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Daniel Jones will need both of his legs to lead the Giants to the playoffs

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Daniel Jones must be looking around and wondering how, exactly, he’s supposed to win this road game against the Dallas Cowboys. Jones never played on Thanksgiving, not even in high school, and his first crack comes just as his team is falling apart physically.

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The Giants don’t have healthy receivers, or healthy linebackers to cover the Dallas receivers, and their offensive line has been reduced to a case study in managing neck injuries. The Cowboys have allowed the fewest points in the league (16.7 per game) and the fewest passing yards (174.5 per game) while racking up the most sacks (42), and they’re pulling off the kind of Minnesota performance that suggests they might actually make a comeback to the Super Bowl. Bowl for the first time in 27 years.

This sure sounds like a losing proposition for the Giants, who They were physically thrown home by the Lions. If this 7-3 season ends in flames, people will point to the Detroit game and say the Giants were exposed to what they’ve always been – a weak, weak team coached by Rookie of the Year, Brian DaPaul, who finally made his first big rookie blunder by asking Priceless Adoree ‘Jackson’ re-balls.

But none of this means the Giants have to succumb to Micah Parsons’ big will, losing for the second time in five days and turning what was a lively kind of locker room into the quiet, sober place it was Tuesday. “We’ve shown ourselves throughout the year to be a resilient group, a tough group, mentally and physically,” Jones said in that room. “And this is an opportunity to show that.”

In fact. As they have proven many times under the leadership of Jerry Jones, the Cowboys are capable of missing a golden opportunity with the best of themselves. Now Daniel Jones has to somehow score enough points to make it happen.

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The Post's Ian O'Connor wrote that the Giants need to take advantage of Daniel Jones' ability to scramble the rest of the season.
The Post’s Ian O’Connor wrote that the Giants need to take advantage of Daniel Jones’ ability to scramble the rest of the season.
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He wouldn’t have tight end, Daniel Bellinger, again, nor would he have receiver Wan’Dale Robinson for the rest of the year after the rookie broke against Detroit for 100 yards before tearing his knee. The unfortunate state of Jones’ receiving choices can be summed up this way: Slayton, Golladay, and a prayer for the holiday.

Except that Kenny Juladay has a total of four receptions this season, and this holiday game isn’t one the Giants could have prayed for even if they beat Detroit and stayed ahead of Dallas in the playoff race. On a short break, with absolutely no margin for error, Jones has to figure out how to take his best year in football to new heights.

His legs will be the best place for your Vanilla Vic to start.

Jones has to partner with good friend Saquon Barkley and attempt an almost wild run in these last seven games. As great as Barkley has been for most of the Detroit pre-season, defensive coordinators in the NFL today don’t lose sleep at night on their backs. But they lose sleep over the idea of ‚Äč‚Äčathletic midfielders demoralizing their units by running out of pocket and destroying perfect defensive stands.

And Daniel Jones is the Giants’ most decorated full-time quarterback ever. (For the record, I have Fran Tarkenton in second and Jeff Hostler in third.)

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Jones looks faster on game day than his unofficial pro-of-the-day time of 4.67 in the 40-yard dash. When he was clocked at 21.23 miles per hour during his 80-yard career against the Eagles in 2020, Next Gen Stats reported that it was the fastest speed ever recorded by a quarterback in three years, including Lamar Jackson. Jones ranks fifth among NFL quarterbacks this year with 437 career rushing yards, and only Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields have more rushing touchdowns than four.

Of course, more determined scrambling and running increases the chance of injury, which means Jones has to be very selective when choosing to lower his shoulder. But outside of signing Odell Beckham Jr. , it’s hard to see anywhere else the Giants’ offense could improve as this waning team seeks the three wins it would need to reach the postseason.

Daniel Jones runs the ball down the field during the Giants' loss to the Lions.
Daniel Jones runs the ball down the field during the Giants’ loss to the Lions.
USA Today Sports
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Center John Feliciano, who played for Josh Allen in Buffalo, told The Post that he “100 percent” believes Jones could be an NFL star approaching Allen’s level of play, in part because of his athleticism. “He’s able to get 8 yards with his feet when guys are down in coverage, which some guys in this league just can’t do,” Feliciano said. “It’s huge when you’re able to do that.”

Jones ran for 79 yards on just nine carries against Dallas in the September 16-23 loss. If the Cowboys put a spy on him on Thursday, he’s going to have to outdo that spy.

Hey, no one said this would be easy. But if Daniel Jones can improvise enough to win this game and ultimately move this reckless and arrogant crew to the playoffs, the Giants should reward him with the 2023 starting job and a new contract…if not the prices of Aaron Judge.

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