Excerpt: "The Giants are second in the league with 27 takeaways (17 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries). Their turnover differential vs. their opponents, a stat coach Tom Coughlin emphasizes, is +11, tied for the third-best in the league. Multiple times this season, including against the Browns, the Redskins and the Cowboys, the Giants have been able to come up with a big turnover in a tight spot.
The depth on the roster has been tested, and itís been good, from Andre Brown and Ramses Bardenís breakout performances against the Panthers, to safety Stevie Brown starting six games for Kenny Phillips, to Sean Locklear being able to step in at both left and right tackle. In past seasons, injuries to starters have derailed the Giants, but theyíve been able to stay afloat.
Kicker Lawrence Tynes leads the league in scoring with 109 points. While the Giants have stalled in the red zone (see below), Tynes has made sure they come away with points. His only two misses (a third was blocked) did come in key spots in losses to the Eagles and the Steelers, but both were short kicks of attempts outside of 50 yards.
WHAT MUST IMPROVE
The Giantsí red-zone offense ranks in the bottom six of the league, scoring touchdowns on just 43.9 percent of their trips inside the 20-yard line. Whatís crazy is that they have more trips to the red zone (41) than every other team but the Patriots, but thatís yielded 21 field goals and 18 touchdowns, illustrating their frustrations over missed chances to put opponents away.
Defensive breakdowns that lead to big plays. The Giants have given up 39 pass plays of 20 yards or more (third-most in the league) and eight pass plays of 40 yards or more (tied for second-most in the league). Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said a common theme has been mental errors and a player biting on what he thinks he sees, i.e. A.J. Greenís 56-yard touchdown.
The return game, on both sides. The Giantsí special-teams coverage has been burned the past two weeks on 68-yard kickoff and 63-yard punt returns by the Steelers, and a 68-yard punt return by the Bengals. Meanwhile, rookie David Wilsonís hot start as a kick returner has cooled, and the Giants havenít done much to set up big punt returns, either, though PR Rueben Randle has made good decisions." Read more...