After six devastating losses in a row, it seemed the New York Giants high aspirations for being a worthy NFC playoff contender were completely out of reach. Between Eli Manning’s inexplicable athletic inconsistencies and the Giants lack of a decent rushing attack, the Giants were a disorganized franchise that couldn’t seem to get anything right. However, in the Giants last four competitive outings, they have not only won these matchups fairly handedly but they have also shown intriguing improvements in both their defense and offense. Granted, the Giants four straight wins were against teams that either didn’t have a consistent starting quarterback or had already lost their starting passer to some type of injury. Yet, despite these overrated victories, the Giants have still shown signs of methodical rejuvenation, which should help them, compete against healthy competitors.
At the beginning of the season, the Giants most noticeable ailment was Eli Manning’s abysmal passing performances from game to game. In the first six games of the regular season, Manning threw over 15 interceptions to just nine touchdowns. With each consecutive game, Manning’s average pass dropped from 10.71 yards per throw in game one to 7.39 yards per throw in game two and eventually Manning’s average pass hit a season low at 5.17 yards per pass in game three. While Manning’s avoidance of throwing the long ball decreased his turnover rate dramatically, it all but prevented the Giants from having any type of effective offensive attack. Fortunately, Manning has appeared to have gained at least some of his confidence back in terms of his throwing capabilities as his average pass has leveled out at around 6.3 yards per throw. However, if Manning wishes to return to form completely he’ll have to become a more prolific scorer and take chances down the field whenever a wide-open offensive opportunity is available.
With that being said, the Giants offensive woes weren’t solely predicated on Manning’s inconsistent ways. Until recently, the Giants running game was all but ineffective and could hardly be relied upon to be productive game in game out. While the Giants have plenty of power running backs that are effective in the red zone, none of them have the agility or quickness to break off a big run down the field. As a result, not one of the Giants six running backs has more than 200 rushing yards on the season and as a whole the Giants have only rushed for 77 yards per game (29th in the NFL). Although the Giants rushing game has become less of a liability in the last few weeks, it is still by far their weakest link of their franchise. If the Giants want to have an effective running game again, they’re going to have to trim the fat to find a couple of capable of backs who can be relied upon to get the job done.
By far the Giants greatest improvement within their franchise has been their resurgent defense. In five of their first six games, the Giants defense gave up over 30 points per game. However, in a miraculous turn around, the Giants revitalized defense has only allowed more than two scores on only once occasion in their last four games. The reason for the Giants inspirational defensive success is because of their well-balanced defensive front and their new and improved secondary. So far, the Giants defense has only allowed 98 rushing yards per game (7th in the NFL) and their secondary has regrouped and has allowed only 238.1 passing yards per game (15th in the NFL). Although the Giants defense may not be as tenacious or imposing as some of the other teams from the dominant NFC Conference, their methodical improvements in both aspects of their defense is a huge step in the right direction for team that appeared to be washed up and done for the season only a few short weeks ago.
In the end, while the Giants unwillingness to give up is inspiring and refreshing, they still have a lot of work to do if they hope to bounce back completely to eventually win their division. While the Giants four game winning streak is impressive, they need to garner victories against more complete teams if they want to show the nation what they are made of. With that being said, if the Giants can continue to improve on their inconsistencies and can stay on the course to supreme success, they have a chance to surprise their die-hard fans with the comeback story of the year.