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USATSI

The 2021 season for the New York Giants has gone from disappointing to abysmal to spiraling out of control toward the rapidly approaching earth below, and another round of bad news will likely hasten the end. Leonard Williams, the team's sack leader in 2020 (11.5), has reportedly suffered what is feared to be a significant elbow injury in the Giants' loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 14 -- per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network

The 27-year-old will undergo more tests to determine the exact nature and severity of the injury, but the initial outlook is very concerning. That means it's unlikely he takes the field when the Giants face the Dallas Cowboys for the final time this season on Sunday and, depending upon his diagnosis, there's a chance he won't return to the field at all this season. Furthermore, the start of the 2022 season may be in jeopardy as well, considering the timing of the injury.

The Giants are currently 4-9 on the year after being throttled by Justin Herbert and the Chargers, with their odds of making the playoffs sitting as close to zero as is possible, and elimination from playoff contention altogether looming, particularly if they are swept by the Cowboys in Week 15. Williams played in just 13 snaps against the Chargers and without him to assist rookie Azeez Ojulari, who leads the team with 7.5 sacks this season, Herbert had his way with three touchdowns to no interceptions and critical scrambles to extend drives.

Williams was traded to the Giants in a package with the New York Jets in 2019, following some contention with the latter on his stalled contract talks. That energy rolled over to his marriage with the former, and he was forced to play under the franchise tag in 2020 before being tagged a second time in 2021, but the second tag was quickly rescinded and Williams signed a three-year, $63 million contract immediately thereafter. His 5.5 sacks this season are second only to the aforementioned Ojulari, and the name of the game for head coach Joe Judge (whose seat isn't exactly ice cold these days) is to figure out how to replace his production.

That's assuming it can be done with the current cast of characters who have routinely struggled to take down the opposing quarterback, in a season wherein the team as a whole has struggled to do much of anything notable.