By virtue of losses on Sunday by both the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants enter the final six-game stretch of their regular season with a one-game lead in the NFC East. With their competitors all struggling and the Giants coming off of an impressive performance versus the New England Patriots, New York is expected to come out on top of the division, but that won’t happen unless the team takes care of business.
That starts this Sunday against Washington, a team that the Giants handled with a 32-21 victory at home in Week 3. A big difference between now and then is the health of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. He was a big question mark back in September but has since returned to the lineup and has provided a boost to the New York pass rush despite the hand injury he suffered over the summer.
Although Pierre-Paul hasn’t recorded a sack in the two games he’s played, his impact is still felt by opposing offenses. After collecting just nine sacks in its first nine games of the season, the Giants defense sacked New England quarterback Tom Brady three times in Week 10. Now a little more refreshed thanks to the Week 11 bye, Pierre-Paul and his teammates are looking to keep up the pressure against Redskins signal caller Kurt Cousins.
“I relaxed, took care of my body, a lot of rehabbing for me, but other than that, I’m ready to go,” said Pierre Paul, “I’m fired up.”
Washington has allowed just 17 sacks all season, but that figure will rise if Pierre-Paul can continue to grow comfortable while playing with his injured hand.
“We’re getting back there as a group,” he said, “It’s not just about me, and we’re getting back there as a whole group and that’s what counts. The sacks are going to come, but when you get back there as a whole group and disturb the quarterback, that’s a great feeling.”
Pierre-Paul started the New England game wearing a glove over his injured hand, but later switched back to the club he used in his 2015 debut at Tampa Bay. Even if he is only able to grab with one hand, the Pro Bowler figures to be a major force during Sunday’s game.
“I’m more comfortable with the club,” said Pierre-Paul, “I feel better, I don’t have to worry about anything, and it is what it is, so I just wear that.”