The 2016 season wasn’t supposed to end the way it did for the New York Giants. They weren’t supposed to get clobbered the way they did by the Green Bay Packers 38-13 in the final game of Wild Card Weekend.
All of the Giants’ offensive flaws were on display Sunday at Lambeau Field. Their lack of a running game, lack of protection for the quarterback, the quarterback’s own choppy play, inability to sustain drives, settling for field goals instead of touchdowns, and a general lack of offensive cohesiveness are part of the reason why the Giants’ season ended in Green Bay and not in Houston for Super Bowl LI.
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The 2016 season should be considered a resounding success, the posterior kicking way it ended notwithstanding. After winning six games each of the previous two seasons, the Giants won 11 games. They reached the postseason for the first time in five years. The fact this was accomplished with a rookie head coach and six new starters on the defensive side of the ball makes it even more impressive.
The Giants uncharacteristically spent nearly $200 million to upgrade a defense that gave up the third most yards in NFL history in 2015. In 2016, the Giants defense is one of the best in the league. They allowed 17.8 points a game in the regular season, second only to the New England Patriots. Five of the Giants’ six All-Pros come from the defense (Landon Collins, Damon “Snacks” Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Olivier Vernon).
The Giants were chided for their inability to win close games in 2015. They lost games by seven points or less with regularity. In 2016, the Giants were 8-3 in such contests. As the season went on, the team learned how to win games. After a 2-3 start, the Giants won nine of their final 11 games.
The 2016 season wasn’t supposed to end the way it did for the New York Giants. Everyone with an opinion will dissect actions that took place before, during, and after the Wild Card Game. Naturally, the focus will shift to preparing for 2017 with a slew of offseason issues that need to be addressed.
There will be plenty of time for blaming and prognosticating. The 2016 Giants were better than expected, even to the expectations of their fans. Their season, as a whole, should be celebrated.