It wasn't pretty, but the Giants got the job done on Sunday, defeating the Washington Football Team 20-19 at home for their first win of the season.
Given the horrendous state of the NFC East, the win has the Giants just one game out of the division lead, but that doesn't seem to count for much among the MMQB crew's weekly NFL power rankings, where the Giants, for the second week in a row, are ranked 29th.
The Giants finally got off the schneid against Washington, a win they desperately needed. I wouldn’t say their record is deceptive, but they have been competitive in all but one of their games, all of which were against playoff contenders until this Sunday. This middle part of their schedule is much easier than the opening month, and if they can split with the Eagles and beat Washington again, they could be 3–7 and somehow in the NFC East chase on Thanksgiving.
The win was bound to be on the more unimpressive side, considering it came against a struggling Washington team, one of the few teams to rank below the Giants at the 31st spot.
Still, the Giants will have opportunities to climb in the power rankings with a mix of winnable games and big games in the coming weeks.
The Giants will face the division-rival Eagles, who are currently the highest-ranked team in the NFC East at 23rd, on Thursday and again in Week 10.
In between those two meetings, the Giants will host Tom Brady and the sixth-ranked Bucs on Monday Night Football in Week 8 before traveling to FedEx Field for a rematch with Washington in Week 9.
The NFC East is definitely up for grabs right now, so let's see if the Giants can build on last week's win. The Giants have officially opened the 21-day window on receiver Sterling Shepard, who has been on injured reserve since suffering turf toe in the Week 2 loss against the Bears.
Shepard has eight receptions for 76 yards so far this season before being shut down due to his injury.
Despite the Giants being woefully thin at receiver--they will be without C.J. Board (concussion) while Darius Slayton (foot) figures to be listed as questionable for Thursday night--Shepard's return in time for Thursday night's game is not set in stone.
On the surface, it doesn't make sense to rush Shepard back into the lineup even though he's made significant progress this week.
The Giants will get an 11-day break in between games after they play the Eagles, which will give Shepard additional time to ensure he's fully over his injury.
In the interim, the odds favor the Giants calling up a receiver from their practice squad to fill in the gaps. Alex Bachman is a guy to keep an eye on as a possibility.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL modified its injured reserve rules to allow for an unlimited number of players to be designated for return (it was previously three, having been raised in the new CBA from the limit of two).
Thus far, the Giants have activated inside linebacker David Mayo from injured reserve, doing so last week.