If the path to the postseason for the New York Giants wasn’t hard enough over the next month, it just got even harder now that they will be without one of their best defensive players.
Jason Pierre-Paul, who left the game on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a groin injury, will miss the remainder of the regular season after needing to undergo sports hernia surgery. The expected recovery time for the injury is approximately six weeks.
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JPP was hopeful that he could play for the upcoming game this Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium; a game that is by far the biggest game of the 2016 season given the playoff implications that surround it, as the Giants are 8-4 and currently possess the #5 seed in the NFC postseason, meanwhile the Cowboys are 11-1 and have the #1 seed and a win would help both sides as far as the playoffs go.
JPP was definitely in a bounce-back season and some even thought he could be the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year after missing half of the 2015 season due to his fireworks accident from last summer that caused him to miss the first eight games of the season.
After recording just one sack in the 2015 season in his eight games, JPP already had seven sacks and looked like he was back to his old form that made him one of the best defensive ends in all of football and looked like he would be in line for a massive payday in free agency; probably from the Giants considering he’s their best overall defensive lineman.
By taking JPP out of the lineup for the next four games (at least) and taking him out for the game against the Cowboys on Sunday, it creates a huge void in a Giants defense that has been one of the best units in the league and one that has been a major factor in the success of the team in 2016. The Giants were certainly going to need JPP in the game against an 11-1 Cowboys team that hasn’t lost since Week 1 and has shown a lot of resiliency in continuing their winning streak.
The best case scenario for the Giants is that they can keep their head above water, get into the postseason and in six weeks, possibly get JPP back for a potential playoff run, as they need him for it. Without him, the Giants defense is not likely to make any kind of impact in the playoffs. With JPP playing at top-level, the sky was the limit for the Giants and their defense.
Worst case, the Giants defense falls apart and either they back into the playoffs or they miss them altogether because they falter down the stretch. That’s how crucial JPP was to this defense and unfortunately, given the way the injury bug happens for the Giants, something like that can certainly happen.
All the Giants can do is bear down and hope for the best going forward over the next four, and maybe, six weeks. If the Giants are fortunate enough, they see JPP return to the field in early to mid-January for the postseason.
But they can’t look that far ahead when they have the Cowboys staring at them on Sunday night, then the final three weeks of the regular season that won’t be easy, and now without JPP, will be even more difficult to try and navigate.