Jason Pierre-Paul enters Week 14 with only 6.5 sacks.
One day after the safety said in a radio interview that the champs must show more of a “nasty attitude” and “get a little bit more dog in us,” Jason Pierre-Paul backed Rolle up, ripping his own defense for not playing with proper intensity.
“I’m behind Rolle a 100%,” JPP said. “I think we’re a little soft.
“We haven’t played our best game this year,” he added. “As a defense, we have to make a statement.”
This kind of attitude is why the Giants have won two Super Bowls over the New England Patriots. And, it's also why New York still sits atop the NFC East in 2012.
Big Blue currently controls its own destiny for the remainder of the regular season, because winning out will result in another division title. Include New York holding head-to-head tiebreakers over the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers and a postseason bye is still possible as well.
What do the Giants need to fix the most on defense?
That said, considering how erratic the Giants have performed since beginning the season 6-2, they must find a way to get refocused.
Well, standout players such as Pierre-Paul and Rolle certainly know what New York is capable of: Especially after how 2011 closed out and the way this season began.
Entering this fall as the defending Super Bowl champions, there's a certain level of psychology that factors into maintaining an elite level of play. Unfortunately for New York, Tom Coughlin's team is just 1-3 over the past four games.
In short, the expectations of constantly having to live up to the hype have taken their toll.
Then again, no Super Bowl champion has repeated since the 2004 Patriots, either.
Interestingly enough, what also helps regarding Pierre-Paul and Rolle's viewpoints is New York's remaining schedule. Hosting the New Orleans Saints this week, Big Blue then plays the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens on the road before welcoming the Philadelphia Eagles to finish the regular season.
New Orleans is still alive for the NFC Wild Card, and the Falcons and Ravens are looking to earn a January bye. So, for the Giants to make the playoffs, let alone claim a second straight division title, they must step up to the challenge.
With the pass rush having been inconsistent compared to 2011, the Giants also allow 4.6 yards per carry and a 63.1 completion percentage. Plus, Eli Manning and the offense has averaged a mere 16.3 points per game in the previous three losses.
So, these teams will simply force the Giants to play better and more consistently, as all three can move the ball with explosive balance and their defenses are capable of generating turnovers.
As a result, Big Blue's postseason odds are at risk heading into this and every subsequent Sunday.
“As a defense, like, we have to make a statement,” Pierre-Paul said. “We haven’t made a statement ever since, I’ll say, San Francisco. Well, I’m lying, because we did beat up on Green Bay quite a little bit. But, ever since then, we haven’t made a statement. We’ve just been losing. And we’re all not playing together. When you’re a team, on an organization like this, you’ve got to play together as one. Otherwise, you’ll keep going downhill.
There is, however, good news. Looking back at what the Giants have done thus far in 2012, they still sit at 7-5 and in the division lead.
Aside from dominating the 49ers and Packers, though, New York has not put together a string a convincing victories.
In other words, Big Blue remains in the hunt for a postseason bye despite not playing its best on a weekly basis.
They're not peaking, but their position is still better than the vulnerable alternative we saw exposed by the Packers in 2011: Hitting the pinnacle too soon proves costly in January.
Therefore, what New York did in 2007 and 2011 epitomizes the only relevant matter in pro football: getting to the second season and winning Super Bowls.
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