Do not be convinced these New York Giants still have a lot to prove after beating a Redskins team that had really been playing over their heads the first two games is not something that should institute a degree of confidence for Giants fans. The Redskins have had trouble with them for years now. Since 2006 the Giants are 14-4 against the Redskins. It should be noted that this is a number largely influenced by the overall level of the Washington Redskins in the past ten years. Nonetheless it serves as an indicator to show at least that the Giants have been able to make short work of their NFC East rivals in the past ten years.
A win is good, especially when they had none in the first two games. One could even argue that the New York Giants should boast a record of 3-0 right now but they do not, they are 1-2. Of the four times the Giants have started 1-2 under Tom Coughlin, they have missed the playoffs twice and made them twice. They also managed to win the Superbowl in one of those years. That was a very interesting year as they started out not great like this season but as the season went on they improved immensely. It is something they will have to repeat if they want any postseason time.
The 1-2 record is not much of an indicator of them since all the times they have started out 1-2 they finished with vastly different results. The real indicator is the first two games were completely winnable and they did not win. Those two games that they had not only been in but they had been leading throughout.
The Giants have officially stumbled out of the gate. We all knew the team was going to have an iffy defense and would need the offense to click in order for them to be competitive. But it has really been the opposite script for them.
Their run game has been marginal at best and it is clear they lack wide receiver talent to back up Odell Beckham Jr. Ruben Randle had a nice game but will he continue to amass games like he did on Thursday? Probably not, so the bottom line is that they need Victor Cruz back to take pressure off of Beckham and allow him to take advantage of more single coverage. In a surprise turn for the Giants, it seems like they have to focus on really improving offensively.
The defense has not been a problem except late in games, and these are games where one could even argue the offense should have put it out of reach. Also you have to enjoy the turnovers the defense has been causing. Even though they failed to force one in the Falcons game, they still have six in three games, which is a great pace to be causing turnovers at. That turnover rate is one of a good defensive team, and even though they do not have a real star on the defense, a couple of solid players have shown themselves early.
Their second round safety pick Landon Collins, has been showing why he almost went to another team in the first round. And could this be the year Prince Amukamara steps it up and becomes a true shut down corner? Another name nobody seems to really be talking about is Uani Unga.
The BYU product has been a great sleeper addition; he leads the team in tackles and has two interceptions already. This is a guy who suffered a knee injury on the last play of his college career, and that was the ending to a season where he led the nation in tackles. He has not really shown that he can do one thing great but he is solid overall as a linebacker, which is honestly the more valuable thing to have in that position. He even has a knack for being where the ball is at the right time and thats something you cannot teach. The Giants may have finally struck gold on a linebacker and to say they needed it is an understatement.
I think that probably their best defensive player is the ever-improving Jonathan Hankins. He may not be showing up on the stat sheet that much but if you watch the games it is clear he is anchoring a Giants line that can really slow down and stuff an opposing teams run game. They are only allowing 3.4 yards a carry this year and that is tied for fourth best in the league with Arizona. That run stopping toughness has been the key to the rest of the defense playing good, if they can continue to make teams one-dimensional than they should be in most games.
Still, the Giants have had three very winnable games and only come away from one of them with a win. This is not a good remedy seeing as there might be some games down the line where they dont have as good a chance at winning them as they did these three. They have to be more solid overall and take advantage of things when they are playing good. The game Thursday was all but out of reach for the Redskins, until the Giants allowed a 100-yard kick return for a touchdown. It is exactly the timing of this unproven New York Giants team giving up plays like that one that should really give the fans cause for concern. The bottom line is: they still have a lot of work to do before they should be considered a good football team.