even more. On the surface, this seems to be a difficult matchup for the Giants and their top wide out.
Jones must, however, toss the ball to someone, and the other choices are extremely lacking. Collin Johnson, like tight end Evan Engram, is expected to see more action. After being chosen in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, rookie Kadarius Toney had just four receptions for 14 yards.
Barkley is all set to go, and Judge’s squad is still waiting for him to make his move. With all of this, even with Golladay’s difficult matchup, his target share and workload should be enormous. New York will have no option but to pass the ball and rely heavily on Golladay if the Saints establish an early lead.
The Giants were impressed with Golladay’s performance in Detroit. He only appeared in five games in 2020 due to injury, although he had previously recorded back-to-back winning seasons.
Although it seems doubtful that the Giants will win, getting Golladay back on track is critical, particularly with supporters becoming irritated after the Giants gave him a large sum of money during the free agency period.
New York will benefit from the Saints’ instability.
The Giants are 0-3 and have the following schedule ahead of them:
Week 4 is against the Saints (2-1) Week 5 vs. the Cowboys (1-1) against. Rams in Week 6 (3-0) Panthers in Week 7 (3-0) Week 8 is against the Chiefs (they’re the Chiefs). Week 9 is against the Raiders (3-0) Buccaneers, Week 11 (2-1) pic.twitter.com/Qvt37lCmpW
— September 27, 2021, NFL on CBS (@NFLonCBS)
This season has been a mixed bag for the Saints. They stormed out of the gate in Week 1 and stunned the world by defeating the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers 38-3. Then the Saints blew it against Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, scoring just one touchdown in a 26-7 defeat.
Following that, the Saints defense frustrated rookie Mac Jones and defeated the New England Patriots 28-13, so who knows which version of the Saints will show up on Sunday? The Giants are hoping to take advantage of the Saints’ bye week and finally put a victory on the board.
Injuries are never ideal, but for the Giants’ sake, the absences of Slayton and Shepard may be just what the doctor ordered for Golladay to get back on track and become the star he was with the Lions.
Of course, the Giants’ schedule isn’t looking ideal, so they really need a victory before things in New York fall apart.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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