Just how good is this NY Giants defense. I think the answer to this question can allude to what this team will be at seasons end.
I’m not purely a numbers guy, although I do love numbers. And I was looking at some numbers about the Giants defense this morning, and let me tell you. Statistcally they are impressive.
What do the numbers say?
First the Giants are #2 in the league in total defense (the standard measrument for this is “yards per game”). The Giants defense right now is surrendering 264.8 yards per game. San Diego stands at #1 with 255.2 yards per game, and the Ravens are third right now at 280.5 yards per game.
This is impressive because the Giants have faced some good offenses.
The Colts are #2 in total offense, the Houston Texans are #5 in total offense, and the Lions are 14th in total offense. So the Giants hasn’t fed on bottom feeders. But they have beat up some bad offenses too.
The Panthers, Bears, and Titans are 26th or lower. However, part of this (at least for the Bears) is becuase the Giants beat them up so bad. The Bears had 110 yards of total offense vs the Giants. If you took out that effort vs the Giants the Bears would move up to 19th in the league in total offense (yards per game).
The Giants are the #2 Defense vs the pass.
Right now the Giants are ranked second in the league vs the pass (yards per game) at a 172.0 per game, which is nice what is also impressive is that the Giants are 7th in the league in yards per attempt, which is a much truer measurment of a teams ability to defend the pass.This year’s number is 6.3 (last year was 7.4)
Teams also have a 29.6 first down percentage. Which is good, last year the Giants were 7th worst in the league at over 36 percent.
This year the Giants have the fifth best QB rating against them (by best I mean lowest) with QB having a 71.5 QB rating (Panthers, Bears, Titans are in the top 10 by the way. Three teams Eli has played that have done very well vs opposing QB as well).
The Giants have given up 7 TD passes to opposing QB’s though which is average (12th best in the league)
Clearly, statistically the Giants have a good pass defense through six games of this season.
The Giants are the #2 Defense in sacks.
The Giants have 21 sacks this year, which is impressive and is second best in the league. Generally sacks goes hand in hand with pass yardage so this should be expected. The less time opposing QB’s have to throw the ball the less yards they are bound to throw with. It is nice though to see the Giants at the top of the league in sacks.
Last year the Giants had 32 sacks which was 18th best in the league.
So far this has shown some good improvement,but not great improvement over last year because t
The Giants were also good in terms of yardage and pass yardage last year, especially through the first half of the season.
But this is where I think the Perry Fewell effect comes most in the following stats.
The Giants are the #1 Defense in Forced Fumbles and #3 in recoveries.
The Giants have forced 13 fumbles and recovered 7. Last year the Giants were 5th in FF but only 14th in recoveries.
The Giants have the #7th most Interceptions with 7
Last year, thr Giants had 13 INT 22nd most last year.
The Giants are 3rd in the league in turnovers on defense with 14 total trailing only the Lions and the Steerlers (though the Steelers have played one less game).
Clearly so far the Giants have been a much more opportunistic team.
So, the Giants have shown an ability to rush the passer, keep the passing game in check, and create turnovers. But what about the run game?
The Giants are only allowing 3.5 yards per rush which is 7th best in the league.
The 4 rushing touchdowns they have allowed so far, though is not great because that’s about the league average (17th best).
Their first down percentage vs the run though is very good at only 17.5 percent, 5th best in the league.
But the biggest problem the Giants had last year was allowing points (especially in the red-zone, but really from all over the field).
How are the Giants do this year in that spot?
The Giants are the #13 in points allowed per game at 19.7, which is an improvement, but still lacking.
Now,watching every Giants game gives me a bit of a different perspective because Giants fans know that a few of those points can definitely be contributed to the excessive amount of turnovers the Giants have given up on offense and how poor the field position the Giants defense has had to deal with. Still though this is the most important measure of a defense’s effeciency. If you keep the opposing team out of the end-zone your team can win ball games.
The Giants have still had some trouble keeping opposing offenses out of the end-zone.
And this needs to change.
Through 6 games this season, statistically the Giants defense is for real.
They don’t give up a lot of yardage, they force a lot of negative plays (sacks), and they have created a lot of turnovers. As long as the defense continues to force turnovers, the Giants defense can afford to be middle of the pack in points allowed.
What happened last year, though, was the Giants could not keep the ball out of the end-zone AND they could not take the ball away from the other team or force negative plays.
This year, so far that has changed, but the Giants will be facing a lot of good offenses the rest of the season (Dallas twice, the Eagles twice, at Minnesota and at Green Bay.
In these games, the Giants will give up some points, but as long as they can continue to abuse opposing QB and take the ball away they will be a good defense.
The Saints last year gave up big plays, but they also made a lot of big plays. That was the #1 problem with the Giants last year: they could not get off the field, and they could not force turnovers. They didn’t make plays on the ball, this year so far, that has changed dramatically.
Is it for real?
I think it is, but the next four games where they play Dallas twice, and Philly once will be the truest indicator to what the Giants can be this year. If they continue on this same path, they could be a special team, if they revert to something that resonates of 2009 this season could be an abomination.