Can the Giants pull a ‘Walter White’ and turn around the franchise’s first 0-4 start since 1987? The historic crime drama, “Breaking Bad”, walked us through the process of transformation for 62 episodes over five gripping seasons. The show taught its viewers (among other lessons) to never shortchange or take for granted an individual’s potential, to do good or bad. This lesson can be seamlessly applied to fans of all sports, and is quite apropos for the New York Giants fan base on this Monday morning. Reasons for optimism, however far-fetched they may be seem, do exist.
- NFC East: The Cowboys second half debacle in San Diego ensured the Giants would remain only two games out of first place in the uninspiring East. Washington and Philadelphia both sit at 1-3, and both rank in the bottom five on the NFL in overall team defense (as do the Giants).
- The Schedule: Two games remain with the Redskins and Eagles respectively, as well as a home tilt with Dallas in late November. The Giants remaining foes have a composite record of 19-20 through a quarter of the season. Clashes with Oakland and Minnesota at the Meadowlands are must-wins.
- David Wilson Untracked: Of utmost importance, “Flip” has seen more field time in the past two weeks. He played on 49% of snaps in week three and 45% at Kansas City on Sunday. 70 of his 94 rush yards in the two weeks have come after initial contact and he’s escaped six in-the-grasp tackles. Runs of 18 and 15 yards are small potatoes given his game breaking explosiveness, but incremental progress is a welcome sight.
- Maturity of Reuben Randle: The Eli Manning to Randle connection needs to find its groove, quickly. Four of Randle’s 23 targets have been picked off, while only 11 have been completed (47.8%). With Hakeem Nicks struggling to see the ball into his mitts, the future is now for the former LSU standout who possesses all the requisite talent attributes.
- Amukamara’s Island: Prince Amukamara followed up a strong effort at Carolina with near perfect coverage against KC. Four balls were thrown in his direction, three were incomplete and he intercepted the other. According to the rating system at Pro Football Focus, he grades out as a top-five coverage corner.
- Linval Joseph Stuffing the Run: Joseph has made 11 solo tackles, eight of which fall under the criteria for “stops” (result in an offensive failure). He’s the 9th rated DT/NT against the run. The Giants brass is already talking contract extension with the 2014 free agent, who will turn 25 next month.
- Increased workload for Damontre Moore: The hybrid OLB/DE has played only 13 defensive snaps. The Giants need a spark and desperately need an edge pass rush. At 0-4, it’s time for more of Moore.
Last but not least, Tom Coughlin channels his inner Heisenberg, shaves his head and grows a goat. Now that would constitute wishful thinking. But believe in a ‘giant’ transformation, even if hinted at residue won’t pay dividends until 2014-2015.
*premium stats provided by profootballfocus.com*