I have to admit I did not think the Giants had it in them to beat the Eagles yesterday. After all, the Giants tend to roll over when they play their NFC East rivals from down the turnpike. Losing four in a row and losing 13 of 16 can make an observer cynical about the Giants’ chances.
But the Giants surprised me. They beat the Eagles 28-23 yesterday afternoon at MetLife Stadium to improve to 5-3 for the season.
What was impressive was they did not blow that lead when the Eagles made it close in the fourth quarter. Then again, they did not give the impression they were going to blow this. With the way the Giants played defensively, there was no way they were blowing this lead. The Giants defense made Carson Wentz look like a rookie quarterback. They forced him to throw two interceptions inside Eagles territory in the Eagles’ first two series of the game. That set up the Giants to score couple of touchdowns in the first quarter.
They sacked Wentz twice, and he was running scared for most of the game. That was the impact of the Giants pass rush. They set the tone early.
When the Eagles threatened to score in Giants’ territory, the defense made stops that made the Eagles kick couple of field goals rather than scoring in the end zone. The unit even made stops when the Eagles dared to go for it at fourth down in the first half.
For under $170 million, the Giants are getting so much out of their unit after they spent money to improve it this offseason. Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins have made impacts. Their draft picks on defense has been a reason to be optimistic. After blowing five leads in the fourth quarter last year, this is a different defense. A defense that is to be reckon with.
This unit is why the Giants will likely be a playoff team. It’s not crazy to say they are a Super Bowl contender, either. What the Giants have going for them is no team in the NFC is great. There are so many mediocre teams in that conference. The Cowboys are the best of the bunch, but the Giants can beat them. They already did at AT&T Stadium in their season opener.
The Giants have a fine offense. It’s workable to do well in the NFL. With Eli Manning at the helm, no one is worried about the quarterback. Plus, Odell Beckham Jr. tends to shine in big games. The Giants offensive line and running game are question marks, but then again, wasn’t that the problem in 2008 and 2012 when the Giants won the Super Bowl? That turned out to be okay, right?
The Giants will eventually figure it out with their offensive line and running game. Defense wins championships. That’s how the Giants won Super Bowls in their history. This defense has been the best in quite some time. The Giants defense doesn’t wear down at all, which is a contrast to the last previous years.
The Giants defense is why the Giants should be taken seriously. This is a unit that is getting better. They are playing with confidence. They are intimidating. They wear the quarterbacks, running backs and offensive lines down. For once, the defense is causing fear to the other team rather to their own fans. It’s no wonder why first-year Giants head coach Ben McAdoo does not show any sign of panic on the sidelines unlike his predecessor Tom Coughlin. He knows what he has from his revamped defense.
This defense gives the Giants swagger and an identity. This is a unit that attacks from start to finish. There is no letting up from that unit. That type of confidence can feed off the rest of the Giants players on the roster. Yes, for once, the Giants have everyone feeling good about them. It’s been a long time coming. This is as good as we have saw from the Giants since they last won the Super Bowl.
The only question is how much better can the Giants defense be? They can still even do better than they have showed.
It’s a scary thought for the rest of the NFL teams.