Week Eight Review
It wasn’t the prettiest performance, but hey, a win’s a win.
The Giants failed to score a touchdown for the second time this season, but it didn’t matter as Josh Brown went 5-for-5 on field goals to give Big Blue a 15-7 win, their second of the season.
Now sitting at 2-6, the Giants are only two games (tiebreaker not included) behind the division-leading Cowboys, who sit at 4-4. With the team finally gaining some momentum, a division title doesn’t seem so farfetched as it was just a few weeks ago.
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s take a look at what happened against Philadelphia on Sunday.
Eli Manning continues to play mistake-free football. For the second week in a row—both wins—Eli did not throw an interception. The offensive line has improved—but they’re still not a great unit. When faced with pressure, Eli has been more apt to taking the sack.
Still, Eli should not have to run as much as he is. He has been the definition of durable since taking over the starting position midway through the 2004 season, but how much of a beating can he take?
While we’re on the subject of the passing game, the most interesting stat of the game goes to Reuben Randle, who had zero catches for the game. I wonder if Randle’s decreased role has had an effect on the efficiency of the passing game.
The running game continues to improve. Peyton Hillis, while not the flashiest runner, has been smart and consistent. With the myriad of injuries at the running back position, Hillis has been a god-send. Another solid outing: 85 yards on 23 touches and excellent pass protection.
The defense is starting to come into their own a bit. Granted, the Eagles offense was lackluster with a battered Michael Vick and the inexperienced Matt Barkley at the helm, but the effort—and results—were admirable. Shutting out an NFL offense is no easy feat, regardless of the opponent.
Antrel Rolle continues to put his money where his mouth is with his second interception in as many weeks. Will Hill—whose return has been huge for the defense—also recorded a pick. Rolle, Prince Amukamara and Terrell Thomas each forced a fumble as well, with Jacquian Williams recovering one on a would-be scoring drive by the Eagles. As a unit, the defense had four sacks—by far their best pass-rushing performance of the season.
With the improvements on offense and defense, the only unit still having trouble is special teams, specifically, the coverage units. The Giants have surrendered three punt-return touchdowns so far this season, but they found a new way to allow touchdowns on special teams against the Eagles. Zak DeOssie, usually reliable as a long-snapper, sailed a ball over the head of punter Steve Weatherford that was returned by the Eagles for a touchdown—their only points of the game.
Aside from the special teams gaffe, this was a dominant effort by the Giants—their second in as many weeks. They head into the bye feeling good about where they’re heading.
And things will only get better.
The team is about to get healthy. Andre Brown is expected to return from short-term IR after the bye. Markus Kuhn may also return from the PUP list. Brandon Jacobs, who has been nursing a hamstring injury, may also return. Guys like Corey Webster, Jayron Hosley, Shaun Rogers and Adrian Robinson get some extra time to rest the ailments that have plagued them all season. T2 gets to rest his knees. David Wilson continues to fight back from his neck injury.
It’s all coming together.
Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, you probably thought the team was crazy when players said they believed they could win out and make the playoffs. With eight games left, they have five home games. They also face division-rival Washington twice, who has had their fair share of struggles so far this season. They get a rematch with the Cowboys, a team they should’ve beat the first time around (and almost did, despite six turnovers).
To be totally honest, I don’t see how the Giants don’t win at least five of their final eight, which would put them at 7-9. However, if they truly believe they’re a playoff team—and they can be—they’ll need to gut out a few wins against teams like the Packers and Seahawks.
Next up, the Giants get a bye week. Following that, Big Blue will host the Raiders. The game will be on CBS at 1:00 p.m. EST on Nov. 10.