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New York Giants: Week 11 Storylines to Watch

The mid-season break is over and it's time for the Giants to refocus on the goal of playing some winning football the rest of the season.

What a way to start off the second half of the season.

The New York Giants, who are coming off their Week 10 bye, will visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the second of two Monday Night Football road games this season.

Historically, Monday Night Football and the Giants just haven't been a good match. New York is 25-44-1 after losing a Week 8 game (barely) to the Kansas City Chiefs. They also fell to 16-31-1 in MNF road games.

Not good.

But here's the thing. If the Giants aspire to reach the playoffs--despite their insistence they're focused on the current week only--they need to start stacking wins on top of one another.

The Giants, of course, won their Week 9 game against the Las Vegas Raiders. But they have yet to string together consecutive wins under Judge since last year when they ripped off four in a row (sandwiched around their bye week).

Can the Giants get over the "one step forward, two steps back" nature of their 2021 season so far? Forget about the playoffs if you want--team president John Mara, when he spoke to reporters before training camp, made it clear that there is no playoff mandate attached to this team.

But more than six wins has to be in the team's future not just to appease ownership but also to show growth in Year 2 of the Joe Judge tenure.

Here are some other storylines ahead of the Giants Week 11 game at Tampa Bay.

Can They Hit the Ground Running Post Bye?

Sixteen teams have played a game after a bye this season, and the league-wide record isn't very good in those games.

Of the 16 teams, seven won their first game back from the bye, and nine did not. The reasons for that vary according to the team, but the one thing most of the teams coming out of the bye that have lost their games have in common is that they were sluggish in getting back into a groove.

The Giants? Well, according to history, they haven't' fared that well coming out of the bye. They're 17-23 (42.5 percent win rate), which is 27th in the league since the bye was introduced.

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The good news is they're 1-0 coming out of the bye under head coach Joe Judge, so maybe their luck is changing.

Who's In, Who's Out?

There's early optimism that running back Saquon Barkley will be back after missing the last four games with an ankle sprain. But as of this writing, things are still up in the air regarding left tackle Andrew Thomas (foot), who is still on injured reserve, outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter (ankle), who has missed two games, and receiver Sterling Shepard (quad).

If the Giants are to get on a roll and start stringing wins together, it sure will help if they could have a consistent lineup every week rather than having to swap guys in and out of the lineup so they can establish a little continuity.

Are Changes Coming?

Head coach Joe Judge made it clear that no changes are coming to the play-callers, at least not this week. But he didn't say anything about changes to the player personnel, which could see a few tweaks along the way.

For one, the coaches seem intent on getting rookies Elerson Smith and Aaron Robinson more involved in the game plan. And if Barkley does return from his injury, will he see a full workload the rest of the way, or will the contributions of Eli Penny during Barkley's absence still be a part of the game plans moving forward?

On defense, have we seen the last of Oshane Ximines, or will he get another chance down the line, especially given how well Quincy Roche, Azeez Ojulari, and Trent Harris played in the last game?

The roster is what it is at this point, but it's also not exempt from small tweaks being made now that the coaches have had a chance to catch their breath and figure out how they want to roll the rest of the season from a big picture perspective.

Speaking of changes, let's hope that the coaching staff took a good long look in the mirror over the bye at its in-game management, which has, at times, been a mess. That regression with when to be aggressive or when to use timeouts isn't talked about much, but it's certainly fair to say it hasn't helped the team.

As for other potential organizational changes (general manager), it's doubtful the team will do anything until after the season ends. 


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