How New York Giants Can Get to Double-Digit Wins
Finishing the season with double-digit victories doesn’t necessarily guarantee a postseason appearance. Think back to the 2010 season; the Giants lost two of their last three games, finishing just shy of the playoffs with a 10-6 record.
Having at least 10 wins is a fair marker for success, though. The Giants, who are now 3-2 on the season, need seven more wins to reach the 10-win milestone.
The Giants have a chance to reach 10 wins on the season, but they’ll have to follow a strict formula to get there. This article will point out four aspects of the game that New York must master in order to reach double-digit wins in 2012.
Protect Eli Manning
If the first five games of the season have taught Giants fans anything, it’s that the team has a unique ability to overcome injuries. No matter how lengthy the injury report may grow, New York’s fearless leader Eli Manning finds a way to win.
Manning is the key component to the Giants offense; without him, the gears don’t turn. He has shown the ability to single-handedly take over a game, as the ninth-year veteran has thrown for over 1,600 yards, so far, this season.
Manning is on pace to break his career high for yardage, which was set just a season ago (4,933). If the Giants are smart, they will try to do everything in their control to keep Manning on that record-setting pace.
Keeping Manning’s production up starts with good protection. New York’s offensive line has done a solid job keeping the heat off Manning, so far, allowing only four sacks all season. If the line continues to perform like that, Manning will have all the time he needs to pick apart any defense.
Both offensive tackles have played a huge part in the Giants’ stellar protection this season. Will Beatty has recovered nicely from a preseason marked with back troubles, and Sean Locklear has filled in seamlessly for the injured David Diehl.
Beatty and Locklear have escorted almost all edge rushes away from Manning, keeping him upright and allowing him more time to hit targets downfield.
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw is also extremely reliable in pass protection. His ability to fend off blitzing linebackers earned him a start over hot-hand Andre Brown in Week 4, which demonstrates the team’s dedication to Manning’s health.
Learn from Past Mistakes
New York’s two losses this season have both been heartbreakers, but luckily for the Giants, they will have a chance to avenge both of those losses before the season comes to a close.
The Giants’ Week 1 loss to the Cowboys was definitely not how they imagined their Super Bowl-defending season would begin. And while impressive wins over the Bucs and Panthers in the following weeks certainly softened the blow, a Week 4 loss to the Eagles brought the team crashing back down to earth.
If there are two teams that New York hates to lose to, they are Dallas and Philadelphia. Head coach Tom Coughlin mentioned how difficult losses like those are, especially given his age, after falling to the Eagles by only two points, according to Jenny Vrentas of The Star-Ledger.
Coughlin and the Giants will have to be motivated by those losses moving forward. With the Cowboys rematch only three weeks away, the Giants should have the taste of defeat fresh in their mouths when they meet again.
The Giants will surely want to settle the score with Dallas in Week 8, but there’s no way that game’s atmosphere will come anywhere close to New York’s Week 17 rematch with Philadelphia.
There is no telling where the season will go from here, but as of right now, the Giants and Eagles are tied for the division lead, and that final game of the season could end up having serious playoff implications.
The Giants will want to have a better outing against these two teams when given the opportunity. In order to do so, they’ll need to identify and improve upon the mistakes they made in the earlier matchups.
Find Consistency in Running Game
The Giants’ Week 5 win over Cleveland proved that a successful running game is still a crucial part of the winning formula. The league may be more pass-oriented than years past, and Manning’s arm may have led New York to countless clutch victories, but the best offenses are always the most balanced ones.
The Giants have been limited on the ground in a few games this season, but against the Panthers and Browns, New York relied heavily on a strong running game.
The Giants won both of those games, doubling their opponents in rushing yards on both occasions. Against Carolina, Brown had 113 yards while filling in for Bradshaw. His 5.7 yards per carry helped New York possess the ball for more than 36 minutes in that game.
Bradshaw eventually one-upped Brown, though, with his 200-yard performance against the Browns. Bradshaw ran with determination after losing a fumble on the team’s first offensive play from scrimmage. His tough running allowed the Giants to exclusively control the pace of the game after claiming the lead late in the second quarter.
Whether it’s Brown or Bradshaw—or even Wilson, who took one of his two handoffs for a 40-yard touchdown on Sunday—carrying the ball for the Giants, they’ll need to do it with a sense of purpose.
Create Turnovers on Defense
The Giants defense has been far from stifling this year. They’ve shown an ability to clamp down in the red zone, but aside from that, opposing offenses have seemingly been able to move the ball down the field at will.
So far this season, New York has gotten minimal production out of their superstar defensive ends. They’ve also been hit hard with injuries at the defensive tackle and secondary positions, making them especially susceptible to both the run and the pass.
The Giants have dealt with these deficiencies accordingly, though, by relying on their defense to cause turnovers. For the most part, the strategy has worked, but the plan tends to backfire when New York is unable to win the turnover battle.
The Giants have forced a total of 10 turnovers in the three games they’ve won this season. However, in the two games that the team has lost, New York has only managed to record one turnover.
The inability to cause turnovers hurt the team especially hard against the Eagles. Philadelphia’s offense didn’t play a particularly explosive game, but they did play a nearly flawless one. By keeping the ball out of harm's way, the Eagles were able to successfully expose New York’s reliance on the takeaway.
If the Giants defense doesn’t improve soon, they’ll need to continue to count on their luck in the turnover battle. Otherwise, the Giants will quickly find themselves on the losing side of .500.