Odell Beckham Jr. feels he's close to that big play that's been missing so far from his comeback. Granted, he said "I always feel like I'm one play away … like at any moment in time it could go 80, it could go 60."
But this time he means it. He saw opportunities on film last week that he just missed. So did most of the rest of the Giants' offensive players. They were fired up by their performance in Houston. They feel like they're close to a real offensive explosion.
Yes, we've heard this before. Yes, they've been saying it for years.
But if the Giants were ever going to do it, if they were ever going to put it all together on offense, it better be now. It has to be now. They're going to need it on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
"This is Drew Brees and the Saints we're talking about," Beckham said. "This is a team who is scoring 40 points a game. What they're doing over there is ridiculous. You have to let the defense worry about it, but what we worry about more is scoring more points than they score. That's all we can really do -- which is a challenge."
Yes it is, because while the Saints aren't quite averaging 40 points a game, they are averaging 34.7 points, along with 428 total yards and 345.3 yards through the air in their first three games. And the Giants' defense will be again without linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle) and cornerback Eli Apple (groin), which won't help slow down the Saints.
Even if they were in there, though, it's hard to imagine that this is going to be a defensive game. And that's a problem for the Giants, since it's well-documented that they haven't scored 30 points in any of their last 35 games, dating back to the last game of the 2015 season when Tom Coughlin was still their coach. They've actually only topped 20 points 14 times in those 35 games, including only 3 times in their last 13.
That's bad. Absurdly bad. In fact, it's almost impossibly bad.
In fact, it's Cleveland Browns bad. The Browns have actually gone 46 straight games without scoring at least 30 points. But no one would argue the Browns have had anywhere close to the offensive talent the Giants have had during that time. Especially now when the Giants have surrounded quarterback Eli Manning with a healthy Beckham, Sterling Shepard, tight end Evan Engram (until he hurt his knee last week) and their incredible dual-threat rookie running back Saquon Barkley.
Yet even last week, when the Giants had 20 points at halftime and looked to be cruising down in Houston, they found a way to short-circuit their own offense and only scored seven points the rest of the way. They have talked for years about how loaded they are offensively, only to put on pop-gun style fireworks instead.
There are a lot of reasons for that. A lot of it has fallen on the offensive line. But if that happens against the Saints, they're going to be 1-3 -- even if they are trying to downplay the expectations of a shootout.
"You never (say) you have to score this amount or that amount," Manning said. "You always have goals you want to hit in general, but you play the game and you don't know what's going to happen or what the circumstances are. You just got to be ready for whatever game it turns out to be."
Oh, it'll be a shootout, most likely. During the Giants' drought the Saints have scored 30 or more 19 times. In eight of those games they topped 40. Once they topped 50. With Brees and his quick release and Sean Payton's brilliant offense, plus a receiver like Michael Thomas and a two-way running back like Alvin Kamara, they're tough for any defense to stop -- especially a team without its best pass rusher and one of its top corners.
The good news is the Giants are definitely better situated to break the 30-point barrier than they have been at any time since Coughlin left town. The much-maligned offensive line showed some promise last week and gave Manning a little more time than he's been used to. They haven't had a weapon like Barkley in years. And remember, Beckham basically missed all of last year.
They are relatively intact now. This is their chance. The Saints' defense is worse than anybody thought. They rank 30th in the NFL giving up 421 yards per game. They've given up a league-worst 34.3 points per game.
It's fair to say that if the Giants can't top 30 in this game, against this defense, especially if it becomes a shootout -- well, then, maybe their weapons aren't what we've been told they're supposed to be all these years.
The Giants, of course, are confident that they are, despite the mountain of evidence they have built up against them. And they're confident this is the week when the breakthrough will finally happen.
"It's going to come," Beckham said. "When it rains, it pours."