It has never been easier to score points in the NFL.
With one week remaining in the regular season, a league record will be set for most average points per game. That number is 49.4 at the moment — more than a touchdown and two-point conversion ahead of the 41.1 mark in 2000, for example.
But if you are a fan of the Jets or Giants, those numbers are cruel reminders of how dreadful your teams have been with arguably the most important statistic in football. The two teams are last (Jets) and next-to-last (Giants) when it comes to scoring points. The Jets have scored just 229 and the Giants are only marginally better at 257.
Consider: Eleven teams have scored more than 400 points this season, led by the Packers (474) and Kansas City (452).
There is a price to be paid for the inability to cross the goal line in 2020. It will cost Adam Gase his job as head coach of the Jets. It could cost Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett a shot at a head-coaching job, or even a chance to return in the same capacity next season if he can’t land a top job.
Yes, the Giants somehow still are alive for the NFC East title in what has to be considered the worst year in the history of a once-proud division — one that often produced the Super Bowl winner. And Garrett has one more shot at redemption in Sunday’s potential make-or-break game against a Cowboys team he presided over as head coach from 2010-19.
If the Giants beat the Cowboys and Washington loses to Philadelphia, the Giants will have at least one more week of football in the wild-card round of the playoffs. But if the offense continues to produce the kind of anemic results that have been all too common this year, Garrett might not be asked back next season. Joe Judge would be entirely within his rights to make that change.
After all, with few exceptions, this offense has been a major disappointment. Judge and Garrett can rationalize all they want that Daniel Jones still is a good, young quarterback with room to grow and the potential to be a big-time player for years to come. But the bottom-line results this year have not been acceptable.
True, Jones has been limited by hamstring and ankle injuries that have forced him to become more of a pocket passer and have prevented him from using the extra dimension that his usually strong running ability offers. But Jones has only nine touchdown passes after throwing 24 as a rookie in Pat Shurmur’s offense.
It may be that Garrett is working with a quarterback who is simply not good enough, even in a league in which the passing game has never been easier. Keep in mind, too, that the Giants’ young offensive line still is developing, that they’re without Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley and that there isn’t a home run hitter at wide receiver.
These are legitimate factors that certainly weigh into any assessment of Garrett. But it’s also fair to question whether his system is getting in the way of Jones’ progress and whether Judge needs to consider a different play-caller who is more aligned with today’s offensive concepts.
For now, Garrett said he isn’t concerned with his job security with the Giants or his prospects elsewhere as a head coach.
"I’m just excited about the opportunity we have this week," he said Thursday. "Really, I’ve just tried to stay in the moment in any position I’ve had as a player or coach in the NFL. That’s typically when you play your best and coach your best."
He’ll have to be at his best to give the Giants a chance on Sunday. The Cowboys may have found themselves after the season-ending leg injury suffered by quarterback Dak Prescott in the first meeting between the teams on Oct. 11 hurt their performance.
Dallas has won three straight, scoring a combined 108 points in wins over the Bengals, 49ers and Eagles. A Dallas win over the Giants combined with a Washington loss to Philly, and it’s the Cowboys who win the division at 7-9.
"We want to play better offensively, there’s no question about that," Garrett said. "I do think we made strides in different areas over the course of the season. I think the biggest area that we tried to emphasize with your players is playing winning football."
But three straight losses after a stunning upset of the Seahawks in Seattle — with the offense totaling only 26 points — have put the Giants in a must-win situation on Sunday.
And maybe a must-win situation for Garrett, if his fate isn’t already sealed.