No way around it, the New York Giants got the breaks beat off of them on Sunday. The Baltimore Ravens were the far superior team on the field at M&T Bank Stadium in Week 16, toying with the Giants for the majority of the game, cruising to a 27-13 victory, a score that is a lot closer than the eye test may tell you.
The Giants, as they’ve tended to in recent weeks, dug themselves into a hole their offense simply couldn’t dig out of, entering halftime down 20-3. Owners of the 31st-ranked offense in all of football, the G-Men have scored a total of three first-half points over each of Daniel Jones’ past two starts.
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Shepard: We’re Not the Type of Team That Can Afford Slow Starts
Miraculously, the Giants, despite sitting at 5-10 on the season, still find themselves in a position to clinch their first playoff appearance since 2016 with a victory over the Dallas Cowboys and a loss by the Washington Football Team in Week 17.
However, wide receiver Sterling Shepard knows that the offense must change their ways, and quickly, if they have any hope of sniffing the postseason.
“It’s frustrating. We have to get off to better starts,” Shepard told reporters following the game. “We’re not the type of team that can afford to get off to this type of start, especially against a good team like Baltimore. We have to figure out what it is and how to get into a better groove early next week.”
While Shepard made it a point to not take away anything from the Ravens’ performance, he did highlight a few self-inflicted wounds that the Giants must improve on if they want to continue the season beyond next Sunday.
“It’s simple things we have to correct. When you look at the first drive, little things like jumping offsides put us in a bad position,” Shepard said. “Those types of things are just mental errors, it’s nothing the opposing team did, it was something we did to ourselves. I look at it like we have to get into the room and correct those things.”
Quarterback Daniel Jones echoed Shepard’s concerns over New York’s inability to start fast.
“We didn’t start the game like we needed to,” Jones said. “We shot ourselves in the foot. On a couple plays, we weren’t able to convert on third down, and that threw us behind. It dug a little hole for us. We’ve got to look at that stuff. We’ve got to clean it up. It makes it tough when you put yourself in that position.”
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Shepard Earns High-Marks for His Performance vs. Ravens
While the Giants team struggled as a whole on Sunday, Shepard did the best he could to keep his team in the game. The fifth-year pro earned a Pro Football Focus mark of 81.2 for his efforts against Baltimore thanks to notching season-highs in targets (12), receptions (nine) and yards (77). He also hauled in New York’s lone touchdown on the day, which is only his second score on the season and his first score since Week 7.
Shepard checked-in as the 12th-best graded player among qualified wideouts across the NFL for Week 16.
Sterling Shepard -> highest graded player for the Giants yesterday.
9 catches on 11 targets, 77 yards and a touchdown. 12th best grade among qualified WRs for week 16. pic.twitter.com/zTQmsRWm9A
— PFF NY Giants (@PFF_Giants) December 28, 2020
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