Last Sunday, the Minnesota Vikings lost to the New York Giants 31-24 in the Wild Card round of the NFC Playoffs. Second-year quarterback Daniel Jones enjoyed one of the best games of his young career, racking up 301 passing yards, two touchdowns and a 114.1 passer rating. The Giants racked up the second-most points they had in a game this year and the third-most total yards (431).
Four days later, the Vikings fired defensive coordinator Ed Donatell after just one season with the team.
There were plenty of legitimate reasons for Donatell to be relieved of his duties. The Vikings defense ranked 28th in points allowed and 27th in DVOA—and with one of the most seasoned defensive rosters in the NFL.
But, for many, last week’s Wild Card game wasn’t about how bad the Vikings were. It was, instead, more about Jones’ breakout game and New York finally finding their groove on offense. With a strong defense to complement, the Giants were suddenly looking like a sneaky-good team that could potentially make a run.
The Philadelphia Eagles put an end to that narrative in a hurry. During Saturday night’s Divisional Round matchup with the Giants, the Eagles proved that the Giants offense hadn’t made any real noticeable strides. Their success in the Wild Card round was almost all due to the horrible Vikings defense they faced.
The Giants were absolutely obliterated by the Eagles to the tune of a 38-7 blowout. Jones and the Giants offense were shut out of the first half and managed just 227 yards for the entire game— just 2 yards above their season low. Daniel Jones finished with a season-low 53.8 passer rating, was sacked five times, and threw his seventh interception of the season.
In other words, after nearly setting season highs in both yards and points last week, the Giants set a new low for points scored and were 3 yards away from hitting rock bottom in yardage.
But the Giants’ offensive performance against the Eagles was far closer to their norm for the 2022 season. New York averaged just 21.5 points per game this year and Jones crossed over 300 passing yards in just three games this season—two of which were against the Vikings.
Sure, the Eagles deserve a ton of credit for their performance on Saturday. They do have one of the best defenses in the league, ranking eighth in points allowed and sixth in DVOA. But it is far more telling that this Giants offense that looked completely lost on Saturday against the Eagles didn’t even have to punt the ball until late in the third quarter against the Vikings.
There is a chasm between the Eagles and Vikings defenses, and while the offense was able to carry Minnesota to the playoffs, the team’s Achilles heal was eventually exposed—and they continue to be exposed even after being eliminated from the playoffs.