No longer should the G-Men focus on injuries to key players or losses to bad teams—those occurred in the past and should hold no bearing on the future as they push for a playoff berth.
And when the Giants make the playoffs, anything can happen (read: Super Bowl run).
With several factors in their favor, the New York Football Giants have plenty of reasons as to why they’ll be a dangerous opponent come playoff time…
It’s a fact that the New York Giants have one of the toughest—if not the toughest—second-half schedule in the NFL.
The good news for Giants fans is that if their team can survive a brutal late-season schedule, they’ll be prepared for anything the playoffs will throw at them.
I’m not saying that the Giants have to win the remaining games on their schedule—and with the likes of the Saints, Packers and Cowboys on it, it seems unlikely—but they do have to play well over the last seven weeks of the regular season to ready themselves for the playoffs.
Hard-fought losses can often build more character in a team than easy victories can. If Big Blue grinds out a few tough games in this upcoming stretch, they’ll be ready for the pressure of a postseason game against any opponent.
The defensive line of the New York Giants has always been known for its pass-rushing ability. The fact that the G-Men can pressure the opposing quarterback without having to resort to blitzes is a key facet of their defense.
In the playoffs, that skill will certainly come in handy.
Against likely playoff opponents Green Bay, New Orleans or San Francisco, the Giants will need to be able to get to the quarterback without sending extra rushers—something they should be able to accomplish.
And since the road to the Super Bowl will probably go through Green Bay, pressuring Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers without blitzing will be the game’s most important aspect.
All season, Giants defensive tackles Chris Canty and Linval Joseph have occupied central blockers, allowing defensive ends Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Pierre-Paul to have free reign on the edges.
The presence of the D-line for New York has led to 30 team sacks so far, nearly twice that of their opponents. Opposing quarterbacks take note; come playoff time, the Giants will be looking to boost those numbers.
New York Giants wide receivers Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz have been relied upon to carry the offense this season, knowing that injuries to the New York defense might result in more shootouts than defensive battles this year.
Even emerging tight end Jake Ballard has gotten in on the pass-catching action—watch the tape of the fourth-quarter comeback against New England for proof.
The G-Men have the receiving weapons to compete with anyone in the league. Outside of Green Bay or New Orleans, the New York Giants receiving corps might be the best in the NFC. And when you factor in Big Blue’s record at 6-3 and the fact that the team sits atop the NFC East, the offensive firepower of the Giants is even more impressive.
The G-Men will force a playoff opponent to be honest on defense—in short, less blitzing—since they possess receivers capable of drawing attention from multiple defensive backs.
As far as the “ground-and-pound” or “establish the run” philosophies go, Giants fans are content to let quarterback Eli Manning air the ball out as long as his receivers keep pulling it in.
Team experience is an unquantifiable aspect, but often one of the deciding factors in terms of playoff success.
The playoffs are a different animal; regular-season success doesn’t necessarily guarantee that a team will win in January. Lucky for the New York Giants—or unlucky for their opponents—experience is not in short supply for Big Blue.
The Giants won three consecutive playoff road games en route to a Super Bowl victory against the previously undefeated New England Patriots in 2008. The experience of winning on the road in the playoffs cannot be understated with the G-Men.
Although it won’t show up in the box score, any potential New York playoff victory this season will—to some measure—be attributed to the fact that the Giants have an experienced team.
When it comes to the playoffs, would you be more worried about facing a team with no experience or lots of it?
My thoughts exactly.