The New York Giants are 7-3. For those who only consume football through the ‘RedZone’ Channel or highlight reels that might not come as a surprise. They make splash plays and have had some of the best single plays of the year, but behind the façade is a house of cards waiting to fall down…
The Giants are 30th in the NFL in turnover differential with -7, ahead of only their cross-town rivals the Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The rest of the teams with seven or more wins average a +6 turnover differential. That alone should scare Giants fans. Now some of that is bad luck, they have forced eight fumbles and recovered just one of them. They are averaging an interception a game, including the one Landon Collins took back to the house in London. That kind of ratio is not conducive to sustainable victory or indicative of good play on either side of the ball.
Margin of Victory
The Giants may have won seven games, but they have won them by an average of just 3.8 points. Which as you might guess is not a good margin. Denver, also 7-3, have an average margin of victory of 10.7. That kind of difference is mirrored by the rest of the teams with a strong record. Kansas City’s is 10.4; Seattle’s, for all their woeful offense, is 8.1 points. New York’s expected record, based on their points scored & points against, is 5.1-4.9. That is a lot of regression waiting to happen.
Winter Is Coming
And with winter, comes cold weather. Winning football games in September and October is very different to winning in December and January. Running the football and playing defense is the tried and tested answer to the high winds, rain and cold. While they can play defense the Giants problem is that they can not run the ball, even slightly. At 3.4 yards per carry the Giants are 30th in the NFL in running offense ahead of only Los Angeles and Minnesota. For an outdoor team in New York that is not a good sign for later on in the year.
When Will The Façade Crumble?
That’s a good question, and importantly it might not be this season. With so much parity (or awfulness) around the league this year a bit of luck can go a long way. The Giants have run into some of the dreadful teams in the NFL this year, with a win against the Rams in London and the Bears this week. They also faced Dallas in Week 1 before Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott were remotely integrated into the team. What they do have though, is a tricky schedule coming up, after they play the Browns in Week 12 anyway. A trip to see Pittsburgh in Week 13 is followed up by a visit from Dallas and the Detroit before they finish out the season with road games in against Philadelphia and Washington. It’s not unreasonable to suspect that they will struggle to get to 9 wins given that remaining slate. With their obvious deficiencies on the ground and in protecting the ball, high-powered teams who can score quickly like Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Detroit can run out to leads and dominate time of possession against them.
While this time next week the Giants are going to be 8-3 and looking like a powerhouse just remember that none of the background numbers support their record. It is a house of cards just waiting for a gust of wind, or a half-decent team, to run through it.
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