1. DESERVE TO WIN
The Giants and their fans found themselves in the awkward position of rooting for the Cowboys on Monday night, and they gladly watched as Dallas defeated the Redskins in the final game of Week 13 to force a three-way tie atop the NFC East. While Big Blue will have to wait until Week 17 to improve its 2-3 record in the division, the Giants, Redskins, and Eagles are 5-7 overall as they enter the fourth quarter of the season. Of course, the Giants tried to avoid the need to scoreboard watch at this point in the season, but they dropped their last three games and four of the last five.
"Obviously everybody is disappointed," coach Tom Coughlin said. "We're all disappointed, you're disappointed. But the conclusion that I come to—we'll win when we deserve to win. We haven't done enough things in order to put ourselves over the top."
2. FOURTH QUARTER BEGINS IN MIAMI
In a year the Giants honor the legacy of the late Frank Gifford, the team will play for the second this season on "Monday Night Football", which the Hall of Famer defined for a generation as a broadcaster. The Giants begin the home stretch on the road in Miami, where they have won all three games as the away team in the series and most recently in 2007. The Giants are 5-2 all-time against the Dolphins, whose interim head coach Dan Campbell was a tight end for Big Blue from 1999-2002. Miami broke a two-game skid last week with a 15-13 victory over Baltimore to improve to 5-7, the same record as the Giants.
"We're still very much in it, but we've got to win some games and just got to start now," quarterback Eli Manning said. "Got to start with Miami, so we've got to—we can't get discouraged, we can't have any quit in us, we've got to keep fighting, continue to have a great week of preparation, practice, and then perform at a higher level on game day. Just get some energy back into the locker room, get some excitement and get that winning feeling back."
3. THE ODELL AND JARVIS SHOW
With another last week, Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is known for making one-handed catches look routine, and he has Jarvis Landry to thank. The former LSU teammates would practice them in their college days by throwing wild passes at each other, upping the ante each time to make the next catch more difficult than the one before.
It paid off. Beckham was drafted 12th overall by the Giants in 2014 and went on to become the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. Landry, who went a round later to the Dolphins, was right behind him and set the franchise record for most receptions by a rookie. Now they're following up their historic debuts with standout sophomore seasons. Beckham just broke the record for most receptions by an NFL player in his first two seasons with 169, and Landry is on pace for a 100-catch, 1,000-yard season.
4. GIANTS AWAIT STATUS OF FLOWERS; DEOSSIE AND DONNELL DONE FOR SEASON
Rookie left tackle and first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers left the Jets game early in the second half with a sprained ankle and did not return. Coughlin said Flowers, who dealt with a similar injury that caused him to miss Week 3, was still on crutches the day after game. Justin Pugh slid over from left guard and took over for him while Dallas Reynolds came in to play guard. It came a week after the team had to place starting right guard Geoff Schwartz on injured reserve to a fractured lower leg. Meanwhile, the season also ended for two more Giants on Tuesday. Long snapper and two-time Super Bowl champion Zak DeOssie, who has not missed a game in his career, was placed on injured reserve with a wrist injury. Tight end Larry Donnell was also shut down with a neck injury. To fill the roster spots, the Giants signed long snapper Danny Aiken and promoted cornerback Tramain Jacobs from the practice squad.
5. TALE OF THE TAPE
Offensively, the Dolphins are led by fourth-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is completing 61.4 of his passes for 3,077 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. Overall, Miami is 29th in yards (326.2), 22nd in passing (230.7), 23rd in rushing (95.5), and 27th in scoring (27.0). As mentioned earlier, Landry leads the team in targets and has 78 receptions for 821 yards and four touchdowns. Lamar Miller leads the way on the ground with 139 carries for 680 yards and five touchdowns. Miami is tied with New England and Green Bay for 10th in the NFL with 51 plays of 20 yards or more (nine rushing and 42 receiving).
Defensively, Miami is 27th in total yards allowed (390.3), 22nd against the pass (255.6), 30th against the run (134.8), and 24th in scoring (25.0). The Dolphins' 26 sacks are tied for 20th. Cameron Wake leads the team with 7.0 sacks, and fellow defensive end Olivier Vernon has 6.5. The defense has forced 13 turnovers, which are tied for the fifth-fewest in the league.
On special teams, Landry averages 9.3 yards per punt return and had a 69-yard touchdown in the season opener against Washington. Kicker Andrew Franks is 8 of 10 on field goal attempts, and punter Matt Darr has a net average of 39.8 yards and is eighth in the NFL with 22 inside the 20.