According the Football Outsiders, the NY Giants were the 6th best defense in the NFL for forcing 3-and-Outs in 2010.
This doesn’t mean everything, but 3rd down defense is certainly going to be one of the most important aspects of the game for the Giants in 2011. Coverage means the most, and pressure means the most — because eliminating those first downs and giving the sputtering offense another shot with decent field positions is going to be key for the Giants this year, just like it was in 2007-2008. Overall, the Giants had the #3 best Defense according to their weighted DVOA. So 3-and-outs are important, so are forcing turnovers and sacks though….
The rankings somewhat follow the rankings for the best defensive DVOA ratings, except that teams which get a lot of turnovers and sacks will rank lower on the frequency of three-and-outs. Pittsburgh, for example, was just average in three-and-outs per drive.
I have no doubt the Giants can improve on these rankings across the board in 2011 – and I would love to see them do it. Aaron Ross needs to have a huge year, Michael Boley needs to continue looking impressive, and JPP needs to really step it up. Based on what we saw Monday nights exhibitions from the #1′s and the pressure they can get shut down a pretty good offense and prevent them from making headway downfield. They are pretty ready, like Tuck said. Now they just need to show it in the regular season.