New York Giants Most Difficult Games of 2019

The regular season is just around the corner, and in the preseason, the New York Giants are already starting to show shimmering signs that the dog days are over. Offensively, the team is showing great promise, even in their second and third team. It’s opposing defenses that dictate the difficulty of the season. Let’s kick off our analysis of the 2019 Giants by ranking their schedule from toughest to easiest games, beginning with the most difficult.

New York Giants Easiest Games

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New York Giants Easiest Games of 2019

There’s so much to be thankful for these days. Football season is starting back up, and preseason seems to be going well for the New York Giants. Not to mention, the inter-divisional games, of which they play two each, aren’t as big of a concern as the season’s opponents go. In our tradition of kicking off the new season, we at Last Word on Pro Football are ranking each team’s schedules from most difficult to easiest. Here is the second half, the more optimistic half, of the Giants part in this series.

New York Giants Most Difficult Games

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Faces of the 2019 New York Giants

It’s hard to believe that the 2019 New York Giants NFL season will be kicking off in just a few short weeks. The off-season has proven to be… well, interesting at minimum. With the forfeitures of Odell Beckham Jr. and Landon Collins came the additions of Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence. And those transactions and draft picks are just the beginning. But it is where “holes” remain where the magic will happen, determining the storied future of the franchise.

This year, the Giants are poised to present a new set of faces to represent the club. “New,” used with relativity. Some of these studs have already proven themselves with the team in a variety of different ways. Others might just emerge from the rough, surprising us as the regular season approached. But it seems there are always those core standouts; the guys whose action shots will soar across the screens of our televisions and stadiums before and after the commercials commence, embedded in shiny graphics and punch words, riling up the spectators.

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The Mara Family Dynasty: A Semi-Legendary Giants Legacy

In his 1972 novel Semi-Tough, the late Dan Jenkins imagines a version of the New York Giants that are no longer owned by the Mara family. Billy Clyde Puckett, the star running back of the G-Men, takes us with him through the week leading up to their Super Bowl appearance against the New York Jets. He introduces us to a slew of fictional misfits (his best friends), as well as his team… including a quarterback whose last name is Manning? Hmm…

Clearly, the book was far ahead of its time on many accounts. And while it is a work of fiction, it also presents a semi-accurate portrayal of American football in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. Puckett uses the phrase “semi-” as a prefix not meaning “partly,” but “majorly,” which, by the end of the tale, shows an attempted humility in the midst of the crass satire. As our narrator and his team prepare for their championship matchup on the west coast, they navigate adoring fans, their “dog-ass” rivals, women, and parties, as well as their new ownership, the ad agency DDD and F, which has taken over after the new Commissioner has foiled the Mara family’s plan to move the team to Bermuda.

While the world of the novel is plausible as a whole, it’s hard to imagine a Giants team without the Maras at the helm, a football world without the semi-brilliance that the Maras gifted to the league, or the semi-greatness that has graced the sports media landscape as semi-inspirations of the Maras and their work.

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It Takes a Village: The Original Seahawks Behind Poona Ford

When Poona Ford made his first start with the Seattle Seahawks on December 16th, 2018, he was out to continue on his mission of defying the odds that were stacked against his success. At 5’11” and 310 pounds, he’s not exactly your traditional nose tackle. But all it took was a chance. In his first ever play as a starter, he proved himself one of the squad’s most effective defenders against the run. Ford bounced off the down block by the San Francisco 49ers right guard, and as quickly as his doubters turned their heads, number 97 made the stop on Matt Breida for a three-yard gain.

The Seahawks may have lost the game 23-26, but their valiant effort can be attributed in part to Ford’s performance. Pro Football Focus awarded him a grade of 89.7 that week, second on the Seahawks only to Bobby Wagner. Not a bad for a rookie debut.

Poona is a notoriously quiet guy; his high school football coach B.J. Payne frequently jokes about his “resting media face,” which will likely serve him well in his inevitable future successes in the NFL. But when it comes to the formative years of his life and the town that built him in and before high school, one can detect a welcome break in that private, subdued facade.

“My favorite year was my senior year. I mean, everything went so fast. Before I knew it, I’m a senior, and we talk about being seniors as freshmen but then when it’s finally here… I feel like that was my best year ever.”

Everyone has their memories of high school football, whether a player, devoted fan, or an uninvolved witness of the culture. But when Poona took the field with his original team of Seahawks at Hilton Head Island High School, everyone, regardless of their relationship with the sport, knew something special was happening.

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The 2029 New York Giants: Comparisons, Regrets, and the Future of Daniel Jones

This off-season in East Rutherford has seen a lot already in the selection of Daniel Jones with the sixth overall draft pick, the trade of the division’s best wideout, not to mention additional roster moves that set up numerous questions.

Remember this time last year? When the New York Giants were in a rebuild that was almost certainly close to a conclusion? Those weeks after the 2018 NFL Draft were exciting! Fans felt relieved in the choices made by new general manager and head coach Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur in the off-season to this point. There was a smell of certainty in the air as OTAs were beginning.

What a time to be alive.

I don’t need to recap this past season for you, and that’s good, because I don’t want to. I, among many, am still in the digestion process of the 5-11 record posted. As for the changes that have been made to the roster in recent months, certainly there are questions being posed and assumptions being made. But all that really can be assumed are those questions themselves, which will undeniably revolve around comparisons. I hope to, in 10 years, return to these comparisons and their corresponding predictions, and be wrong.

Over the next stretch of time, as the Eli Manning era comes to a close, the following will undoubtedly be rivaled:

And… of course…

Let’s start there.


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Not "Daddy's Girl"

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A couple of summers ago, I went to my parents' home on Hilton Head for a week after being spontaneously suspended from my bar job. I was having a completely unexpected post-grad identity crisis, and I needed to run away. I booked a flight on a Sunday that flew out 12 hours later.

In the mania of packing for my escape, I remembered to grab one piece of literature to accompany the coming afternoons on the porch overlooking the marsh. I had already begun Tim Tebow's second book, titled Shaken, over the previous winter, and thought this to be a fine opportunity to revisit the text, as it is subtitled “Discovering your true identity in the midst of life’s storms.” Talk about soul-searching.

Hours later, a glass of wine sat on the side table next to me, Shaken sat in my lap, and the family dog snoozed at my feet. My dad approached the porch and commented on my book selection, secretly knowledgeable of the fact that I am certainly not one who might gain tremendous value from Tebow's preaching. I replied that I had purchased the book hoping to gain insight into the Heisman winner's choice to transition to baseball, as that event seemed to align linearly with the book's release. I attempted to conceal my internal catastrophe. It seemed to have worked, and a thoughtful conversation followed about my earliest sports allegiances.

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In Burlington, Connecticut, 1997, an infant in a bouncing chair giggled as her mother viciously coached young football players through our television set. Mom’s Wolverines had been intercepted. She glared in horror at her firstborn: a Cleveland-born toddler standing on her daddy’s belly doing the “Buckeye Dance" to the Ohio State fight song. Palms wrapped around his index and middle fingers, my feet moved very little; toes clutching the soft t-shirt beneath as my chubby knees hinged methodically while I attempted balance and stability, holding onto my father as tight as my rubbery phalanges could manage. There were several common games we played at this age--Airplane, and of course Tickle Monster. But my favorite game was the Buckeye Dance; it was a dance of - and for - the best.

While Dad was hosting SportsCenter programs on ESPN, my sister and I were singing and dancing in the living room. We were all about the show business. On “Bring-Your-Daughter-to-Work Day,” he would take us to the studios to see how the shows were made--always a special treat. One year, around the time of the X-games, he brought us into the studio and presented each of us our own signed copy of Tina Basich’s memoir, Pretty Good for a Girl. I was eight years old, and I was hooked. I read and reread the book. I had zero athletic aspiration but was obsessed with Basich’s total bad-assery. I wanted to be just like her in my own “field.”

My father, at the surface, is a very simple man. He aligns with many traditional “dad” stereotypes. He wears pleated khakis that usually don’t fit him right. He needs new sneakers and an understanding that t-shirts should not be tucked into sweatpants. On Christmas Eve, he sports the same highlighter pink button down that I’m pretty sure was a gift from my very fashionable aunt, and is absolutely not his “style.” He is his happiest when he’s napping in front of the Golf Channel with the golden retriever at his feet. I never know what to get him on any of the calendar holidays or for his birthday, but he seems to be content with the usual book or puzzle from Barnes & Noble. I definitely think these are pretty consistent qualities amongst middle-class white “dads.” That said, I didn’t really know what else there was, for a very long time.

The truth is, I missed out on many opportunities to learn my father beyond just a simple scratch of that very basic surface. I was primarily raised by my mother and pitches that bounced through satellite and into the car radio, “broadcasting live from ‘X’ center in ‘X’ city.” His voice and personality is well known and admired amongst those in sports broadcasting and golf fans everywhere, but somewhere in my teenage resentment of his travel schedule, I lost my Buckeye Dance partner. The fault was on both ends, but for a while, I was sure our relationship was irreconcilable. I would certainly never, ever be “Daddy’s Girl.”

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His absence made me a cruel daughter. For most of my formative years, we seldom spoke, let alone led on any physical affection. Instances that were “quality time” for many parents and children often seemed like a punishment for both of us. I wanted nothing to do with his career. He, however, remained highly invested in mine.

In spring 2011, Dad was in freelance season, and spent most afternoons driving me two towns over, to Beaufort, for a dream role in a play. The rides were mostly silent; the only sounds emitted from the engine, and the bass of Green Day radiating through my earbuds, audibly clear even yards away. I would touch up my black sharpie-painted fingernails in his passenger seat, paying no attention to him as he chauffeured me to my rehearsals. Some days, we would stop Firehouse Subs to get cherry limeades. They were the one thing it seemed we could both enjoy about the ride; the singular commonality between father and daughter at that difficult point in our relationship.

“I don’t really like cherries. I guess it’s weird how obsessed I am with these.”

“You like the sour cover-up.”

“You think so?” I popped the lid off my styrofoam cup and pulled out a lime, sucking the remaining juice from its pulpy vesicles. He chuckled at the act.

“Probably why I’m so sour,” I joked.

“You’re not sour. You’re just stubborn. You got that from me.”

And… the headphones went back in. Sure, there were genetic commonalities: the big forehead and long limbs. Of course, I got those, instead of his strikingly beautiful hazel eyes. Tough break. I had not yet seen the character similarities. And of course, any interests beyond Firehouse Subs’ cherry limeades were even further off.

Tim Tebow was somewhat of an icon in my high school years. Fresh off his Heisman, the jocks at the public high school I attended for my first two years watched his career forming as they made their own decisions about whether or not to pursue their athletics in college. I was friends with the swimmers. I crushed on the quarterback. I knew what a Heisman was. My interest was nonexistent. My “sport” was storytelling. The closest I got to enjoying a football game was drinking stolen beer from my boyfriend’s parents’ fridge under the bleachers. I never gave my father's affinity for a ballgame my time of day. I’m sure he would have liked for me to take an interest in sports, but he never said anything.

Boarding school removed me even further, and it wasn’t until I came home for spring break my senior year that I realized my detachment. En route to a friend’s swim meet, I discovered that he was moonlighting as a radio DJ part-time by coming across “Sweet Caroline” on a local radio station--a song he was spinning for my little sister. I began to cry.

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I went back to school that spring and secretly stalked everything he’d ever written that was published on the internet. I revisited my copy of Pretty Good for a Girl, which had followed me to my dorm room shelf. At the time, I didn’t quite understand my obsession with learning him. The binge was meant to make up for the years of purge, and while it’s been a slow manifestation, I began to realize that he’s been inside me from the start. I may not have known him, but he knew me all along.

He watched me singing show tunes in princess dresses in our Connecticut living room, and gave me Tina Basich as a model to run fast towards my dreams. He picked me up after my nearly fatal midnight car wreck on I-278, and did not scold or punish me, but comforted me because he knew it was an anxiety-driven mistake. He stood with me that one rainy day in the quad at the University of Hartford, and offered to drive me back home by way of New York City, because he knew I needed more than a small town collegiate experience. He saw me on the porch that summer struggling to find life inspiration in Tim Tebow’s book, and took the job into his own hands, ultimately encouraging me to use my words.

I had grappled long and hard with what to do with my theatre training. The passion remained storytelling, but the idea of standing in line with a picture of myself for the next 20 years, feigning happiness, haunted me. It was when I went home for that week and watched my father joyously waking up at 5 a.m. for his job writing and reading the news on the radio, that I realized maybe we weren’t all that different. I finally saw the character similarities--conviction, ambition, hot temper, love for storytelling--and my craving for Firehouse Subs’ cherry limeades returned. Through all of his own transitions and passions, he’d supported me through mine.

It’s been seven years since that initial boarding school awakening. Seven years of self-discovery and education and bartending. Seven years of writing this very piece, much of which I admittedly used in my grad school admissions essays. Seven years of becoming friends with my dad. And in these seven years, I’ve changed careers, fallen in love, moved across town, rediscovered education, pushed myself forward, fallen back down, read numerous sports biographies a lot more useful than Tim Tebow’s, and written countless works inspired and counseled by my father.

It’s been twenty years since the Buckeye Dance came to a cease, but now I am clutching at your middle and index fingers as I attempt balance and stability, more than ever before. Twenty years of exploring and learning and running away and running back. Twenty years of finding who I am and making peace with it--enough peace to finally admit with pride what I think I always knew: I may not be “Daddy’s Girl,” but I am my father’s daughter.

Michele Selene Ang: Life, Liberty High, and the Pursuit of Something New

At Liberty High, heightened emotions are pretty much the norm these days. After Hannah Baker’s tragic suicide, and the release of a number of secrets on the tapes she recorded detailing her rationale behind the act, not a day goes by within the haunted halls of her former campus that isn’t brimming with drama. Jocks taunt lesser-status students with their powerful demeanors. Geeks use their imaginations and nightmares to retaliate with cyber-attacks. Girls cover the walls of the bathroom stalls with hits targeting their peers. Boys break out in massive brawls, slamming each other into lockers and throwing sucker punches, sometimes even without reason. Sometimes the administration gets involved in these giant, pubescent war zones.

And then, there’s Courtney Crimson, who’s already done her worst, and is ready to move on. Good news for the guys in the war zone; she’s there to pull the fire alarm when it’s at its worst.

“F**king boys,” she hisses before she turns around and walks out of the school.

We don’t know yet where the Netflix drama 13 Reasons Why will pick up. Where we’ve left off, many characters (like Courtney) are preparing to head off to college. If her arc is discontinued, gems like this line will have to be carried out by other characters. And with Courtney’s much-earned fresh start, the actress who portrays her, Michele Selene Ang, will also be forging ahead in her budding career—seeking, in many ways, a new start of her own.

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New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Review

For the second time under the leadership of Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur, the New York Giants entered the draft with plenty of holes to fill. Through seven rounds of surprises, there were undoubtedly hits and misses. And many of the questions that we hoped would be answered still remain open-ended. The theme of this year’s draft seems to be culture. Each of these players comes from a background of overcoming adversity, be it on the field, off of it, or through the media. For a team that has actively been dosing chemotherapy to their locker room, it’s vital that the culture and leadership aspects of the team are present and activated.

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What If New York Giants Picked up Trace McSorley?

I don’t think I’ll ever forget watching Trace McSorley in 2016’s Big Ten Championship. Mostly because I worked at a Penn State bar at the time. There were many moments of celebration that night; Still, I remember particularly the start of the fourth quarter, when McSorley cannoned the ball to Saquon Barkley for an 18-yard touchdown, giving Penn State their first lead in the game. Security lifted me and another bartender onto the counter of the bar, as we held sparklers and poured Jameson into the many cheering open mouths below.

McSorley won the MVP of that game, and with reason. For all intents and purposes, Penn State should have lost. But the Nittany Lions’ clutch leading man escorted the pack from a 21-point deficit to a victory. Now, he has declared for the 2019 NFL Draft and is projected by NFL.com to go unclaimed and enter free agency after a slump this past year, likely due to the loss of Barkley. So wouldn’t a reunion with his former passing partner show the NFL what McSorley is really made of? After all, plenty of excellent quarterbacks went undrafted in previous years (see: Tony Romo, championship-winning Kurt Warner, and Hall-of-Famer Warren Moon).

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