Courtesy of GMENHQ’s Newest contributing writer – Meghan Herlihy
Giants players, coaches, staff and fans were alike were over the moon after last
week’s 29-16 triumph over the “Dream Team” Eagles. More than one reporter
noted that the atmosphere in the New York locker room felt like one of a team
that had just won a playoff game.
These same reporters were all quick to point out that the Giants have to be
careful to not be satisfied with the win over the Eagles to avoid a huge letdown
in the upcoming game against the Cardinals. But you should not worried about
the G-men falling flat for the following reasons:
Red Zone Prowess
The Giants struggles in the red zone- on both offense and defense- in the past
few seasons are all too familiar; think back to 2009-10, where they converted
on just 48.21% of their trips inside the 20. This year, New York has scored a
touchdown on 83% (five out of six) of their red zone opportunities- more than
anyone else in the league.
While most of New York’s defensive statistics aren’t necessarily impressive on
paper, they’ve done well inside their own 20. Last week, the Eagles were in the
Giants’ red zone five times. The results? Only one touchdown, three field goals,
and an interception.
Taking advantage of opportunities inside the red zone while forcing your
opponents to settle for field goals is generally a recipe for success in the NFL and
it’s something the Giants have excelled at against the Rams and Eagles.
The Giants are taking the ball away more than they’re giving it up. Big Blue is
+4 in the turnover department so far this year, averaging a takeaway per game
while tied for the least number of giveaways in the league. They’re also taking
advantage of the turnovers they cause. The Giants have scored 28 points off of
turnovers this season.
Arizona is on the opposite end of the spectrum. They turn the ball over
roughly twice per game. Kevin Kolb, still adjusting to a new system, has three
interceptions in as many games. If the Giants should be able to pressure him
into making mistakes, especially since it seems likely that both Justin Tuck and
Osi Umenyiora will play.
The team that takes care of the ball is almost always the team that triumphs,
and the turnover battle is one the Giants have been winning up to this point.
One thing we know about Tom Coughlin is that he seems to be able to keep his
team grounded in most situations. The Giants under Coughlin have never been
a team given to postulating or bragging. They prefer to let their play on the
field do the talking. And no matter how impressive or satisfying a win may be,
Coughlin allows his team to savor it on Sunday and then look ahead to their next
opponent and get right back to work on Monday.
Think back to 2007-08, when the Giants won Super Bowl XLII but started off the
year 0-2. Their last-minute, goal line stand to seal the week 3 victory against the
Redskins must have been very fulfilling for the players, especially the embittered
defense. But Coughlin said that, as heartening as that game was, he didn’t want
the team to sit back and be satisfied with the win, that they would continue to
work and improve off of it to win more games- a message that was echoed by
several of his players. The Giants went on to win five more games in a row after
While it’s hard to believe that Coughlin could be anything but excited after Big
Blue’s win over the Eagles last Sunday, we can almost certainly count on the fact
that he made sure his team was looking ahead to Arizona, to build off instead of
dwelling on the victory in Philadelphia.
It’s impossible to guarantee that the Giants will beat the Cardinals, as anything
can happen on any given Sunday. It should be a relatively evenly matched
game. But it would be astonishing indeed if the Giants do not come ready to
(All statistics courtesy of www.teamrankings.com)