New York Giants: Progress Report Headed into Week 8
The dynasty talk will surely begin to pick up again in the world of Big Blue as the New York Giants begin to pull away in the NFC East.
Don't get too far ahead of yourselves, though, because it's important to remember that the Giants followed up their last Super Bowl victory with 11 wins in their first 12 games before suddenly losing four of five and going one-and-done in the playoffs.
What the Giants are doing is exciting and possibly historic, but let's consider how easy it is for everything to fall apart. The Giants appear to have the talent, coaching, perseverance and mental toughness to win yet another Lombardi Trophy. But do they have the luck?
So far, so good. But a lot of time remains on the clock.
Here's a breakdown of where the G-men stand seven weeks into the season.
What They Should Be Thinking
OK, we're 5-2, but we were outplayed by Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington and had to resort to second-half comebacks against Tampa Bay and Cleveland. In other words, we've only really played two complete games in which we were clearly the better team. Out of seven.
I mean, if Josh Wilson and Madieu Williams don't choke hard, we probably don't beat the Redskins in Week 7 and are thus not leading the NFC East right now. We're happy we executed the right play at the right time again, but we're a little concerned that the magic could run out.
Besides, it shouldn't have come down to that against the Redskins. It's hard to believe we trailed that game in the final two minutes. We were at home and they committed four turnovers in the second half alone. On top of all that, they were without key players such as Fred Davis, London Fletcher, Pierre Garcon, Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker.
We found a way to win those games in which we weren't on top of our game, which is more than we can say about how we started last season. If this is a team that peaks late and we're already 5-2 out of the gate, that's an indication that we could be on the verge of becoming dominant down the stretch.
In spite of the hiccups and the injuries, we have the second-highest-rated offense in the league, a much-improved running game and offensive line and a top-10 defense that is giving up only 19.5 points per game. In our Super Bowl 2011 season, we surrendered 25.0 points per.
Plus, the rest of the division is a mess anyway. The Eagles just fired their defensive coordinator, the Cowboys just lost their best defensive player for the remainder of the season and the Redskins are being ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball. The schedule's tough, but we should be able to stroll to another NFC East title.
What I'm Thinking
Stock Rising (Offense): Martellus Bennett
Dallas fans are looking at what Bennett's been doing this year in New York and wondering what the hell kept him from doing the same thing in his Cowboy days. After another stellar performance with five catches for 79 yards on seven targets against the Redskins, the five-year veteran has finally emerged as a top-10 tight end.
Is Prince Amukamara the best defensive back on the roster?
His fantastic first full season continues. Amukamara was beaten just three times for 41 yards against Washington's high-powered offense, grading out as the Giants' best defensive player, according to Pro Football Focus.
Overall, PFF ranks him 12th in coverage among 98 qualifying cornerbacks, which is saving New York's defense—especially when you consider that top Giants corner Corey Webster is ranked 98th out of 98.
Stock Dropping (Offense): Will Beatty
This isn't totally fair to Beatty, who gave up his first sack of the entire season Sunday against the Redskins. He still didn't play poorly and has had an excellent year, but no one else's stock is really dropping on this offense right now. I can't put Eli Manning in this spot because of what he did with a minute to play, and Ramses Barden and Andre Brown might only be non-factors due to injury.
Stock Dropping (Defense): Corey Webster
I know I've already included him in this spot, but this is just getting out of hand. Webster hasn't had a single positive performance this season. If his name wasn't Corey Webster and the Giants weren't so thin in the secondary, he'd have been benched a long time ago.
Regardless, I can't see anyone else in this division putting up much of a fight at this point. However, like I said at the top, there are a lot of games ahead. They need to stay relatively healthy.
View last week's report here
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