The quarterback issues, the draft in 2024, the salary cap, coaches fighting (or not fighting) and of course injuries because it wouldn't be the Giants if we didn't have a ton of injuries. That said I am hopeful on multiple fronts (call them positive result fronts and even negative results with positive outcomes).
Positive Outcome possibilities:
Well, we are currently 4-8 (should really be 5-7 or even 6-6 if we close out the Bills and Jets games). There is a very interesting parallel to last year.
We started the year off 6-2 before hitting the bye week. Our schedule/record looked like this:
@ Ten 21-20 W
vs Car 19-16 w
vs Dal 16-23 L (Dallas played Cooper Rush at QB)
vs Chi 20-12 W
@ GB (Eng) 27-22 W
vs Balt 24-20 W
@ Sea 13-27 L
We won a number of close games (Ten misses a FG, Carolina turns the ball over multiple times early, Chicago can't get out of its way, GB blows a lead, Baltimore turns the ball over late multiple times) and we were handled by Dallas and Seattle.
This year we played a much better group of teams early- Dallas, SF, Miami, Buffalo and Seattle. We lost close games to the Jets and Bills. Had we won those two games (and in 2022 we probably do) we would probably be 4-4 through 8 games.
2022 through those first 8 games Daniel Jones had six TD passes. SIX TD PASSES but we won 6 of 8 games.
This year (though he missed three of those 8 games) he had TWO TD passes..
2022 and 6 games of 2023 Jones has a total of 17 TD passes.
The schedule for the back 9 this year has far less competition than the front 9 did. Our last 9 games of 2023:
@ LV 6-30 L
@ Dal 17-49 L
@ Was 31-19 W
vs NE 10-7 W
Last year we finished the last 9 games at 3-5-1 and ended the season at 9-7-1.
We have a shot to finish the last 9 games here at say 5-4 or even 6-3.. A 6-3 finish would give this team 8 wins (and honestly we should have beaten the Jets and quite possibly the Bills) and in many ways be basically the same team we were last year.
There are a few things to watch for over these last 5 games. As I mentioned earlier Daniel Jones had 6 TD passes in the first 8 games last year and then 2 TD passes this year (though he did miss a few of those 8 games). Tommy Devito already has 7 TD passes in 5 games played and 3 games started.
If Devito throws even 1 TD per game (on average) over the last 5 games he will have 12 TD passes in 10 games played and 8 games started. He already has 5 more TD passes than DJ had this season and 1 more than DJ had in our first 8 games of 2022 (where the team was 6-2).
If Devito somehow adds 10 TD passes over the last 5 games he will throw as many TD Passes in 10 games (8 starts) what Jones had thrown over his last 22 games.. It doesn't matter what you think about DJ or the Giants etc., that is one stat that truly says exactly what it means, DJ just does not create TD's through the air the way we need a QB to. The argument is over there. We are getting production through the air (not setting the world on fire by any means) at a much better clip with Devito than we did with Jones.
I think it is safe and reasonable now to say that our 6-2 record last year was from a solid game plan, some good bounces and the dual threat of Jones running or Barkley running.. With Devito you can already see a difference in the way the passing game functions. Before anyone starts attacking me, I am not saying Devito is as knowledgeable about the offense or even is better at running the offense than Jones is, right now. However, it is obvious that we get more ATTACK with Devito- better long ball placement, better take your shot at the endzone placement than we did with Jones. At the same time Devito, for all is inexperience and lack of "physical gifts size wise", hasn't turned the ball over much either. He does get sacked a lot but that is more inexperience than anything else.
The Giants may have stumbled on a legit back up QB or they could have a Brock Purdy type on their hands. These last 5 games are huge for him and quite frankly for the Giants as well. Devito's story is nice, cute and a bright spot in an ugly gray season but, it could become a lot more if he continues to develop. *Nobody should be planning the Giants future on Devito right now but, there is nothing stopping him from changing that situation. If Devito goes 3-2 over the last 5 games or 4-1 and throws 10 TD passes with minimal ints, the narrative could easily change. If those numbers are even better, say 12-13 TD passes over 5 games and the Giants win 4 of them then look out now. (which leads me to my next item below).
Giants have 5 games left and most fans are looking to the 2024 offseason to see who we sign, who we fire and where and then who we end up drafting. First things first is we need to finish this season. If the Giants can go 4-1 these last 5 games and finish 8-9, then suddenly a spot in the playoffs isn't out of the question.
Now, I know most fans go we suck, we don't belong there etc.. BUT, making the playoffs two years in a row would be HUGE! We have not had back to back playoff appearances since 07/08. You cannot change the course of a franchise off draft position alone, losers lose.. The way to change a culture of losing is make the playoffs not as a one time fluke but consistently.
There are a lot of ways this team can get in if the chips/cards fall the right way. Right now Seattle is falling apart (and should lose again tomorrow night- which helps us in two ways). Minnesota looked very beatable again and now that the shine is off the Dobbs trophy things are looking a bit bleak. Some of the other teams trying to climb into the playoffs face us over these last 5 games- GB, LAR and NO and we could put a dagger into their playoff hopes. That leaves us with Philly who to me is playing on borrowed time. They have injuries and Hurts, as well as he is playing is bothered by that knee. SF could put a physical beating on those guys this week and quite frankly if you take Hurts out of the equation their whole offense will fall apart. Something to watch there.
Now, negatively focused but with positive results would also be seeing Devito play better and improve but the Gmen still lose 3 or 4 of the last 5 games, cementing a higher draft pick. I prefer the winning path but unlike previous years I will not be upset if they do not win as we started so poorly this is where we are. Now if we do end up losing quite a few to end the year then let's hope the Seahawks continue losing too. That would make our 2nd pick a bit nicer.
FYI- Things outside of our GMEN to watch and root for:
SF to beat up on Philly physically
Seattle to keep losing
Kyler Murray to play better and better for the Cards, taking them out of the QB draft pool.
Justin Fields to play well enough for Chicago to win a few games (especially if we lose a bunch).
Sam Howell to play well for Washington, stealing a win here and there and moving them down the draft board.
New England to somehow win a game or two, as they are definitely in the QB hunt draft wise.
Jets to continue to lose including to Atlanta and Washington.
There is much to watch for and possibly enjoy these last 5 games. Let's go Giants. Good or Bad results on gameday will still have positives for us moving forward. I am just hoping the good results create the positive but either way there are positives to be had.