EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Joe Judge will not minimize or discount the Giants' season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos, but he hopes the Giants' reaction to the defeat proves to be much more important than the result.
"We literally have an entire season ahead of us," the team's second-year coach said after Sunday's 27-13 defeat. "Any other year, it was 16 games. And we have 16 games ahead of us that we have to improve week by week and keep climbing and make sure we're the best team we can be. So, obviously the first week's an important game, every game is an important game. We got to make sure that we take the lessons we've learned from this game and move forward and make sure that we keep putting a better product out there."
Their first opportunity to do that will be Thursday night when the Giants face the defending NFC East champion Washington Football Team, which also lost its opener at home to an AFC West team, 20-16 to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Thursday night games are physically taxing, and they leave little time for detailed preparation. But for teams that lost the previous week, they offer a rapid chance at redemption.
"I've been in this league long enough to know that good teams will look at this short turn around as an opportunity to get that bad taste out of our mouths," said defensive lineman Leonard Williams. "The faster we're able to play a game and get a win under our belt, the faster we can move on from the loss that we just had the past week. It's a short turnaround as far as guys' bodies recovery-wise and mentally being able to prepare for a team with a shorter week. But like I said, we're trying to be optimistic and opportunists about it and we're looking at it as an opportunity."
"We have a lot of work to get done in a short period of time for Washington," Judge said. "When we get on the train, we want to make sure our guys are prepared and when we get there Thursday night, obviously, we want to make sure we're ready to go out there physically and mentally to be able to run and hit and play fast football."
View rare photos of the all-time series between the New York Giants and the Washington Commanders.
The Giants will look to extend their recent streak of success against Washington. They have won five consecutive games against their longtime rivals and three in a row in FedExField. Last year, the Giants swept Washington for the second season in a row, winning two games by a total of four points - 20-19 in MetLife Stadium on Oct. 18 and 23-20 in FedEx on Nov. 8.
Two of the Giants' most important players have had some of their biggest games against the burgundy and gold.
In winning his first four starts vs. Washington, quarterback Daniel Jones completed 86 of 126 passes for 901 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions for a passer rating of 100.0, his highest against any opponent he's faced more than once.
In the penultimate game of his rookie season on Dec. 22, 2019, Jones completed 28 of 42 passes for 352 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions for a season-high passer rating of 132.1 in the 41-34 overtime victory in Washington. He was the first rookie in NFL history with at least 350 passing yards, five touchdown passes and zero interceptions in a game and the first rookie in Giants history to throw five touchdown passes in a game.
Asked if he sees anything specific when he faces Washington, Jones said, "not necessarily. I think every year is different, every team is different, every game is different, so we'll prepare for this one individually of the others. But I think we'll have a good game plan going in."
In the same game in which Jones posted his big numbers in FedEx, Barkley set a franchise record with 279 yards from scrimmage (189 rushing and 90 receiving). The Giants were the first team in NFL history to have one player with 275+ scrimmage yards and another with five touchdown passes in the same game.
Barkley totaled just 27 yards against Denver, his first game since suffering a serious knee injury last Sept. 20 in Chicago. He said yesterday he expects to play in Washington, the site of his most recent great game. Barkley was asked what he must do to again post big numbers and responded by talking about the entire team.
"We've got to capitalize," Barkley said. "We're talented, we know the talent that we have, we trust the coaching staff that we have, but it's on us to go out there and capitalize. That's offense, defense and special teams. I feel like (if) we're able to do that more consistent, the season's going to play out how we want to play out. I think that's where we find ourselves – whether it's from when I've been here, or the last two years, or even last week. Just those situations we need to capitalize on – and that puts yourself behind in ballgames or puts yourself in position to win games.
"We have the talent, we have the playmakers. I think you guys (reporters) saw what Shep (wide receiver Sterling Shepard) is able to do in the slot. K.G. (receiver Kenny Golladay) making plays, D.J. making big throws, the list goes on and on. We have so much talent on this team, so we've just got to go out there and capitalize so we can be able to show our talent and show how special we can be as an offense and a team as a whole."
The Giants must win tomorrow to avoid a fifth consecutive 0-2 start. They've learned in the past it's difficult to continually climb out of holes.
"A win is definitely better than a loss, especially going into some off time," Pro Bowl cornerback James Bradberry said. "You want to feel good going into that off time building momentum into the next week, so a win would be crucial for us."
"It's certainly big," Jones said. "Every game is big. We've got to do a good job coming back, learning from the things that happened on Sunday and making sure we correct them and move forward. We treat it one week at a time and focus our full efforts on Washington and getting a win this week."
"We can't dwell on the past and dwell on the fact that we just lost," Williams said. "There was a lot of good stuff that we put on tape, and there were some bad things that we had on tape that we have to correct. We have no choice but to move forward. The game is gonna keep going, there are more games every week. We can't dwell on the past. We just have to move forward and continue to do what we did well and change what we need to change."