Inside the Numbers – Giants Edition

Best team in the NFL?

I enjoy numbers in sports. And while I  know that statistics can be made to say almost anything they want if you’re good enough with them (I’m talking about advanced statistics with regression models and blah blah blah), I think they can be useful to highlight trends.

So let’s take a look at some interesting numbers of the Giants this year and decide if they are numbers indicative of a true trend, or irrelevant.

5-2

The NY Giants Record, which is pretty good. But something I was subconsciously aware of but not thinking about right now is that since Tom Coughlin took over the NY Giants (7 years) the Giants have been 5-2 6 TIMES. The one time they were not 5-2, they were 6-1 in 2008.

The Giants, under Tom Coughlin have been great starters, but for the most part poor finishers. So far this has been a trend.

With 5 divisional games left this season this could be a disturbing Trend, but I hope not. This could be a different team this year.

101.1 Yards per game that Ahmad Bradshaw is averaging which makes him the fourth most effective running back in the league. First is Adrian Peterson, followed by Darren McFadden (111.4), and Arian Foster (105.8). Bradshaw has rushed for 708 yards this season, which is best in the league, but while bye weeks are still going on it’s better to judge a player by yards per game because Bradshaw has not had a bye while other players have had. Speaking of Mcfadden he has rushed for 5.5 yards per carry and has nearly 200 yards receiving in only 5 games played, he has been Excellent this year. Third year, breaking out year, let’s give Barden, Beckum, Sintim a little time still because players this young still can explode.

I think this number is a Trend, but of course I have to be worried about whether or not he’ll remain healthy because he has not done so yet in his short career.

50,000 the turnover number by the Giants.

Well, that’s an exaggeration.

But Eli Manning has 15, which is ridiculous. I’m a huge Eli supporter, but this has to stop. The first one to Steve Smith bad pass, the second one to Hakeem Nicks 50/50. Nicks can make that catch, and if you can’t knock it down not up. The third one was TERRIBLE. Very stupid play. That was a Brett Favre play. I don’t think Eli holds onto the ball too long in fact I think he’s pretty good at getting rid of it pretty quick. Most of the fumbles are David Diehl’s fault to be honest, when he gets blown away around the edge and Eli has no time to see the sack coming.

-5 Turnover Ratio. Which is also bad.

Eli is not the only culprit.

Bradshaw has lost 4 fumbles, Jacobs has lost 1? (that’s what NFL.com says, but I could have sworn he lost one the other week? Am I wrong?)

I think this is a semi-trend. I don’t expect Eli Manning to keep getting unlucky with so many tips and I think he’ll cut those down a lot. I think Bradshaw is a fumbler at this point, which isn’t great, but it’s okay if he keeps running the way he’s running. What will make this change will be a lot of off-season work, not in season work where it’s much harder to make an adjustment.

I also get a little worried about Hakeem Nicks holding the ball like a loaf of bread, even though he could palm a beach-ball and he usually does that when he’s running away from people, but one of those is bound to pop out and Darius Reynaud has done everything in the world to try and lost a fumble, but hasn’t yet.

525, 8 Yards and touchdowns for Hakeem Nicks this year. Nicks has played very well, and even though he didn’t have a good game vs Dallas there were a couple of opportunities.

Nicks has missed too many opportunities (a lot of tipped/deflected passes), but this kid is a play maker. He doesn’t have the raw talent of Dez Braynt, but I think he’s more humble, will be a harder worker a better route runner, and has the better QB. I think they’ll both be good for awhile to come, though I hope I’m wrong with Dez Bryant.

Nicks is second in the league in receptions (45) behind only Roddy White and tied with Reggie Wayne.  He’s 7th in yards, 1st in touchdowns, and second in receptions more than 20 yards (11). This year though Nicks has Zero receptions over 40 yards, which will change at some point this season.

His yards per reception isn’t great at 11 yards per reception, but I think that is because of the naked boot screens that he gets twice a game, and he hasn’t broken any of those for big gains yet.

Nicks is  a trend. Very good young player.

43 receptions by Steve Smith. Smith is still being very productive this year. He is quietly chugging along and is on pace for nearly 100 receptions again this year (he’s averaging just over 6 a game, if he gets six his next game he’ll have 49 through 8 games thus on pace for 96 over a full season). Trend

4.9 Yards per rushing attempt by Brandon Jacobs. Is he back? Two weeks ago I had no confidence that he was, I’m getting there. He definitely looks like he is getting there, I’d like to see him play well again vs a good defense before my confidence is all the way back.

5.9 This would be great if this was yards per rush attempt, but it’s not. It’s yards per returned punt. This is AWFUL. I know he hasn’t fumbled yet, but I wonder how long Coughlin will allow Reynaud to be the punt return man. When you watch Mario Manningham catch a naked screen and just make people miss all over the place you wonder what he would look like returning punts. Unfortunately this looks like a trend for Reynaud. What’s as bad is his 18.4 yards per kick return (yuck). The longest is 31.

9. Catches made against Corey Webster through most of the Cowboys game. I’m not sure if there were any at the end of the game vs Webster, but through the third quarter of the game Webster had 9 targeted receptions against him on the season. That is VERY Good. That’s through nearly 7 games. That’s barely a reception a game. Terrell Thomas has been lined up vs more number one WR, but that might change if Webster keeps playing this way. Trend. Webster was the best CB in the league in 2008, but took a step back last year. He’s playing much better this year.

5 quarterbacks knocked out of games.The Giants have abused QB this year, and the Giants hit Jay Cutler so hard he hasn’t been the same since. Cutler has 7 INT on the season, but he only had 2 entering the Giants game. Aberration. I don’t see this continuing. Now the hits on the quarterbacks, and the 24 sacks I think are a trend and I enjoy watching QB’s leave the game, I just don’t think it’ll continue.

ZERO The sacks that Jason Pierre Paul has this season. He has been SO close so many times and I think he has created a lot of pressure and collapsed a lot of pockets when he has moved inside, but he has zero sacks. He has 9 tackles on the season. Interesting note Tyson Alualu has 21 tackles and a sack and a half in the early season from the interior line position so far he doesn’t look like quite the reach many of us though he was at 9 overall. Bound to Change. He’s so powerful and fast, but he does lack some refinement. I think he has some football instincts and intelligence because he seems to be around plays a lot, he’s just not making them yet. He did have that interception and he’s been very close to a few of Osi strip sacks, at some point it will click and he will be making those plays he’s just missing now.

7 Total Interceptions by the Giants this season. They have such a great pass rush and have done a good job of limiting big plays, but they haven’t intercepted a lot of passes. There are 12 teams ahead of the Giants in this category and four other teams with as many Interceptions as the Giants. Trend. I’d like to see them get more interceptions and they have the talent to do so Kenny Phillips and Rolle each only have one interception and no linebackers or defensive linemen have any interceptions, but I don’t see it changing really because teams are already starting to run a lot of screens and short routes because the pass rush is getting to the QB so fast. It’s hard to intercept the ball. It does seem that every tipped ball the Giants has ends up in the oppositions hands while all the Giants tipped passes on defense hit the ground I think limiting yardage, getting sacks, and forcing quick punts are more likely to occur than lots of interceptions, also because the Giants have held the ball for 33:22 minutes per game this season. When your defense faces less opportunities they create less turnovers.

12/12 This is an interesting number I just found. This is the number of field goals attempted and the number of makes. How likely is it that teams go an entire season without missing a field goal? Statistical anomaly.

32/89 Third down conversions. This is awful. This can NOT be a TREND if they want to be serious about doing something really good this year.

And lastly here are the Giants team rankings

25 points per game (9th overall), 388.7 yards (3rd), 243.3 passing yards (9th), 145.4 rush yards (4th)

and on defense

21.9 points per game (19th), 263.3 yards (2nd), 177.9 pass yards per game (second), 85.4 rush yards per game (3rd)

Now the thing that needs to change is points per game, although this may be misleading because of the terrible field position the defense has had to deal with.

I think it’d be poignant to see where they rank in points per game minus points off of turnovers. Thoughts and comments?


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