To JPP or not to JPP, that is the Question

Andy Dufresne, in a letter to Red (Shawshank Redemption): "Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

How much hope is there in the NY Giants 2013 season?  At 0-6, there was none.  But along the way, a few things happened that have worked the Giants way in keeping this season alive, if not mathematically. 

First, the NFC East stinks.  Dallas almost found a way to lose to the Vikings, else they would have been 4-5.  They are 5-4 and ahead by 2 in the loss column. Washington just choked a Thursday night game to the same lowly Vikings.  Up 27-14, they gave up the last 20 to lose 34-27.   

Second, the Giants are getting a streak here where they do not play any team with a respectable NFL Quarterback.  First it was Minnesota, who flew in Josh Freeman with a couple of practices and made him the starter.  He was ill-prepared.  Then it was an unhealthy Michael Vick, who was attempting a comeback vs the Giants and wrecked his team's offense before leaving near the end of Q2.  His backup, Matt Barkley, led a flash of excitement until he did not protect the football and turned the ball over in the red zone. 

The Giants get Terrelle Pryor next, a QB who can do more damage with his feet than his arm.  After that, the parting of the Red Sea continues with Aaron Rodgers most likely out with a broken collarbone.  That means Seneca Wallace, another journeyman.  Considering the Giants are 7.5 point favorites tomorrow and will likely be favored again vs the Rodgers-less Pack, this team could easily be 4-6 before taking on the Redskins.  Remarkable.

A third factor would be much more meaningful to NY, not only for any chances here in 2013, but for the franchise period.  Does the JPP of 2011 lore return to dominating form???  Wonder, for his negativity, outlined a few reasons why he believed the season was over.  No sacks (now officially in last place, behind JAX) and an offensive line that he rated #32 (btw, confront the brutal facts, Wonder is subjectively very close, as PFF has them ranked #31), last in the NFL.  Well, at least the OL has stabilized at a level where Eli is not getting assaulted every snap.  Wonder also chimed in about special teams separately, noting "SEA has allowed 15 yds on 11 punt returns, 1.4 yds per return avg.  The jints have allowed 424 yds! Their opponents are averaging 20.2 yds per punt, the worst in the LEAGUE!  Seattle is not THAT good.  The Giant are not THAT bad.  It is coaching.  Yet the coaches are untouchable."  

Back to the pass rush, people are eyeing the bye as the pathway for JPP to get back to form.  Perry Fewell is thinking a breakout game could happen.  OAK has allowed a lot of sacks this year (#2 in the NFL), so perhaps we can see some opportunities for the Giants.  

The question boils down to: to JPP or not to JPP?  Can his back continue to heal and allow him the ability to get after the opposing QB in a meaningful way?  The midseason additions of Will Hill (back from suspension) and Jon Beason (trade) give the defense a modicum of respectability.  Add a healthier JPP who can augment the pass rush, and it changes the tone of the team and the season.  Playing against Pryor (ranked #30 in QBs by PFF) and Wallace does something else besides providing a weaker opponent.  IT GIVES THE GIANTS/JPP TIME TO FIND THEIR GAME.

So what is it going to be? Is it the OL ranked #31 in the league, the punt returns last in the league, the sacks ranked last in the league, or is it the 2-6 team than can be 4-6 in a heartbeat and JPP rescuing a season?  I said previously that until the OL stabilizes and a pass rush appears, the answer to 2013 is 2014.  With the schedule collapsing in front of them, the Giants have an opportunity to collect a bunch of wins vs bad teams before reality sets in.  Hope is not a bad thing.  JPP is the Giants hope.  Play the game.

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