What a difference a few weeks makes. Suddenly the Giants are on a win streak and find themselves at 6-3, with upcoming games against the struggling Bears and Browns and already currently positioned as a Wild Card. The defense is gelling and the offense is doing enough to outscore the opponents. The free agents have performed well and the rookies have been solid, but not spectacular. Landon Collins in year is materially improved and is a shoo-in for a pro bowl selection. Even their 3 losses were to the Redskins, where the Giants outplayed them and to the then-hot Vikings and Packers, who they just caught at the wrong time.
That is the good news. The bad news, if you want to be pessimistic is that the 6 wins are by a combined 21 points, most of them in games that could have gone either way. In fact, the biggest difference between this year and last year is their performance in these close could go either way games. Last year’s 6-10 could have been 10-6. This past week the Giants rushing stats looked good. However this was misleading as they could not run most of the game and most runs went for 2 yards or less. Three good runs accounted for most of the positive yardage and that is not indicative of a true improvement in the running game. The Giants’ offensive line is just not that good. They are especially poor on the run and their sacks allowed stat is good but slightly misleading as Eli Manning just throws the ball very quickly and that is why it’s usually not very far down field. That is why Beckham has had little success with long pass plays this year.
I’m almost disappointed that Jennings ran well on Monday night against the Bengals because that will lull the coaching staff into a false sense of security as to his skills. He doesn’t make people miss. Darkwa happened to have been given his chance specifically when they played two of the best run defenses in the Packers and the Vikings. I’d still love to see him get another chance.
One reason for bullishness is that the Giants do actually seem to be learning to play with each other on defense and actually getting better. Their offense still seems to have more untapped potential but they will have to figure out how to get a semblance of a rushing game. I still wish they had drafted Tunsil. It would have made a bigger difference to the team than Apple.
This coming week I expect a Giants victory. The defense is playing well, and they catch a Bear team that will be without their best receiver due to an Alshon Jeffery suspension. The Giants offense may still struggle but look for a 20-13 victory.
Ari has been an avid Giants fan since 1979. He attends many home games and has attended the Giants last 2 Superbowl victories. This blog will talk about anything related to the New York Giants. Ari also blogs about the New York Knicks, at http://www.ariglassknicksblog.com