There have been some material changes to the lineup. The biggest is the addition of Andre Brown. Brown is more than a competent back mixing strength and speed. The reason his impact is felt so materially is that once Wilson went down, the group of stiffs left playing at the running back position was horrific. Consequently, on a relative basis, going from guys picked up off of couches, to a guy who can get through holes and generate yards after the first hit has massively changed their game because having a running game opens up the passing game. It’s hard to pass in this league if defenses’ don’t have to play the run.
On defense, a couple of differences have taken place. Firstly, as column readers know I have been a huge Will Hill fan since I first saw his athleticism in training camp two years ago. He was out for the first 4 games and the whole defense has played better since he got back. Secondly, the addition of Beason through trade does something similar to what Brown does for the offense. Beason is clearly not the player he was at his pro bowl year peak, but the difference between him and Herzlich is so startling that it improves the defense tremendously. Herzlich is a great story but there was a reason he was not drafted. JPP who has been bad most of the year seems to be getting a little healthier. While his game making interception against the Packers was phenomenal, it should not convince anyone he is fully back to 2011 levels. He is not, but he has been getting better this week. I’m still very frustrated that Damontre Moore doesn’t get more playing time. This is how I felt with Hill his rookie year. It is so obvious that he will add material value but Coughlin just doesn’t seem to trust youngsters.
This week’s game against the Cowboys will truly be a challenge. I think the Giants will be up for it, but I am also afraid of them getting exposed. I do feel a lot better about the fact that their middle linebacker Lee is out with an injury. He is one of the games’ much underrated players and he personally has shut down the Giants running game in the past. I would not feel confident if he was there but given his absence I am predicting a 24-20 win.