Sports

The nightmare scenario Giants must do everything to avoid

It is a fundamental line of the team’s secular scripture, the “John 3:16” or “Luke 6:31” of all things written and believed about the very nature of the New York Football Giants: A season does not end at 0-2. It matters not how awful you look at 0-2, either. There is lots of football beyond 0-2. The proof is in the good book.

In this case, that would be the record book. In this case, as ever, it is about the 2007 season, which began about as dreadfully as a season can begin: a 45-35 schooling by the Cowboys in Dallas in Week 1, followed by a grisly 35-13 slaughter administered by the Packers in the home opener in Week 2.

And ended with a parade.

That, forever — or at least for 14 years — has been the Golden Rule, one of the basic pillars of Giants patience. Another is the fact that in three of the four years when the Giants won the Super Bowl, they began the season 0-1. It is a safeguard against panic, against the Overlords of Overreaction. See? We have evidence that a season isn’t over at 0-1.

Or even at 0-2.

We have proof. It is a quartet of beautiful silver footballs, named after a former Giants offensive coordinator. So keep your panicky ways in a closet, Mister, as that fabled OC might’ve put it.

It is a smart, prudent, mature approach to modern sports, especially the modern NFL. It is the right way to think, the proper way to believe. No one will argue that.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) looks on in the fourth quarter.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) looks on in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Broncos.
Bill Kostroun

OK.

That said …

That said, the Giants really need to avoid going 0-2 this year. Sunday’s season-opening buzzkill loss to the Broncos was bad enough. But you can live with losing a non-conference game to a team with a quarterback trying to shove all the lost seasons of his career into however many good Sundays his knee will allow. Losing to the Broncos is denting but it is not damaging, and doesn’t have to be damning.

But backing that up with a loss Thursday night against Washington (a division foe), which will be starting its backup quarterback (Taylor Heinicke, a 28-year-old fourth-year journeyman out of noted football factory Old Dominion) and itself coming off a dispiriting 20-16 loss at home to the L.A. Chargers …

Well, look. The season wouldn’t be over. The NFC East may well be a place, again, where a team can start a year 1-7 (as the 2020 Giants did) and find itself screaming that it was robbed of a division title at 6-10 (as the 2020 Giants did, watching the Eagles lay down to the WFT in Week 17 last year). The Eagles looked good in Week 1. The Cowboys looked better. But it is a fickle sport and a fussy league. These things can change. Quick.

Still, it’s best not to rely on another edition of the NFC Least.

So the Giants need to find their legs sometime between now and 8:20 Thursday night at FedEx Field. The Giants swept the WFT last year, and both times they played they looked like the better team. Daniel Jones was terrific both times: 35-for-53, 437 yards, two touchdowns, one pick and zero fumbles lost (and rushed for 74 yards in the first game).

Knowing how much better they looked than the eventual division champs was one of the discomfiting things about 2020 when you looked at it from 30,000 feet. But it also ought to bring the Giants a modicum of comfort. And a straight reality that 1-1 really does look, and feel, in so many ways, so much better than 0-2.

“We’re looking at it as an opportunity,” defensive end Leonard Williams said. “Good teams look at the short turnaround as an opportunity to get the bad taste out of our mouths.”

There is no better mouthwash than winning, especially when you’d rather not have another helping of humble pie — and especially with 0-2 looming. No matter how early in the season it really is.

nypost.com

New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

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