Here is where the Giants are out of 32 teams in the following Defensive categories (ranking is 1 best/desirable to 32nd worst)..
Yards/game allowed- 22nd
1st downs allowed- 20th
3rd down %- 8th
Penalty Yards allowed- 23rd
Pts allowed per Game- 24th
Rushing Yards per game- 27th
Rushing Yards per Attempts- 18th
Passing Yards per game- 18th
Passing Attempts per attempt- 19th
(QB) Passer Rating- 14th
Completion %- 18th
Next, we need to normalize all of the stats above. If you take the OFFENSIVE ranking of the 6 teams the Giants have faced, this is what it looks like:
Yards Gained Per Game
WAS 344 (15th)
STL 301 (28th)
PHI 442 (3rd)
AZ 339 (17th)
SEA 263 (31st)
BUF 379 (10th)
Average 345 (which would be 15th in ranking)
So what this says is that the Giants defense played against a typically ~average offense thus far, making the numbers at the top fairly representative. There is enough to glean from the data: as we all implicitly understand, the pass rush is outstanding. And as we know from last year, Fewell gets those turnovers. But the problem is that overall, this is still a pretty mediocre defense. By allowing yards per game and pt per game that are in the ~ in the bottom quartile of the league, this is not a stingy defense in any sense. When you consider the turnovers that the team creates, it means when it is not turning over the ball, it is giving up even more points. So what that means is that it is going to live and die by the turnover- when it faces a team that can protect the ball, the Gmen will have trouble.
The Giants are 27th in Rushing yards allowed per game, giving up 128 yards per game. Where is the NY Giants identity? This may be a passing league, but if you cannot defend the run, what that means is that you are vulnerable to any playcall.
Let’s also look at the rankings of the “offensive” teams the Giants face in the last 9 games:
MIA20, NE1, SF27, PHL3, NO2, GB4, DAL6, WAS15, NYJ29, DAL6
That is an average of the ~11th ranked offense. If you wanted to be utterly simplistic and say that the below average defense of the Giants will lose to single digit ranked offenses and win vs double digit ranked offenses, then the Giants will win vs MIA, SF, WAS and the NYJ and they will lose to NE, PHL, NO, GB, DAL and DAL. That would make the NY Giants 4-6 in the post bye, and 8-8 overall. Life is not a script. The Giants rate to win a few games they would normally be expected to lose (PHL Week 3) and lose a few games they would normally be expected to win (SEA Week 5). So much depends on health and other factors, but the Giants still control their own fate in a significant way. As an example, the Patriots, Packers and Saints all have defenses that are for the most part ordinary. If Gilbride and the offense can step it up and take on more responsibility, the Giants can win a couple of shootouts with some of the better teams that they face. If they take care of business vs the lesser teams, they can turn 8-8 into 10-6 and win the division. That is still a big “IF.” Defense wins championships and we have yet to see in ANY game the Giants play 60 minutes of strong defense. At the end of the day, we know Gilbride’s offense will leave a few points on the field, but how tight will the defense play? Here are three questions: (1) Can this secondary come together? (2) Can Tuck play the rest of the season? (3) Can Jacquian Williams improve in the second half of the season or will he tire like many rookies? If Fewell can provide some answers, the Giants can provide a few more wins.