There is no better feeling than winning.  The Giants are coming off an absolute thriller in New Orleans, and need a repeat performance in Dallas in order to keep this season alive.  Surprisingly, the Giants defense has become one of their bigger issues in 2021.  After their week 1 loss to the Broncos, I said that their defensive play could not become a trend, well it has, and that trend needs to be broken.  The  offense has been far from perfect, but they have been able to put together performances that should allow them to win the game.  The first one was against Washington, which they lost, and the second was last Sunday in New Orleans, where they were able to squeak out a win in overtime.  When the Giants offense puts up 29 and 27 points, the defense needs to be able to do their job, and allow the Giants to win the game.  So, why haven’t they been able to do that?

One of the biggest questions coming into the 2021 season was the Giants pass rush. Outside of Leonard Williams last year, the Giants didn’t have a proven pass rusher, especially off the edge.  The expectation was for the returning Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines to step up and fulfill their potential.  Four games into the season, neither has been able to do that.  Rookie Azeez Ojulari has been playing well, earning 3 sacks in 4 games, but outside of him, this pass rush is non-existent.  The Giants have just 6 sacks, which ranks 30th in the NFL.  The lack of a pass-rush is helping to cause ripple effects on the back end of the defense.

This was supposed to be a really good Giants secondary.  No one in particular is playing awful, but no one is playing great either, as the Giants rank 20th in passing yards allowed per game.  James Bradberry was an unbelievable player last year, and although he still has two interceptions through 4 games, he has taken a step back so far.  Even so, Bradberry should be allowed to take a small step back after the Giants inked Adoree Jackson to a 39-million-dollar contract.  So far, Jackson hasn’t done anything to warrant that contract. Jabrill Peppers, who hasn’t been playing well himself, has been losing snaps to Xavier McKinney, another Giant who is still trying to live up to his draft stock.  In order for this defense to succeed, these individuals need to be able to play to their potential as the whole defense is built off of this secondary.

The New York Giants had the 9th ranked rushing defense in 2020, but through the first four games of 2021, the Giants are sitting at 20th in the NFL.  The rapid decrease in rushing defense is a problem, and was highlighted against the Saints.  New Orleans rushed for 170 yards against the Giants last Sunday, on the backs of Alvin Kamara, who went for 120 yards, and Taysom Hill, who only went for 28 yards, but accounted for two rushing touchdowns.  One of those touchdowns highlighted another problem with this defense in tackling, as Hill broke SEVEN tackles on just an eight-yard touchdown run. The NFL may be a passing league, but if you can’t stop the run, it opens everyyyyyyything else up for an offense. The Giants are no doubt missing Dalvin Tomlinson, and they’re surely going to miss Blake Martinez, but that’s not an excuse.  This is the NFL, the defense has plenty of guys up front that can help stop the run, make it happen, and end this troubling trend.

We’re four games in, and this defense has made it a habit of putting up disappointing performances.  They aren’t the worst in the league, and are doing an ok job at holding teams to minimal points, but more needs to be done.  They are heading into a gauntlet like schedule, starting with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. If the Giants continue playing the way they have, Dak, Zeke and the Cowboys number 3 ranked offense will eat this defense up.  If the Giants have a chance Sunday, they need to bring the same energy that Jabrill Peppers brought to the overtime coin toss last Sunday.

Every game is a must win….It’s time for the defense to show up.

(Photo: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

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