Sep 19, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Winless Giants, Falcons do battle for first win of season

The New York Giants are beginning to see a few positives after what has been a negative start to the season.

The Giants (0-2) and visiting Atlanta Falcons (0-2) look to record their first win of the season at the other’s expense on Sunday when they meet in East Rutherford, N.J.

New York followed up a 27-13 season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12 with a heartbreaking 30-29 setback to the Washington Football Team four nights later.

While the negatives are obvious — the Giants have lost their first two games of a season in five straight years and eight in the last nine — they did receive some semblance of a positive on Wednesday; Pro Bowl tight end Evan Engram was deemed to be a limited participant.

“He’s still progressing, moving in the right direction,” New York coach Joe Judge said of Engram, who has missed the first two games with a calf injury. “We were hopeful early coming out of camp — obviously, we didn’t put him on IR — we were hopeful to get him to this point.”

Judge was also inspired by Saquon Barkley’s explosive 41-yard run against Washington. Barkley, however, had 12 other carries that went for just 16 yards as he continues to work his way back from last season’s torn ACL.

“I see him going out there every day, he practices hard, he plays with confidence,” Judge said. “Obviously, there are some things coming off an injury like that that you’ve got to have certain stepping stones, but like I’ve said all along, when the medical team says he’s greenlighted to go, we’ve got to go and start playing with him. He’s done a good job preparing for us. he’s done a good job in performance for us and we’re going to keep on going with him.”

Barkley’s 83 rushing yards trail quarterback Daniel Jones (122) for the team lead. Jones, in fact, rushed for a career-high 95 yards against Washington and has scored on the ground in each of his first two games.

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan hardly would be considered a speedster, however the 36-year-old has accumulated 1,398 yards rushing on the ground in his career.

Ryan is best known for his arm, although he threw for just 164 yards in a 32-6 setback in the season opener against Philadelphia. He got back on track last Sunday by throwing for 300 yards in a 48-25 loss at Tampa Bay.

Ryan, however, is touting consistency for his team as it attempts to work its way down the field.

“I think that’s a recipe for success moving forward,” Ryan said. “The percentages are much higher of converting drives (and) converting third downs when we are at third and five or less, so I think that’s been pretty good so far this year.”

Ryan’s most trusted target is Calvin Ridley, who reeled in seven receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers. Fellow wideout Russell Gage had five catches last week, however an ailing ankle prevented him from practicing on Wednesday.

Gage is being looked upon to take a step up after the team parted ways with seven-time Pro Bowl selection Julio Jones in the offseason.

Cornerback A.J. Terrell (concussion) also did not practice Wednesday.

Like Barkley and Engram, wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip), defensive back Logan Ryan (hamstring) and tight end Kaden Smith (knee) were limited in practice for New York.

On Sunday, former Giants quarterback Eli Manning will become the 43rd member of the team’s Ring of Honor. He will have his No. 10 jersey retired at halftime.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) attempts to make a catch as Washington Football Team cornerback Kendall Fuller (29) defends in the third quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Giants WR Kenny Golladay: I was yelling at Jason Garrett, not Daniel Jones

New York Giants receiver Kenny Golladay said his outburst during Thursday night’s 30-29 loss to the Washington Football Team was aimed at offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and not quarterback Daniel Jones.

Television cameras caught Golladay yelling on the sidelines in the fourth quarter of the NFC East battle. Jones was seen looking at Golladay during the incident.

“Pretty much just me just talking to (Garrett) a little bit,” Golladay told reporters on Monday. “That is two competitive guys right there. Moreso just me wanting to do anything I can. Not so much get me the ball more.”

Golladay was targeted eight times during the contest. He had three catches for 38 yards and also dropped a pass.

Golladay, who signed a four-year, $72 million deal with New York in the offseason, said his tantrum was out of character.

“I’ve never done anything like that either,” said the fifth-year pro, who was a Pro Bowl selection for the Detroit Lions in 2019. “Really just passion. Just being a competitor. I want to do anything I can to help the team and I let the emotions get the best of me.”

Second-year coach Joe Judge on Monday downplayed the situation, surely figuring his 0-2 team doesn’t need a distraction that the New York tabloids could have a field day with.

“You guys asked me the other night about Kenny, there was no argument on the sideline,” Judge said. “There was no him versus Daniel or anything of that nature. This is a guy that in the heat of the moment, you speak very passionately. You kind of speak with some emotion. I speak with emotion on the sideline. There was no blowup or anything that has to be made of it.

“I understand sometimes the perceptions will be what they are, but like I said the other day, there’s no issue there.”

Jones didn’t seem to dispute the incident in his comment to reporters.

“There’s lots of ways to communicate and we’ll work through it,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of emotions to the game and I certainly understand that. Me and Kenny have a great relationship and I know we can communicate and do what we need to do there. I appreciate his passion and emotion.”

Golladay has seven receptions for 102 yards this season for the Giants, who host the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) attempts to make a catch as Washington Football Team cornerback Kendall Fuller (29) defends in the third quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Giants’ Joe Judge doesn’t see ‘any issue’ between players

New York Giants coach Joe Judge told reporters Friday that there was nothing to see regarding Kenny Golladay’s apparent shouting at Daniel Jones on Thursday night.

During the Giants’ 30-29 loss to the Washington Football Team, Golladay was seen yelling in the direction of his quarterback on the sideline. Judge didn’t have many details to offer after saying the team’s VP of communications filled him in on the apparent spat.

“Look, I’ll talk to all of our players,” Judge said. “In terms of what you asked about with Kenny, I’ll go with the same thing I said last night — I talked to the players, talked to the coaches that were involved and everyone has kind of dismissed everything in terms of there was no conflict. It was more just emotions on the sideline, talking through situations, things going.

“Our guys have good relationships, they work together. I don’t really see any issue with that right there, so talked with the players involved and they were good.”

Other than Sterling Shepard (nine catches, 94 yards), most New York receivers played nothing more than a supporting role in the offensive game plan Thursday. Golladay, who signed for four years and $72 million during free agency, finished with three catches on eight targets for 38 yards.

The Giants ran the ball 28 times and only had 22 passing plays. Jones finished 22-for-32 for 249 yards and a touchdown as New York fell to 0-2.

Golladay wasn’t the only receiver reportedly frustrated with the offense. Rookie wideout Kadarius Toney, a first-round draft pick in April, posted a comment on his Instagram story after the game that said, “I don’t be mad (expletive) just be lame to me fr.”

The Newark Star-Ledger reported that Toney, who was not targeted Thursday, was aggravated over his role thus far, describing Toney’s thinking as, “No use in having a sports car and not driving it.” Toney has accumulated one reception for a loss of two yards thus far in his career.

Toney later tweeted, “Y’all try to turn anything into something, SMH … we good over here.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 23, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA;  New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks on during the second half against Jacksonville Jaguars at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Post-Ida, Saints look to return to Superdome for Week 4

The New Orleans Saints could return home to play in the Superdome in Week 4 under a plan detailed Friday by coach Sean Payton.

The Saints have been displaced since Aug. 29, when Hurricane Ida slammed into the New Orleans area as a Category 4 storm. They’ve taken shelter at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, and played their season-opening “home” game — a 38-3 win against the Green Bay Panthers — in Jacksonville, Fla. The team left town, in part, in the best interest of public safety.

The Saints play the Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday and will return to TCU to practice there. On Sept. 26, they will meet the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.

Payton said he anticipates the Saints will return home to New Orleans after the Week 3 contest to prepare to host the New York Giants on Oct. 3.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) is sacked by New York Giants linebacker Azeez Ojulari (51) in the first quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Last-second kick lifts Washington over Giants

Dustin Hopkins kicked a 43-yard field goal with no time remaining to give the Washington Football Team a 30-29 victory over the New York Giants on Thursday night in Landover, Md.

Hopkins first missed wide right from 48 yards, but the Giants’ Dexter Lawrence was called offside to give the kicker a second chance. Hopkins booted the second attempt through the uprights as Washington (1-1) ended a string of five straight losses to the Giants (0-2).

Graham Gano kicked a 35-yard field goal with two minutes left to cap a 5-for-5 performance and give New York a 29-27 edge. Gano also was successful from 23, 47, 52 and 55 yards to increase his franchise record to 35 consecutive made field goals.

Taylor Heinicke passed for 336 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in his second career regular-season start, his first for Washington. Terry McLaurin had 11 receptions for 101 yards and one touchdown, Ricky Seals-Jones caught a scoring pass and J.D. McKissic rushed for a score.

Daniel Jones passed for 249 yards and one touchdown and also rushed for 95 yards and a score for the Giants. Saquon Barkley ran for 57 yards on 13 carries in his second game since major knee surgery, and Darius Slayton caught a touchdown pass for New York, which was outgained 401 yards to 387.

Washington trailed by six before moving 75 yards on two plays to take a 27-26 lead. Heinecke hit McKissic on a 56-yard pass play and followed with a 19-yard dart to Seals-Jones in the right corner of the end zone to put Washington ahead with 4:33 remaining.

The Giants trailed 14-10 at halftime before scoring 10 third-quarter points to move ahead.

Gano kicked a 47-yard with 9:07 left in the third quarter and Stayton caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Jones to give the Giants a 20-14 lead with 4:41 left.

Hopkins drilled a 49-yarder with 1:30 left in the third quarter to pull Washington within three before Gano kicked a 52-yarder through to make it 23-17 with 13:35 remaining in the game.

Hopkins kicked a 37-yard field goal with 8:46 left to cut the New York lead to three.

The Giants had a chance to add to make it a two-score lead, but a wide-open Slayton dropped a potential 43-yard touchdown pass from Jones with 6:18 remaining. New York salvaged three points when Gano kicked a 55-yarder to make it 26-20 with 4:50 left.

Washington led by four at the half thanks to McKissic’s 2-yard run with 21 seconds to play.

–Field Level Media

New York Giants NFL center Nick Gates

Giants OL Nick Gates carted off with leg fracture

New York Giants left guard Nick Gates was carted off the field with a fractured lower left leg during the first quarter of Thursday night’s game against the host Washington Football Team.

Gates had an air cast on the leg as he was removed from the turf with 5:52 left in the stanza. The team announced the fracture later in the quarter.

The 25-year-old Gates was engaged blocking Jonathan Allen on a pass play when his leg got caught under falling Washington defensive end Montez Sweat. He immediately rolled on the field in great pain.

The entire Giants’ team came on the field to wish Gates well as he was about to be carted off. The third-year pro and team captain started the season opener at center and moved to guard for Thursday’s game.

Ben Bredeson replaced Gates at left guard.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) lines up under center Washington Football Team center Chase Roullier (73) against the Los Angeles Chargers at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

WFT backed vs. Giants despite Super Bowl odds lengthening

Ryan Fitzpatrick’s injury has impacted the Washington Football Team’s season-long odds, but bettors clearly have confidence in backup Taylor Heinicke leading the offense against the New York Giants on Thursday.

The WFT opened as 3.0-point favorites at BetMGM but the line has moved to 3.5 points hours before the game with 66 percent of the money and 58 percent of the spread-line bets supporting Washington. The line is the same at DraftKings, with the WFT backed by 69 percent of the money and 68 percent of the bets.

The overall action at BetMGM has been split, with the Giants’ +160 moneyline moving to +150 and the team backed by 62 percent of the money and 69 percent of the bets. However, Washington’s -165 moneyline is still drawing 51 percent of the money and 56 percent of the bets at DraftKings.

Heinicke, 28, was thrust into the starting job with Fitzpatrick expected to miss at least 6-8 weeks with a hip injury. Heinicke will be making his second career regular-season start as the NFC East rivals each seek their first win of the young season.

“I think our guys will rally around him,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said of Heinicke this week. “He plays a little bit like his hair’s on fire and plays a little bit like a gunslinger.

“He understands what he has to do and how he has to do it. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.”

Heinicke replaced Fitzpatrick during Washington’s 20-16 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1 and completed 11 of 15 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown while rushing three times for 17 yards.

“I went in there and said a couple of words that I probably shouldn’t say right now about these Giants,” Heinicke said after Tuesday’s practice. “Hopefully it got the guys fired up and ready to play for Thursday.”

While Washington is favored this week, Fitzpatrick’s lengthy absence has impacted the team’s futures.

The team’s Super Bowl odds climbed from +5000 to +7000 at FanDuel, from +5000 to +6600 at PointsBet and from +5000 to +6000 at BetRivers the day after Fitzpatrick was placed on injured reserve this week.

Washington saw its NFC Championship odds lengthen from +2200 to +2500 at PointsBet and from +2500 to +2800 at BetRivers, where the team’s NFC East title odds moved from +190 to +275.

“The shifts are likely a combination of standard market reaction to Week 1 results, as well as what figures to be a slight downgrade at quarterback from Fitzpatrick to Taylor Heinicke,” BetRivers sportsbook manager Zach Schlouch told Field Level Media.

New York looks to rebound after being whipped 27-13 by the visiting Denver Broncos in its season opener.

Running back Saquon Barkley had just 26 rushing yards on 10 carries in his return from ACL surgery, and his availability for Thursday’s game remains questionable.

“I don’t think the schedule is ideal for coming back off a major knee injury to have two games back-to-back, but that’s what it is,” said Barkley, who was limited in practice on Tuesday. “That’s what’s in front of me and that’s the challenge I have to face.”

With tight end Evan Engram (calf) ruled out of the game, the 40.5-point Over/Under at BetMGM has seen 55 percent of the money and 52 percent of the bets placed on the Under.

The Giants have defeated Washington five straight times, the last four with quarterback Daniel Jones as the starter.

The third-year pro passed for 267 yards and one score and also rushed for a touchdown against the Broncos. However, he also lost a fumble that led to a Denver field goal.

“Turnovers are always going to hurt you at any point in the game and they’re big plays,” said Jones, whose 30 fumbles and 18 fumbles lost are the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2019. “We’ve got to do a good job of taking care of the ball.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 29, 2021; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants center Nick Gates (65) blocks against the New England Patriots during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Giants shuffle starting O-line, place LG Shane Lemieux on IR

The New York Giants are shuffling their offensive line for Thursday night’s game against Washington, starting newly acquired Billy Price at center, according to multiple reports.

Nick Gates, who started every game at center last season and Week 1 of 2021 for New York, will move to left guard, per the reports.

Starting left guard Shane Lemieux was placed on injured reserve, prompting the moves. Lemieux left last week’s game against Denver with a knee injury.

Price has been with the Giants for two-plus weeks after the team acquired him from Cincinnati. Price is a former first-round pick, taken No. 21 overall by the Bengals in 2018.

The Giants also signed center Matt Skura to their 53-man roster from the practice squad.

The status of running back Saquon Barkley remains unknown. He was listed as questionable Wednesday.

–Field Level Media

Aug 22, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) runs the ball during warmups before the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Giants’ Evan Engram out, Saquon Barkley questionable vs. Washington

The New York Giants will be without tight end Evan Engram for the second straight game to begin the season.

On Wednesday, Engram was ruled out for Thursday night’s game at the Washington Football Team (0-1).

Engram reportedly is advancing in his recovery from a calf injury, however the Giants (0-1) are faced with a short turnaround following their 27-13 season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

Tight end Kyle Rudolph likely will see additional snaps in place of Engram. He had two receptions for eight yards in the Week 1 loss.

Star running back Saquon Barkley was listed as questionable for the Washington game as he continues to work his way back from last year’s knee injury. He rushed for 26 yards on 10 carries in the season opener.

The Giants also ruled out linebacker Cam Brown (hamstring) and guard Shane Lemieux (knee) for Thursday’s game.

–Field Level Media

Sep 12, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) attempts a pass against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington turns to QB Taylor Heinicke against Giants

Taylor Heinicke is about to get an extended run as an NFL starter for the first time.

The 28-year-old quarterback was elevated to starter because of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s hip injury in the season opener, so Heinicke will lead the Washington Football Team (0-1) into action against the New York Giants (0-1) on Thursday night at Landover, Md.

Fitzpatrick is forecast to miss up to eight weeks, which presents time for Heinicke to display his skills. Heinicke will be making his second career regular-season start, with Kyle Allen (1-3 in four starts for Washington in 2020) serving as the backup.

Washington coach Ron Rivera also had both Heinicke and Allen on his roster during his tenure with the Carolina Panthers but didn’t struggle to make the decision.

That could be due to Heinicke’s stellar playoff start last season, when he filled in for injured Alex Smith and passed for 306 yards and accounted for two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing). His efforts allowed Washington to scare the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers before falling 31-23 in an NFC wild-card game.

“I think our guys will rally around him,” Rivera said of Heinicke during a press conference this week. “He plays a little bit like his hair’s on fire and plays a little bit like a gunslinger.

“He understands what he has to do and how he has to do it. I’m excited to see what’s going to happen.”

Heinicke replaced Fitzpatrick during Washington’s 20-16 home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1 and completed 11 of 15 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown while rushing three times for 17 yards.

Heinicke played college football at Old Dominion and passed for nearly 15,000 yards and 132 touchdowns as a four-year starter. Despite the big numbers, he went undrafted in 2015.

He spent time on the practice squads of the Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots and Houston Texans over the next three seasons and even completed one pass for the Texans in 2017.

He made his first career start in 2018 for the Panthers but was out of football last December when Washington added him to the practice squad. Then, he was needed for the team’s biggest game.

Heinicke certainly acted like a starter when he addressed the team after Tuesday’s practice.

“I went in there and said a couple of words that I probably shouldn’t say right now about these Giants,” Heinicke said. “Hopefully it got the guys fired up and ready to play for Thursday.”

New York looks to rebound after being whipped 27-13 by the visiting Denver Broncos in its season opener.

Star running back Saquon Barkley returned from an ACL injury that occurred in Week 2 of the 2020 season but had just 26 rushing yards on 10 carries. He also caught one pass for 1 yard.

Now Barkley faces a short week — tough for any running back, let alone one who just played for the first time since surgery on his right knee.

“I don’t think the schedule is ideal for coming back off a major knee injury to have two games back-to-back, but that’s what it is,” said Barkley, who was limited in practice on Tuesday. “That’s what’s in front of me and that’s the challenge I have to face.”

The Giants have defeated Washington five straight times, the last four with Daniel Jones as the starter.

The third-year pro passed for 267 yards and one score and also rushed for a touchdown against the Broncos. However, he also lost a fumble that led to a Denver field goal.

“Turnovers are always going to hurt you at any point in the game and they’re big plays,” said Jones, whose 30 fumbles and 18 fumbles lost are the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2019. “We’ve got to do a good job of taking care of the ball.”

New York tight end Evan Engram (calf) is in danger of missing his second straight game.

–Field Level Media