The New York Giants defense has been difficult to predict this season. I can personally attest to this—two weeks ago, I predicted that the Giants defense would not be able to handle San Francisco’s offense, but it ended up holding the 49ers to three points all game. The following week, I predicted that their defensive adjustments would lead to dominant performances in the future only to watch Robert Griffin III and the Redskins offense tear them apart in Week 7.
New York’s defensive “split personality” is reminiscent of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous 1886 novella, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. However, even though the defense has played inconsistently, it has still found ways to win.
We know that, as a whole, the Giants’ rush defense has been poor—the team has given up an average of five yards per carry, which ranks 30th in the league. We also know that the pass defense has struggled. New York’s opponents have averaged 8.7 yards per pass attempt, which ranks 30th in the league as well.
So, in order to figure out what has kept the Giants defense together this season, we’ll have to analyze some statistics that often go unnoticed. Even though New York has not done well in the more popular, aforementioned statistical categories, the defense has thrived in other categories that have really made a difference.
This article will stick to the facts, highlighting the four major statistical categories that the Giants have dominated on defense in 2012.