Two wins at the halfway point of the season may not look good on paper, but it looks a whole lot better than not having any at all. Although, the New York Giants have a record of just 2-6, they are still in the playoff hunt, as the Dallas Cowboys, who are currently in first place in the NFC East, are only 5-4.
The Giants have won their past two games on the back of their defense, which has not let up a single point over their last nine quarters of football. Along the way, the defensive unit has shut down two of the NFL‘s most prolific running backs.
In Week 7, New York put the clamps on Adrian Peterson, holding him to just 28 yards on the ground en route to a 23-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings. The Giants stacked the box, placing confidence in their secondary and forcing Josh Freeman to beat them through the air. He didn’t.
The week after, the Giants traveled to Philadelphia and took on a struggling Eagles team. New York bottled up LeSean McCoy, surrendering just 48 yards to him on 15 carries.
Although both the Vikings and the Eagles were having issues at the quarterback position, Peterson and McCoy are both juggernauts at the running back position. Peterson is currently ranked second in the NFL in rushing and McCoy is third. There’s no shock there, as both franchise backs have established themselves as two of the league’s elite rushers.
On Sunday, the Giants welcome the Oakland Raiders (3-5) into MetLife. Oakland has the fifth-ranked rushing attack in the NFL, averaging 147.8 yards per game. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor is the team’s leading rusher with 485 yards and running backs Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings have rushed for a combined 594 yards.
The reason their offense is not more explosive is because of their inability to pass the football. With a passing game that ranks just 30th in the league, the Raiders offense sputters when the running game is locked down.
Look for the Giants to employ a similar defensive strategy that we’ve seen from them the past couple of weeks. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will bring the linebackers and safeties into the box to contain the run. Cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Terrell Thomas have responded by allowing very little on the outside.
This looks to be one of New York’s easier games in the second half of their schedule. We’ll see if the Giants can add to their win total coming off their bye week.