With the Giants on their bye week, this serves as a later-than-usual — it’s Week 13! — appraisal of their season.
The Giants (4-8) are generally scuffling, but they have won their last two games against the Commanders and Patriots. They currently sit in third place in the NFC East.
General manager Joe Schoen was correct when he said at his bye week news conference on Monday that the Giants “aren’t out of it.”
Not yet, anyway.
The New York Times' playoff simulator has the Giants' playoff chances at less than 1%.
An optimist would say, there’s nowhere to go but up.
Let’s take a look at five storylines that will shape the rest of this season and perhaps beyond.
The Tommy DeVito Effect
The short answer is, it’s fun.
Tommy DeVito, New Jersey’s own, has sparked the Giants since taking over at quarterback, winning two of his three starts and bringing enthusiasm to the team and fan base with his signature Italian-inspired celebration.
“I love Tommy,” Saquon Barkley said.
But will DeVito continue to start?
“That's something we'll talk about,” coach Brian Daboll said before the bye week. “We'll talk about it all.”
DeVito, 25, is an undrafted rookie who seems comfortable and confident in his role. A case can be made for him to continue to start even if Tyrod Taylor (ribs) comes off injured reserve.
As Schoen said of DeVito: “He’s done a good job. He's got some swagger and some presence about him that the players like, and they follow him.”
DeVito hasn’t thrown an interception in the past two games. Against Washington and New England, his combined completion percentage was a shade under 70%.
That’s winning football, even if the Giants did score only 10 points against the Patriots.
Hey, there’s Isaiah Hodgins!
DeVito threw a touchdown pass to Hodgins in last Sunday's win over the Patriots. Hodgins, claimed off waivers from the Bills in November 2022, played a key role as the Giants made the postseason last season. He caught a touchdown pass in the Giants' playoff win at Minnesota.
This year, however, Hodgins has mostly been overlooked. He has only 25 targets all season, with 15 catches for 154 yards and that one TD.
DeVito also helped speedy rookie Jalin Hyatt unlock more of his considerable potential. Hyatt recorded five catches for 109 yards against the Patriots. He became the first Giants receiver this season with at least 100 receiving yards in a game, a shocking stat considering it took 12 weeks.
Tyrod Taylor not back up in '24?
Schoen suggested that Taylor will not be back next season, saying only: “Tyrod’s contract is up.”
With the timeline for Daniel Jones’ recovery from ACL surgery unknown, the Giants will have to address the quarterback position. They could do that in free agency, the draft or both.
What shouldn't be unclear, at least from our perspective, is keeping DeVito as the starter this season. It's a no-brainer.
Evan Neal Watch
This was interesting: Schoen volunteered to reporters that he went back and watched Alabama tape of Giants tackle Evan Neal.
This year, Neal’s season can be characterized as injury-riddled and with overall poor performance. Schoen drafted Neal with the seventh overall pick in 2022.
That Neal’s play has been so poor has to be alarming. Pro Football Focus has him ranked 82nd out of 84 tackles in the league.
Schoen said Neal “needs to play better. He knows that.”
Why are injuries always an issue?
According to Spotrac, the Giants have put a total of 16 players on injured reserve this season, tying them at fifth-most in the league with the Jets and the Patriots. The Texans (22) have the most; the Buccaneers (four) have the fewest.
“If you told me [tight end Darren] Waller, [tackle] Andrew Thomas, Saquon and Daniel would play less than 40 plays together, I wouldn’t have been real excited about that," Schoen said. "And that’s the reality of how it played out.”
The particulars of the Thomas injury remain particularly odd.
Schoen said he was injured in the “first series of the season.”
Then why — why? — did Thomas play into the fourth quarter of that 40-0 blowout loss to the Cowboys?