Over the Giants three consecutive victories, they've scored 30+ points in each game: 30 on the Texans, 45 against the Redskins in a Thursday night blowout, and 30 against the Falcons this past weekend. New York a season ago averaged only 18.4 points per game, and only topped 30 points once (Week 1). This recent spate of offensive explosion is a novelty for a team that took on a new offensive coordinator in Ben McAdoo, who worked to implement a new style similar to an up-tempo scheme.
The passing offense doesn't necessary boast a number-one receiver, but that's no problem. Only Victor Cruz has topped the century mark in receiving yards, peaking with 108 in the Thursday win against the Redskins. Despite going quiet against the Falcons, Practice Squad wonder Larry Donnell has caught 25 passes for 236 yards and four scores (three vs. Washington). Of the 11 touchdowns through the air, eight have come in their last three wins.
A NEW ELI?
This is the first season in which Eli Manning is without Kevin Gilbride (2004-06 as quarterback coach, 2007-13 as offensive coordinator), and Manning is acclimating himself to McAdoo's style. McAdoo's goal for Manning was to have his quarterback complete around 70 percent of his throws, which given Manning's inconsistency in years past, seemed to be a tall order.
Over the last four games (excising the rough opening loss in Detroit), Manning has completed 69.1% of his throws, going 94 of 136. In that four-game stretch, Manning has thrown just three picks against eight touchdowns. In fact, across the three victories, Manning's lone interception was an awkwardly-tipped, would-be touchdown against the Redskins. Manning's accuracy seems to be trending upward; his 63.33% completion percentage against the Falcons was actually an off-day by his current standard.
When 29-year-old Rashad Jennings signed a four year deal with the Giants back in March, it didn't create a number of headlines as other signings had. Jennings was coming off of a quiet year with the Raiders, running for 733 yards and six touchdowns. It should be noted, however, that Jennings was the only 100-yard rusher that the Eagles allowed last season (102 on November 3).
After a middling couple games in those losses, Jennings broke out with 176 yards and a touchdown against the Texans, and has averaged over four yards a carry in each of the three wins (5.02 YPA across the stretch). Jennings left Sunday's win over the Falcons with what's initially being termed a knee sprain. If he's unable to go this Sunday night, rookie Andre Williams (170 yards and two scores) will be leaned on, along with forgotten prodigy Peyton Hillis.
HEAVY PRESSURE AGAINST THE PASS
Conjuring up the history of those "New York Football Giants" brings to mind ferocious defenders like Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Michael Strahan, and Justin Tuck. After the 2013 team graded poorly in Negative Pass Plays, reinforcements were brought in. Among them, Robert Ayers crossed the country from the Broncos, while Jameel McClain headed north from Baltimore. So far, the defense is putting up the sort of vicious front familiar to the fanbase.
The Giants are creating a negative pass play (sack or pick) on an NFL fifth-highest 9.78 percent of dropbacks (ten sacks, eight picks), while an inordinate amount of quarterback hurries have been created: Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka have ten apiece, while understated Ayers takes credit for nine. Opponents are completing barely 60 percent of their throws this season.
SUSCEPTIBLE TO DEEPER THROWS
The most glaring flaw on the Giants defense has been their difficulty in stopping the deep pass. On 19 occasions this season, New York has allowed completions of 20+ yards. This isn't merely an issue inflated by their first two losses; 11 of those completions have come in the three victories, including three completions of over 40 yards. On Sunday alone, the Giants allowed a touchdown pass to Antone Smith that went for 74.
No one from the Giants secondary, save for Prince Amukamara, is particularly grading well on Pro Football Focus. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in particular had an awful game Sunday, as did veteran safety Antrel Rolle. Stevie Brown has been a benign presence in the Giants victories, taking a seat Sunday in favor of Quintin Demps. If an offense can hold New York's pass rush at bay, beating them becomes far more feasible.
Statistics from Pro Football Focus were used to write this story.
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