SNY NFL Insider

Ralph Vacchiano

Ralph Vacchiano, award-winning sports reporter and columnist, joined SNY in 2016 as its NFL Insider. Vacchiano will cover the Giants and Jets beats for SNY.tv and be a regular contributor to "Daily News Live" and "GEICO SportsNite." Vacchiano comes to SNY following 15 years as the New York Giants beat writer and columnist for the New York Daily News.

 

Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Vacchiano graduated from Syracuse University in 1991 and began his professional career covering the Buffalo Bills for the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and later covered the Giants and Jets for the North Jersey Herald & News in Passaic, N.J.. During his 19 years at the Daily News, he also covered the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils (1997-2001), and in 2008 he wrote his first book, Eli Manning: The Making of a Quarterback (Skyhorse Publishing).

 

Vacchiano lives with his wife, Kara, and his daughter, Alexandra, in West Caldwell, N.J.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold throws a pass during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold throws a pass during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Jets (4-9) against the Houston Texans (9-4) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 4:30 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

The Jets and Texans will be just a few degrees away from a snow game … but it doesn't look like they're going to make it. Temperatures should be above 40 at kickoff but will drop through the mid-30s as the game goes on. There is also plenty of rain sprinkled into the forecast throughout the night.

WHAT IT MEANS

They showed a little pride earlier this week against the Bills, but in the process they blew a chance to gain control of their destiny in the race for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. They're only one game behind the Cardinals, Raiders and 49ers in that race, though. So a loss to the Texans here and they're right back in it.

Tags: Houston Texans, Leonard Williams, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Even a miracle needs a hand … or eight hands.

That's what the Giants' playoff hopes have been reduced to in the wake of their 1-7 start to the season. It's actually remarkable that they're even still in the NFC wild-card chase at 5-8, just 1 ½ games out of the final spot with three games to go. It's not even impossible for them to get in at 7-9, which is how crazy -- or perhaps awful -- this race is.

Still, the Giants probably need to win their final three games, beginning on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. And they almost certainly need help from perhaps as many as seven other NFC teams. And they might need it fast from some of them, because if the Giants lose to the Titans they will be eliminated this weekend if either the Vikings, Redskins, Eagles or Panthers win...

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Dec 9, 2018; Landover, MD, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) is tackled by Washington Redskins safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (20) during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Dec 9, 2018; Landover, MD, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) is tackled by Washington Redskins safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (20) during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Tennessee Titans (7-6) at the Giants (5-8) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J., on Sunday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. ET.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Houston Texans, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Eli Manning during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Eli Manning during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The revisionist history from the Giants is that they were never in a win-now mode, even though almost every move they made in the offseason seemed to indicate they were. Regardless, it obviously didn't work. They badly overestimated the talent on their roster.

The Giants simply weren't capable of winning now.

But maybe now they are.

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 1, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Marquise Brown (5) runs during the game against the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports  (Kevin Jairaj)
Dec 1, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners wide receiver Marquise Brown (5) runs during the game against the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports (Kevin Jairaj)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets are still in position for the No. 1 overall pick, and if they get it, they'll take Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa. But they're no lock to be the worst team in the NFL this season, even if they do seem certain to be somewhere in the Bottom 5.

So there are still plenty of other NFL prospects who will be on their radar during the 41 bowl games scheduled to be played over the next four weeks. And not just Top 5 players either, since the possibility exists that the Jets will trade down.

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Nov 3, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Drew Lock (3) calls a play during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Nov 3, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Drew Lock (3) calls a play during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

As the Giants continue to scrap their way towards an unlikely playoff berth, a bit of their future could be on display as the college bowl season begins on Saturday. Plenty of NFL prospects can be found in the 41 bowl games scheduled to be played over the next four weeks.

Right now, the Giants are trending towards a pick in the middle of the first round of the NFL Draft, though that could change dramatically over their final three games (or possibly more). So here are just a few players the Giants should, and probably will be, watching and scouting as the bowl season begins...

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Giants stay on track with win 00:01:18
The Giants are focused on one thing, securing another win. They did just that by beating the Redskins in a signature win on Sunday.

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The Giants' hopes for winning the NFC East died in Dallas on Sunday evening. It was a longshot hope anyway after their 1-7 start to the season. But they were eliminated when the Cowboys beat the Eagles in overtime, 29-23.

Over the last few weeks, though, a funny thing has happened: The NFC wild-card chase has opened up. The Giants still have a shot at that. In fact, after the Seattle Seahawks beat the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, the Giants are just 1 1/2 games out of the second wild-card spot with three games to go.

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What to make of Sam Darnold 00:00:51
Sam Darnold returned to action against the Bills. What should Jets fans takeaway from the young QB?s season so far?

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Fourteen years ago there was a young quarterback in New York who had struggled through an up-and-down rookie season. He showed flashes of his potential, but not nearly enough to convince everyone he would someday be the man to lead his franchise.

Then in Week 17, Eli Manning got the ball with 1:41 remaining and drove the Giants down the field for a game-winning drive capped by a 3-yard Tiki Barber touchdown run. The Giants beat the Cowboys 28-24 that day and it seemed like the moment that Manning arrived.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Eli Manning, Elijah McGuire, Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets beat Bills 27-23 00:01:17
The Jets got their much-wanted revenge on the Buffalo Bills, winning 27-23. After the game it was all smiles in the locker room.

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When Sam Darnold limped off to the locker room after the Jets' first series, it looked like this season was going to go from bad to much worse. This season had always been about him. But he had already missed three games with a foot injury after three terrible performances.

And now he was going to be out again?

Well, though it wasn't exactly a Willis Reed performance, Darnold returned quickly enough to give some life and hope to what's left of this Jets season. He went 12 of 18 for 139 yards in the second half and led a game-winning touchdown drive in the final two minutes to give the Jets a 27-23 win over the Buffalo Bills.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Elijah McGuire, Jamal Adams, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants beat Redskins 40-16 00:01:45
The Giants beat the Redskins 40-16 in a signature win for the team that?s starting to build momentum and bring their record to 5-8

Oh, if only this Giants run had started just a little bit sooner.

That's going to be the lingering sadness about this season, now that the Giants have won for the fourth time in their last five games. They're now 5-8 after their 40-16 pounding of the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md. on Sunday. They're starting to look like the team they thought they'd be.

If only they hadn't started 1-7. If only they had held on to beat the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago...

Tags: Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Nate Solder, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Giants (4-8) at the Washington Redskins (6-6) at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. ET.

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Nov 4, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Nov 4, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Jets (3-9) at the Buffalo Bills (4-8) at New Era Field in Orchard Park, N.Y., on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 1 p.m. ET.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)
Oct 28, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports (Quinn Harris)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The last time Sam Darnold was under center for the Jets, his rookie season was in a freefall.

In his last three games, he had completed just 47.3 percent of his passes for 588 yards, with two touchdowns and seven interceptions. He had a dismal passer rating of 43.2.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Nov 4, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy on the sideline during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports (Stew Milne)
Nov 4, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy on the sideline during the third quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports (Stew Milne)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There doesn't seem to be any way for Todd Bowles to save his job now, which means the Jets are probably already thinking about what comes next. Most good executives always have a list of future potential coaches. Surely GM Mike Maccagnan and CEO Christopher Johnson have lists, too.

It's hard to say for sure who is on it with four games to go in the regular season. It's not even absolutely certain who will lead the search, though one team source indicated Maccagnan will have "strong influence" if not total control. Regardless, the Jets will have several strong candidates from which to choose.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants general Manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur during OTA practice at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants general Manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur during OTA practice at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- One year ago this week, the Giants did something they once thought was unthinkable. They cleaned out, firing their coach and general manager in the middle of the season.

The decision was born of desperation. The franchise had no direction. The players were lost. And the whole operation had become the butt of jokes across the NFL nation. The Giants were 2-10 at the time.

One year and two days later, they are 4-8, which is hardly much of an improvement. But to the players, executives and team personnel who endured last season's mess, the improvement has been dramatic.

Tags: Bobby Hart, Damon Harrison, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Janoris Jenkins, Jason Pierre-Paul, Nate Solder, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants' Landon Collins (21) returns an interception for a touchdown during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the New York Jets Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Giants' Landon Collins (21) returns an interception for a touchdown during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the New York Jets Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

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Landon Collins should be back on a football field by this spring after he undergoes surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder sometime next week. At the very least, everyone seems certain that he'll be ready to go by training camp.

What's uncertain, though, is what team he'll be on when camp begins.

Tags: Landon Collins, Ralph Vacchiano
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Should the Jets pursue McCarthy? 00:01:03
Ralph Vacchiano defends Mike McCarthy as a good option to be the next head coach of the Jets over the likes of Lincoln Riley.

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There is no more accomplished coaching candidate on the market right now than former Packers coach Mike McCarthy, and there isn't likely to be one when this season is over. His record is stellar. He's coached a string of top-10 offenses. He even has a Super Bowl ring.

He could be exactly the coach the Jets need to turn around the star-crossed franchise.

Of course, that might be what they're thinking in Cleveland and Tampa Bay -- and maybe Cincinnati, Baltimore, Denver and a few other cities, too.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy reacts after a 29-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy reacts after a 29-27 loss to the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Timing can be everything for a team that is rebuilding. It needs to bottom out in a year when the right players and coaches are available to help with their long-term plan.

That's why the Jets should consider it a sign that the Green Bay Packers fired coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday afternoon. And as soon as they fire Todd Bowles after the season (which seems like a given at this point), they need to put McCarthy at the top of their list.

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Penalties hurt Jets in loss 00:01:39
The Jets looked like they were going to beat the Titans at home. Ultimately falling short as penalties riddled the team in the 26-22 loss.

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There are many things that have become trademarks of the Todd Bowles era. One big one is that the Jets simply never learned how to finish games.

And that's exactly what happened to them in Tennessee on Sunday afternoon.

They fought hard and played a gritty game all day, building a 16-point first-half lead and still leading by nine points heading into the fourth quarter. Then they melted down on both sides of the ball and lost their sixth straight game, 26-22 to the Titans.

Tags: Darron Lee, Jordan Jenkins, Josh McCown, Leonard Williams, Quincy Enunwa, Sam Darnold, Tennessee Titans, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants resilient against Bears 00:01:38
Pat Shurmur is proud of the squad for beating the bears in overtime. Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. weight in on the 3-point victory

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It got lost in the shuffle last week, when everyone freaked out over the way Saquon Barkley wa used in the second half in Philadelphia, but the Giants' defense was absolutely terrible. The Eagles rolled over them in the second half. The Giants defense couldn't get off the field.

They needed a big bounce-back game this week.

They seemed to have it. Then they blew it. And then they bailed themselves out in the end.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, B.W. Webb, Chicago Bears, Eli Manning, Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 2, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball against the Chicago Bears during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 2, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball against the Chicago Bears during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It got lost in the shuffle last week, when everyone freaked out over the way Saquon Barkley wa used in the second half in Philadelphia, but the Giants' defense was absolutely terrible. The Eagles rolled over them in the second half. The Giants defense couldn't get off the field.

They needed a big bounce-back game this week.

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Nov 2, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: The Jets, at 3-8, have nothing left to play for but their future over the last five weeks of the season. And with tons of pending free agents, their future could look a lot different than their present.

While they have some important core pieces in place -- quarterback Sam Darnold, safety Jamal Adams, defensive end Leonard Williams, for example -- they are still heading into an offseason that could see yet another complete overhaul of their roster. The Jets have $100 million or so in salary cap room to spend in free agency.

They also have 23 unrestricted free agents (and two restricted free agents) of their own.

Tags: Ben Ijalana, Bilal Powell, Brent Qvale, Buster Skrine, Dakota Dozier, James Carpenter, Josh McCown, Morris Claiborne, Neal Sterling, Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Rontez Miles, Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Josh McCown (15) watch second half of play against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 24, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterbacks Sam Darnold (14) and Josh McCown (15) watch second half of play against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Jets (3-8) at the Tennessee Titans (5-6) at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 4:05 p.m.

THE WEATHER

It should be a beautiful day in Music City, with temperatures in the mid-60s when the game kicks off and plenty of sunshine.

WHAT IT MEANS

Not much. That's especially true if veteran Josh McCown starts the game - which seems likely since rookie Sam Darnold was limited at practice all week and is listed as "questionable." At this point, it's hard to see what the Jets would get out of starting a 39-year-old quarterback. If I were them, I'd rather get a look at third-string Davis Webb. But if somehow Darnold does return after a two-game absence he'll have a chance to reverse the freefall he was in before his injury. And it's important that he does. This entire season has been about Darnold and his growth and building towards possibly contending for the playoffs next season. So far he's shown he's not ready for that. But this is the time of year when rookie quarterbacks usually start to turn things around and show why they were picked where they were. The Jets don't need to be convinced that they made the right choice with Darnold. They're confident of that. But they definitely want to see some improvement so they can feel a little better about next year.

Tags: Tennessee Titans, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning yells out signals under center against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning yells out signals under center against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Giants (3-8) vs. the Chicago Bears (8-3) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m.

THE WEATHER

First the good news: It'll be warm. Like in the low 60s. Now the bad news: It'll be wet. There's a chance for a lot of rain.

WHAT IT MEANS

The Giants are virtually out of playoff contention, but not mathematically out of playoff contention. They're only 3 1/2 games out of first place in the NFC East with five games to go. So if they win and they get some help from … Yeah, I'm not buying it either. This game basically means nothing at all. Pat Shurmur would like to build some momentum. Eli Manning is trying to prove he should be the starter in 2019. A lot of guys are fighting for future jobs. But mostly the only thing to watch now is where the Giants get to pick in the 2019 NFL draft.

Tags: Chicago Bears, Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. react in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. react in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Odell Beckham Jr. sounded like a player who was done with Eli Manning earlier this season, when he was famously asked if the Giants had a quarterback problem and he responded "Um, I don't know." That answer, and the way he let his frustration boil over on the field, made it clear that he absolutely did.

So imagine how Beckham will feel if Manning sticks around as the Giants quarterback for another year.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Nov 17, 2018; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws a touchdown pass during the first half as he is pressured by Arizona State Sun Devils safety Cam Phillips (15) at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Wayrynen)
Nov 17, 2018; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws a touchdown pass during the first half as he is pressured by Arizona State Sun Devils safety Cam Phillips (15) at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Wayrynen)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - If Eli Manning does return to the Giants as their starting quarterback in 2019, as SNY reported could happen, that doesn't mean they won't still draft a quarterback in the first round. They might.

But a Manning return could also buy some time so the Giants can look at other options - like perhaps an offensive lineman or pass rusher -- both of which they desperately need.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts after being sacked by the Washington Redskins during second half at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts after being sacked by the Washington Redskins during second half at MetLife Stadium. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Exactly one year ago on Wednesday the Giants made the stunning announcement that they were benching Eli Manning, snapping his streak of 210 consecutive starts. It seemed to be a signal that the Eli Manning Era in New York was over.

But one year later, it's still going -- and it's possible it won't end anytime soon.

There is still a chance that Manning will return to the Giants in 2019 -- and even return as their starting quarterback, according to a team source. The decision on his future has "absolutely not" been made, the source said, and management is open to the idea that another year with Manning at the helm might be the best option they have.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Alex Tanney (3) and quarterback Eli Manning (10) look on from the sidelines late during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Oct 11, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Alex Tanney (3) and quarterback Eli Manning (10) look on from the sidelines late during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants have been virtually eliminated from playoff contention, but Pat Shurmur still isn't ready to reveal his future quarterback plans. All he committed to on Monday was that Eli Manning will start against the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

It sure would make sense for the Giants to give rookie Kyle Lauletta some playing time after that. But what Shurmur said next really made no sense at all.

"Why are you jumping over (Alex) Tanney?" Shurmur asked.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Nov 25, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning after the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports (James Lang)
Nov 25, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning after the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports (James Lang)

PHILADELPHIA -- The Giants are alive. Just barely.

And not really.

They are still alive for a playoff berth and the NFC East title, even after their heart-breaking, 25-22 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon -- but only in the mathematical sense. The Giants (3-8) are three games behind the division-leading Cowboys and Redskins (both 6-5) and there are still five games left to play...

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Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson shakes hands with New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur at Lincoln Financial Field. (James Lang/USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson shakes hands with New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur at Lincoln Financial Field. (James Lang/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Shurmur did a marvelous job of holding the Giants together through their 1-7 start, even getting them to play hard and fight in a longshot bid to make the playoffs. His locker room didn't fracture. His players mostly refrained from pointing fingers.

But it may not be so easy for Shurmur to hold everything together after Sunday's 25-22 loss to the Eagles. Because in the unhappy locker room afterward, there seemed to be a few fingers pointed right at him.

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Philadelphia Eagles, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown reacts during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown reacts during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Jets (3-7) vs. the New England Patriots (7-3) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Nov. 25, at 1 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

Compared to the Thanksgiving chill we've experienced around here, it'll be a beautiful day in the neighborhood on Sunday, with partly cloudy skies, light winds and temperatures in the low-to-mid 50s.

WHAT IT MEANS

The Jets are only two games back in the wild-card race, but let's be realistic: That's not happening. Not with the tough schedule they have down the stretch. What this game is all about is salvaging their pride and dignity after their humiliating, pre-bye week loss to the Buffalo Bills. That game might have just been enough to push ownership over the edge with head coach Todd Bowles, who seems more certain by the day to be fired at the end of the season. There's always time to change minds and the narrative, of course.

Tags: Darron Lee, Josh McCown, New England Patriots, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium. (Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Giants (3-7) at the Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Sunday, Nov. 25, at 1 p.m.

THE WEATHER

Winter is coming! But not today. And not Sunday. The forecast calls for a high temperature around 50 degrees. And it'll be mostly sunny because, you know, it's always sunny in Philadelphia.

WHAT IT MEANS

For everyone who has had a good laugh at the idea that the Giants can run the table in the second half of the season and win the NFC East, that fantasy is going to get a little bit serious if the Giants somehow win this game. After the Cowboys' win over the Redskins on Thanksgiving, the Giants will only be two games out of first place in the division with a win, with five games to go. That's a steep, but not impossible climb, especially since they still have to play the Cowboys and Redskins.

Tags: Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley tries to elude San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward in the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. (Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley tries to elude San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward in the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. (Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When the Giants drafted Saquon Barkley, they believed they were getting a player with what GM Dave Gettleman called "gold-jacket potential" and one who he added was "touched by the hand of God." The 21-year-old still has a ways to go, of course, to live up to those lofty descriptions.

But one thing is clear by now: When the Giants drafted Barkley, they drafted the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Tags: Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin stiff arms New York Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin stiff arms New York Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree in the first quarter at AT&T Stadium. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Under normal circumstances this would be enough to make the Giants and their fans gag on their turkey, but these aren't normal circumstances this year. So aside from wishing everyone a "Happy Thanksgiving," the Giants will have another wish when they pull at the wishbone on Thursday.

"Go Cowboys, Go!"

As much as it will pain them, the Giants have no choice but to be rooting for the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday afternoon when they play host to the NFC East-leading Washington Redskins.

Tags: Dallas Cowboys, Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jamal Adams (33) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Jamal Adams (33) Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Second-year safety Jamal Adams has been the best player on the Jets for most of this season. And he'll likely be their lone representative at the Pro Bowl, too.

The 23-year-old leads all strong safeties with 92,765 votes, just ahead of Washington's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Landon Collins of the Giants. He is one of just two Jets to be ranked in the top 10 at his position. The other is return specialist Andre Roberts, who ranks eighth among returners.

The fan voting - which counts for one-third of the process along with player and coach voting - runs through Dec. 13.

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Nov 18, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) signals to fans during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Nov 18, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) signals to fans during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When the Giants returned for the start of the second half of the season, Odell Beckham Jr. knew what they had to do. "Win eight games," he said. "Go 9-7 and go to the playoffs."

It was a "goal," he said. Not a prediction. Even he wasn't crazy enough to make it a prediction.

Two games and two wins later, though…

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the second half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When the Giants passed on a quarterback of the future and drafted Saquon Barkley, they were sure he was exactly what Eli Manning needed. They thought he'd be the weapon that could revive their offense. They imagined him adding years to Manning's career.

It took 10 games into this lost season, but now everyone can really see why.

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants run their way to a win 00:01:35
Saquon Barkley rushed for over 100 yards as the Giants hold on to beat the Bucs 38-35 for their first home win of the season.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - A second straight win against another bad team may not be good news for anyone rooting for the Giants to land a Top 5 pick in the next NFL draft.

But it sure did feel good to everyone at the Meadowlands on Sunday afternoon.

Even though the Giants seemed to barely hang on to their 38-35 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was still a reminder of the value of a victory. They topped 30 points for just the second time in 42 games, dating back three seasons. They got a defensive touchdown and forced the Bucs to bench their starting quarterback (although that turned out to be a not-so good thing).

Tags: Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Janoris Jenkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws a pass under pressure from San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner at Levi's Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning throws a pass under pressure from San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner at Levi's Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Giants (2-7) vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-6) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m.

THE WEATHER

Snowpocalypse is apparently over for now, and it should be a relatively pleasant but chilly day for this game. The high temperature will be in the low 40s, but it'll be mostly cloudy with the usual light Meadowlands winds, so it'll probably feel like it's in the 30s. The good news is with no more snow in the forecast, Northern New Jersey might have the roads cleared by kickoff.

WHAT IT MEANS

If you're rooting for the tank so they can get a higher draft position, then this is another huge game against a team that figures to be in the mix for a top-10 or even top-five pick. As bad as the Giants are, a couple of wins could push them much closer to 10 and that much farther away from being in the mix for a franchise quarterback. That's not so important to the players and coaches on the field, though, so for them, this is another golden opportunity to keep things positive and for Pat Shurmur to keep his locker room together. I know, for the tankers, that doesn't mean much, but trust me, it means the world to the franchise.

Tags: Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Ralph Vacchiano
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Is there a playoff team in NY? 00:00:47
SNY takes on the question... Could you make an NFL playoff team by combining players from the Jets and Giants in 2018?

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

This is a terrible time for New York football, with the Giants and Jets sitting on what feels like rock bottom. They are a combined 5-14 this season, and the playoffs are already out of reach. And they are a combined 13-38 (.254) since the beginning of 2018.

But while there may not be hope at the moment for either team, there is still some talent on their two rosters. If they could only somehow combine the two, they might even have the makings of a playoff team.

 

Tags: Dalvin Tomlinson, Darron Lee, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Landon Collins, Marcus Maye, Nate Solder, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Is there a playoff team in NY? 00:00:47
SNY takes on the question... Could you make an NFL playoff team by combining players from the Jets and Giants in 2018?

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

This is a terrible time for New York football, with the Giants and Jets sitting on what feels like rock bottom. They are a combined 5-14 this season, and the playoffs are already out of reach. And they are a combined 13-38 (.254) since the beginning of 2018.

But while there may not be hope at the moment for either team, there is still some talent on their two rosters. If they could only somehow combine the two, they might even have the makings of a playoff team.

 

Tags: Dalvin Tomlinson, Darron Lee, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Landon Collins, Marcus Maye, Nate Solder, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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Is there a playoff team in NY? 00:00:47
SNY takes on the question... Could you make an NFL playoff team by combining players from the Jets and Giants in 2018?

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

This is a terrible time for New York football, with the Giants and Jets sitting on what feels like rock bottom. They are a combined 5-14 this season, and the playoffs are already out of reach. And they are a combined 13-38 (.254) since the beginning of 2018.

But while there may not be hope at the moment for either team, there is still some talent on their two rosters. If they could only somehow combine the two, they might even have the makings of a playoff team.

 

Tags: Dalvin Tomlinson, Darron Lee, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Jamal Adams, Jordan Jenkins, Landon Collins, Marcus Maye, Nate Solder, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Steve McLendon, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. react in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. react in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive  

As Eli Manning marched down the field late Monday night like it was still 2007, it felt like the entire Giants organization finally exhaled. There had been so much losing over the last two years, so much misery and controversy. But for a few minutes in Santa Clara, all of it slipped away.

That, obviously, was a good thing - even though at the same time their chances at the No. 1 overall pick in the next NFL Draft started slipping away, too.

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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Giants come back to beat 49ers 00:01:20
Eli Manning led the Giants to a 27-23 victory, after coming from behind to beat the 49ers on Monday night.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants are going to take a look at rookie quarterback Kyle Lauletta at some point this season. They may even take a look at journeyman Alex Tanney. There's nothing Eli Manning can do to stop that from happening.

But maybe he did just enough on Monday night to hold off the transition for a few more weeks.

The 37-year-old quarterback only completed 19 of 31 passes for 188 yards, but that included three touchdown passes and an impressive, game-winning touchdown drive in the final 2:46 of the game. It included a beautiful 31-yard pass to tight end Evan Engram and a perfectly placed 3-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard with 53 seconds remaining to seal the Giants' 27-23 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, San Francisco 49ers, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive: Todd Bowles is on the hot seat with the Jets. Mike Maccagnan is not.

That may not seem fair, considering they came to New York together in 2015 and have had equal hands in this Jets mess ever since, but that's the way it appears to be, according to several sources familiar with the Jets' thinking. Bowles seems to be on the fast track to being fired after the season while Maccagnan's job doesn't appear to be in danger at all.

And the reason is simple: Maccagnan's job is to build for the long term, and his long-stated plan has been to compete for a playoff berth in 2019. All his moves -- including moving up in the draft to land the Jets their franchise quarterback -- have been with that goal in mind. And part of that plan was to capitalize on the $100 million-plus in salary cap space he created for them to use next offseason.

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Nov 27, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) congratulates wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) on his touchdown reception during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Giants won 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)
Nov 27, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) congratulates wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) on his touchdown reception during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Giants won 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Giants (1-7) at the San Francisco 49ers (2-7) at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Monday, Nov. 12 at 8:15 p.m.

THE WEATHER

It'll start out as a nice night by the Bay, with temperatures near 70, but they will drop quickly, as they tend to do out there. Figure them to be in the 50s later in the game. No rain and light winds, too.

WHAT IT MEANS

This game is absolutely huge in the battle for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Of course, the 49ers already have their quarterback of the future in Jimmy Garoppolo, so it really wouldn't be a big deal for the Giants to be drafting behind them. Of course, the 49ers could trade down. Or the Giants could end up not drafting a quarterback. So really, in the end, it'll be better for them to lose.

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles coaches against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles coaches against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A year ago, Jets owner Christopher Johnson made it clear he won't judge Todd Bowles on wins and losses alone. He said his evaluation would be about "progression" and whether or not he saw it would "be obvious to all."

It certainly was obvious on Sunday afternoon when the Buffalo Bills humiliated Bowles' Jets 41-10. New York looked unprepared, disinterested and incredibly incompetent.

And if Johnson wasn't considering firing Bowles before that, he certainly has to be now.

Tags: Jamal Adams, Morris Claiborne, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets unhappy after Bills loss 00:00:55
Todd Bowles, Jamal Adams and other Jets players voice their disappointment after their blowout loss to the Buffalo Bill

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - A week ago the Jets threw away their playoff hopes with a loss in Miami, but at least they showed some fight in that game.

This week, against the horrible Buffalo Bills, the Jets didn't show up at all.

In what has to be one of the worst losses in a franchise history filled with terrible losses, the Jets absolutely embarrassed themselves in their 41-10 loss to the Bills on Sunday. They were down 31-0 in the first half to a team that had totaled 20 points in its last three games. They were outgained 186 yards to 1 - one! - in the first quarter and 313-68 by halftime.

Tags: Elijah McGuire, Jordan Leggett, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 4, 2018; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media during rookie mini camp at Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

If these truly are the final games of the Todd Bowles era, the Jets have an enormous, franchise-defining decision to make. If they expect to be a contender in 2019, if they expect Sam Darnold to be their long-awaited franchise savior, the next coach they hire absolutely can't miss.

So whom could they hire to replace Bowles? Here's a look at 12 candidates that figure to be on their list:

Tags: Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets QB Josh McCown (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)
Jets QB Josh McCown (Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

THE GAME 

The Jets (3-6) vs. Buffalo Bills (2-7) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m. ET.

THE WEATHER

It'll be a chilly day, with temperatures topping out in the mid-40s and moderate winds. It should be sunny, though.

WHAT IT MEANS

The Jets pretty much took any real meaning out of this game by losing to the Dolphins a week ago. A win only gets them back to 4-6 heading into their bye week, and they'd still need a miracle against a tough schedule after Thanksgiving to even sniff a shot at the playoffs. So all a win does is make them feel a little happier heading into their week off. But a loss? Whoa, would that turn things in a bad way against the Jets. This is an awful Bills team that even the Jets should crush, especially with veteran Josh McCown taking over at quarterback for a suddenly shaky Sam Darnold. If they lose this game, they could be headed to a season worse than last year, and there may be nothing that could save Todd Bowles' job.

Tags: Buffalo Bills, Josh McCown, Sam Darnold, Ralph Vacchiano
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