Giants VS. The Football Team: Storylines Heading Into Thursday Night Football


Taylor Heinicke | Antonio Gibson

Division rivals set to do battle on Thursday Night Football when the NY Giants travel to Landover, Md to play the Washington Football Team. Both teams are coming off week 1 losses to AFC West teams.  The Giants lost 27-13 to the Broncos and Washinton lost 20-16 to the LA Chargers.  Here are a couple of key storylines to watch for as these two teams try to even their record to 1-1.

This week 2 win or loss could have playoff ramifications later in the season. 

Let’s face it, the NFC East has been the Baltic Avenue of NFL divisions for a while now.  NFC East teams over the past couple of seasons have consistently posted losing records when facing out of division opposition.  They’ve proven they can’t hang on the Boardwalk & Park Place side of the board against teams from the AFC or NFC West for example.  That makes every single interdivision game all the more important as this division’s champion is seemingly always determined on the final week of the regular season in a head-to-head rivalry game featuring two teams with records that wouldn’t qualify for a wild card spot in any other division, even after they added the 7th playoff team.  In a division that is as up for grabs as any, an early week 2 division win could be the catalyst that one of these teams needs to get on an early season roll, or at the very least, keep them from staring down the business end of a winless 0-2 record.    

Which QB can capitalize on opportunity?

Hey, Daniel Jones & Taylor Heinicke, can you get the door?  Opportunity’s knocking. 

Both of these young QB’s are being offered an opportunity this season.  For Daniel Jones, some would argue this could be his last opportunity if he can’t turn his win/loss record around and I mean quick, fast and in a hurry. Over his 28 career starts Daniel Jones has shown some flashes of talent, but more tangibly he’s fumbled the ball 30 times and thrown 22 interceptions, more damningly, he’s posted an 8-20 record.  This is his year to turn things around.  His star running back (Saquon Barkley) is back from injury, Kenny Golladay was added to his arsenal as a big, number 1 receiver.  Sterling Sheppard, Darius Slayton and 1st round rookie Kadarius Toney round out a formidable WR corps. He has two TE’s with Pro Bowls to their name.  There really are no more excuses this year for Daniel Jones.  If he cannot animate this Giants offence starting Thursday night then those cries for his job will get louder and it could be a very bumpy last ride in NY for Jones.

Taylor Heinicke’s opportunity is quite different.  This is only really his second or third opportunity, but for a 28-year-old undrafted QB out of nowhere, AKA Old Dominion, that may be all the opportunities he gets.  So far, he’s done well with the couple he’s had.  He played in his first game for the Football Team in Week 16 last season against Carolina after Dwayne Haskins got benched in the fourth quarter. Heinicke played well, completing 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown during the 20–13 loss. A couple of weeks later he really bleeped on the NFL radar when he started the Wild Card playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after Alex Smith was ruled out.  Heinicke completed 26 of 44 passes for 306 yards, one touchdown and ran for another touchdown in a 31–23 loss.  Last week Heinicke was called in for Ryan Fitzpatrick after an early hip injury and completed 11 of 15 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown in a 20-16 loss.  Fitzmagic’s injury has disappeared him to the IR, giving Heinicke another opportunity to show what he can do as a starter.  So far in every instance, Heinicke has played tough, mostly-smart, scrappy football and kept his team in every game. However, playing that kind of football may win you the reverence of a fan base (ask Gardner Minshew), but if you’re not coupling it with wins, then you likely won’t be the starter next year (ask Gardner Minshew).  Everyone loves a Cinderella story QB out of nowhere, but there is a reason there aren’t a lot of them dotted in NFL lore. Unless you can stack wins like previous undrafted nobody QBs named Kurt Warner and Tony Romo, most undrafted guys simply don’t get that many opportunities.  For Taylor Heinicke to begin his ascension into the realm of the notable undrafted QB he is going to have to win games, and this Thursday night on prime time would be a great place for him to start.