The Giants have won two games this season. That’s not a lot. But it’s more than some of the key players on the team can lay claim to winning.
Wide receiver Golden Tate has yet to win a game with his new team. He missed the first four with a suspension. Running back Saquon Barkley hasn’t walked off the field with a win this season, either, though he did hobble through the tunnel in Tampa on crutches after the win in which he sprained his ankle.
“It’s something that I wasn’t expecting to experience,” Tate said of not tasting a Giants victory by November. “Here we are. We are what we are.”
Certainly they’d rather not be. Sunday presents another opportunity for them to end what has become a five-game losing streak that has sunk them from a promising 2-2 squad with a hot rookie quarterback to this game against the Jets that will determine the lesser of two resident evils at MetLife Stadium.
This is a matchup that usually is for bragging rights, but this season there’s hardly anything for the Giants or the Jets to boast about. Neither team can hold anything over the other.
Still, the Giants would rather come out of it with the W for their own peace of mind rather than settling any grudges or fan arguments.
“We’re preparing like hell to beat the Jets,” safety Jabrill Peppers said. “That’s really it. We don’t really try to talk too much until we start putting good stuff on film.”
“We gotta get this win on Sunday,” fellow safety Antoine Bethea added. “It sounds cliché saying it’s the next game, but these next three games we feel like were winnable for us. We need to get this bad taste out of our mouth.”
Compounding the urgency is next week’s Giants opponent: No one. The Giants have their bye, which means that the impact of this result will linger longer than any other this season.
“I want to come in on a Monday going into the bye feeling good, man,” Tate said. “Just feeling like, ‘All right, here we go, let’s go hit the reset button.’ Relax a little bit, enjoy ourselves and come back ready to work versus we just got our butts kicked and you have to think about that the entire bye.”
The Giants have tried to sharpen their focus this week. The music that used to play during drills and stretching periods in practices has been muted.
“It just wasn’t working right,” Pat Shurmur said of the tunes. “We just decided not to do it.”
The hijinks and frivolity that often made the locker room feel like one of a playoff-bound team rather than a moribund one like the Giants have been squelched, too. The Giants are a serious bunch.
On Sunday, we’ll see if it even matters.
“We want to get this thing back on track,” Tate said. “Like I said a lot in the last few weeks, I feel like we do have a good team. We have great personnel … I don’t feel like we’ve tanked, despite our record. I think we’re still hungry to win and I think we still feel like we have a shot to do something special.”
If someone who hasn’t even won a game this season can think that, imagine the optimism that must be bubbling in those who have won one or two!
With two starting linemen likely out for Sunday’s game, the Giants promoted Evan Brown from the practice squad to the active roster on Saturday to serve as a backup. Spencer Pulley will start at center in place of Jon Halapio, who was already ruled out with a hamstring injury. To make room for Brown, the Giants waived DT Olsen Pierre.