The Giants begin the second half of their season on Sunday.
Despite the dismal 1-7 record, you can definitely see improvement at every level and in every phase of the game.
Now, it’s time to let that translate to wins on the field.
The second half of the Giants’ season doesn’t get any easier than the first half. Looming on the schedule are three soon-to-be playoff teams: Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, and the Baltimore Ravens. There’s also a potential fourth playoff team in the Cleveland Browns as well as a rising Cincinnati Bengals team. But, this half-season starts and ends with critical NFC East Division rivalry games.
The Giants have been in every game except the 49ers game. They have had opponents on the ropes in their last four games, but have seen late leads evaporate.
If the G-Men can carry any lessons learned into their next games, they need to put teams away and take “hope” out of the equation.
How do they do that?
Get Ahead and Stay Ahead
The Giants led in the 4th Quarter of games against the Cowboys, Eagles, and the Washington Football Team (WFT). The Giants proved they can move the ball against each rival. They built early leads against the Cowboys and the WFT, only to lose those leads, then fight back in the second half.
The Eagles game was the exact opposite, with the Giants surviving an Eagles onslaught in the first half. Then two long drives by the Giants put them up by double digits with six minutes remaining. Staying ahead means playing good defense, avoiding penalties, and getting time-consuming drives by the offense.
The Giants’ offense has the big-play capability. The last three weeks have seen some steady improvement in the run game as well. As the weather gets messier, a solid run game will be necessary to maintain leads. Wayne Gallman looks to be taking control of the backfield, and Devonta Freeman is healing up. Throw in the occasional DJ run play, and the Giants put up 100+ rushing yards every game.
Get on the “+” Side of Turnovers
The Giants have benefitted from takeaways by Patrick Graham’s defense all season. But, the offense needs to stop giving the ball away. At Dallas, the Giants and Cowboys traded touchdowns on turnovers.
Against the WFT, Daniel Jones was intercepted in the endzone killing a long drive that could have put the Giants up by 10 points at the half. Last week, Daniel Jones’ two interceptions led to 10 points for the Bucs.
Tom Coughlin drilled this one word into the Giants during their last Super Bowl season. Finish means putting teams away by dominating the end of games. Joe Judge is proving to be a master at player rotations. Conditioning, player rotations, proper execution will wear down other teams as the game goes on.
The Giants need to get off the field on defense with “three-and-outs” and avoid extending the opponent’s drives with late penalties and missed assignments. On offense, the Giants need to dominate the will of their opponents by sustaining long drives and avoiding drive-killing penalties that knock them out of scoring opportunities.
Put It All Together
We’ve got a good taste of how good this offense, defense, and special teams can be in segments of each game so far. The coaches are opening up the playbooks more and more each game with clever schemes and real big-play potential. The players are giving their all and playing aggressive, tough football.
Let’s do it all in the same game. And avoid the turnovers.
That starts with sweeping the remaining division games and finish NFC East play with a 4-2 record. That is not a pipe dream. They can do that because they’ve already shown they can hit quick strikes or sustain long, time-consuming drives on offense. The defense is real too.
Then, play spoiler for the Browns and dominate the Bengals. Go toe-to-toe with playoff contenders. And maybe, just maybe…
Featured Image: ---