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The New York Giants played the wrong quarterback. Perhaps they would have looked overwhelmed and sloppy on offense even with veteran Colt McCoy playing instead of clearly hobbled youngster Daniel Jones. We'll never know. But what the Giants and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett put on film Sunday, with a chance to make a statement in the NFC Least against a flawed Cardinals team, was fairly atrocious.

It may end up costing them the postseason, and it gave anyone watching that game with a keen eye pause as to why Jones played as long he did.

Speed is the name of his game, keeping drives alive with his deceptive acceleration and using that to set up the occasion deep ball. On Sunday, Jones was more unsure and uneasy than usual; he clearly did not trust his ability to use his legs as a weapon, and, well, the Cardinals saw that quite well, also. With no fear of him escaping or burning them outside the pocket, and little indication anything deep was going to materialize, New York's offense was a flurry of three-and-outs and constricted game calling. 

I figured head coach Joe Judge might do the right thing and see if McCoy, who was spry and nimble in a shocking upset at Seattle last week, could provide another spark -- if for no other reason than to throw a lifeline to a Giants defense that was again stalwart for much of the afternoon until the strain of being on the field so long, with no offensive support, finally did them in late.

It was a wild Week 14 Sunday and there's a lot to go over. John Breech, Ryan Wilson and host Will Brinson break it all down on the Pick Six Podcast; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.

Arizona's defense limped into this game with issues across the board, but the nearly-limping Jones was never going to trouble them. The G-men totaled just 10 first downs and 159 net yards, holding the ball, astonishingly, for a mere 22 minutes in an NFL football game. Five of their 12 drives were three-and-outs, and they mustered 20 yards or less on every possession except their one scoring drive, aided by a long pass to Golden Tate.

That was one of just two plays for the Giants that went over 20 yards, and nothing really came close. Without his quickness and explosive first step, Jones was lost. This team lives and dies with his turnovers, and he fumbled three times Sunday (losing one). He was sacked six times, his clock never quite right, going just 11 for 21 for 127 yards without a single carry on the ground.

The Giants must think long and hard about McCoy for Week 15. Jones on a gimpy hamstring is a recipe for disaster. The Browns defensive front can be a handful, with Myles Garrett looming next week and then a desperate Ravens defense, with blitz-meister Wink Martindale at the helm, the week after that. The margin to win this awful division is quite slim, with even Dallas back in the race.

Another offensive performance like today and even the expert work done by Patrick Graham and this Giants defense will be for naught.

Bucs not quite clicking despite win

The Bucs won, and that was a must coming out of the bye, but excuse me if I remain a little skeptical about where they are going. The passing game remained out of sorts, emphasizing deep shots on third-and-short. They still look stilted to me, feeling out Tom Brady with time running out, and were lucky that Vikings kicker Dan Bailey had a total disaster of the day or the outcome may have been different.

But I will give the Bucs this: they finally stuck with the run to a greater degree. That allowed them to set up more play action. Which worked. Better balance was a start, though it remains to be seen how well they can run the ball against better defenses. Hats off on that adjustment, but time will tell how much the offense evolves.

Oh yeah, and they also got a rare (phantom?) pass interference call on a Hail Mary to Gronk at the end of the half that gifted them three points at a critical juncture in the game. Fair to say this was another tepid offensive outing by Tampa Bay, with Brady heating up after a slow start to finish 15 of 23 for 196 yards and two touchdowns. 

It was a workmanlike effort, and winning this game was vital coming out of the bye, but I also can't help but wonder if this will be enough come January. Anyone looking for a critical rethink of their offensive philosophy coming out of the bye was left longing. They stuck more with the run, yes, but the passing game likely is what it is.

Tua makes a statement in loss

Super gutsy effort by Tua Tagliavoa and the Dolphins. This kid is all heart and no quit, and he made plays all over the field in the best game of his young career. He kept his team in the game against the Super Bowl champs, making plays from the pocket with his smarts and on the run with his guile, and played a heady game beating the blitz and finding his shots.

He also slung it all over the place when need be and did so despite three rookie offensive linemen in front of him and missing his top running backs, then losing his favorite weapons -- receiver DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki -- to injury during the game. He matched Patrick Mahomes throw for throw and outplayed him, honestly, as Mahomes began the game with a pick, then a botched snap, then a 30-yard sack and then another pick on a checkdown on the next possession.

The problem for Miami: The Chiefs rallied from 10-0 down to a 30-10 lead fairly quickly, as they tend to do, and this loss puts Miami in a tough spot. As much as I believe in Tua, and the spirit coach Brian Flores has instilled in this team, if they have to keep rolling into games without their linebackers and their two best pass-catchers and with Tua behind a makeshift offensive line, I believe that will catch up with them.

Bill Belichick will have something for this young QB next week, which would make the final two games against the Raiders and Bills likely must-win for the 8-6 Dolphins. Maybe the Bills won't have anything to play for, but Miami's health will be a key factor in this AFC wild-card chase.

More Week 13 notes

  • It's a shame the Vikings' special teams were a mess and their passing game struggled, because Dalvin Cook was a one-man gang in the first half and put Minnesota in position to win. Cook had 15 rushes for 78 yards and a touchdown in the first half while Minnesota had over 100 yards rushing in that half and held the ball for over 20 minutes. But the Vikings went 5 for 13 on third down and the offensive line shut down, allowing six sacks.
  • The Titans offense can be a thing of beauty, but keep an eye on their latest bunch of offensive line injuries. They are really mounting.
  • The Cardinals won, but it took a big assist from the Giants. They sputtered and stuttered in the red zone, the offense lacks much verve or creativity right now, and I'd be a little concerned. They did get Kyler Murray back to scrambling all over the place, which will be essential to any playoff hopes.
  • The Jaguars should play Gardner Minshew the rest of the way, hoping to draw some trade interest in the offseason.