That's how I would describe the New York Giants this holiday season. I'm not alone. Safety Antrel Rolle addressed that very issue when speaking with reporters following the team's 23-point shutout loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
New York tanking for the best possible draft pick at the end of the season is not in this team's DNA. With that said, it might be what benefits the franchise most down the road. There's nothing positive for the Giants to take from what has been a car crash campaign.
Sober thoughts on Giants losing to Seahawks: Reality
I mentioned, in my immediate post-game thoughts, that there is no reason to believe that to-be free agent wide receiver Hakeem Nicks should return to the Giants next season. After reviewing a few of the plays that featured Nicks during Sunday's affair at MetLife Stadium, I am ready to go one step further.
Nicks should be dropped on the depth chart for the remainder of the season.
Head coach Tom Coughlin and his staff have nothing to gain in Nicks being at the No. 1 WR spot in the final two games of the 2013 campaign. Jerrel Jernigan had himself a fine afternoon against Seattle, reeling in seven of eight targets for a team-high 67 yards. Rueben Randle, who finished the game without a single catch to his name, could also use the additional reps.
Nicks is, unless prepared to sign a new deal at a major discount, essentially no longer a Giants player. The head injury Victor Cruz suffered (more on that later) doesn't change that. Truth be told, I'd be just fine if Nicks was shut down for the remainder of the season after the lack of effort he gave versus the Seahawks.
Sober thoughts on Giants losing to Seahawks: Caution
The previously mentioned Cruz was whopped by a double-whammy in the third quarter. He went up high to grab a Manning pass, and he was then driven hard into the turf via a legal hit from Jeremy Lane. Cruz suffered both a concussion and a knee sprain on the play, and early indications are that he is going to miss at least one game.
Cruz is just two yards away from finishing a season with at least 1,000 total receiving yards for the third consecutive years. That would be a great personal accomplishment, but it's not one that is worth risking Cruz getting even more injured during what are, for the 2013 Giants, meaningless games.
Cruz is going to want to play again in December if at all possible, and not just to get to that 1,000-yard mark. He is a competitor. He also thankfully won't have the final say in the matter. Don't at all be surprised if the Giants put Cruz on IR before the end of the week.
Sober thoughts on Giants losing to Seahawks: Hope for the future?
It's difficult to find positives in a 5-9 team that gets smacked around on its own turf. One such bright spot on Sunday was linebacker Spencer Paysinger, who has quietly had a solid year. Paysinger finished second on the team in total tackles versus Seattle with seven, and he made one of New York's best defensive plays when he lit into tight end Zach Miller with a thunderous hit.
It wasn't all good for Paysinger on Sunday, though, as he pulled running back Marshawn Lynch into the end zone when he tried to strip away the football rather than stop Lynch short of the goalline.
Paysinger may not be a starting LB on the 2014 Giants. New York needs depth at the position, though, and Paysinger has earned a serious look from the coaching staff next summer. He is, three years into his professional career, still a work in progress.
The raw talent is there, but whether or not it will ever be fully unleashed has yet to be determined.