The New York Giants are entering a much needed bye week, and before they enter their brutal second half of the schedule they have areas that could use some work.
At 4-2, the Giants are one of the pleasant surprises in the NFL, but honestly they should be at least 5-1. Many wrote them off after the amount of injuries they sustained in the preseason, but the team never stopped believing in themselves.
They won't use injuries as an excuse, which is a testament to their character.
This slideshow will highlight five improvements to be made during the bye week; if they can get better in all five areas they will be a scary team moving forward.
First and foremost during the bye week the Giants need to get healthy. On top of all the players they lost for the season, those still around have been banged up quite a bit.
Justin Tuck has missed four games, Brandon Jacobs missed the last two, and Henry Hynoski and Chris Snee each missed the last game.
Oh, and not to mention Ramses Barden, Adam Koets, and Prince Amukamara have all not played a game yet, and the former two are coming off the PUP list, maybe.
If the Giants get these players back they can really get rolling, which they need to with the second half of the schedule.
The Giants have run the ball well against two teams—the Bills and the Eagles. The Eagles had one of the league's worst run defenses for the first five weeks, and the Bills were bad themselves and were missing their starting nose tackle.
Needless to say, running against those two teams isn't an accomplishment.
The offensive line has a ton of work to do. Getting the entire first unit healthy for the first time in three weeks will help, but they weren't very good for the first two games either way.
I have faith they can get it together, they just need to show improvement against Miami.
I could be nit picking here, but the field goal kicking has been off this year. Lawrence Tynes is 4-for-6 on the year, but the four he's made have been from 30 yards or shorter.
The two attempts that were longer have both been blocked. The first was on a low kick by Tynes and the second in the last game the left side of the line just allowed a man to run free at the ball.
The entire unit has to do better.
Perry Fewell gave the defense wrist bands to help the communication problems and it seemed to help against the Bills.
One positive is that the goal line defense always seems to step up—the bend but don't break mentality has worked.
Unfortunately the Giants haven't played a tough schedule, so it's hard to tell if it's good defense or bad offense that's causing the success in the red zone.
They'll get a good test when they travel to New England in two and a half weeks.
The Giants have been terrible against the run over the last four weeks, and if they can't stop the run offenses will be able to move the ball all over them down the stretch.
Getting Justin Tuck back will help immensely, but the defense doesn't need to be using excuses.
Other than a huge 80 yard run by Fred Jackson, the run defense wasn't bad last week. Only problem is that 80 yard run counts, and the back end of the defense looked terrible on the play.
Miami will be a good test coming out of the bye week. They lost their starting quarterback and, despite being 0-5, have a good offensive line and like to run the ball.
Tom Coughlin will have this as a high priority, he's been preaching this to reporters for the past several weeks.
Hopefully it starts to sink in.