2. NY Giants’ Defense Strong
There were a number of legitimate question marks surrounding the NY Giants defense coming into the 2020 season. The team cut last year’s first-round draft pick Deandre Baker due to armed robbery charges he was facing, cornerback Sam Beal opted out of the season due to COVID-19, 2020 second-round pick Xavier McKinney is recovering from a fractured foot, the team cut last year’s fifth-round pick linebacker Ryan Connelly, linebacker David Mayo was out with an injury, leaving a number of big holes in the Giants defense.
Additionally, the Giants defense had James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, Logan Ryan, Devante Downs as new free agent signings, and Darnay Holmes as a 2020 fourth-round draft pick, all starting their first game with their new team. Without any live-action to work together, adding that many new pieces left the defense with a lot of uncertainty as to how it would perform in their first game together.
The results were extremely encouraging. The defensive line and outside linebackers routinely were able to get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger. Martinez was extremely impressive in his first game with the Giants, recording 12 total tackles, and one tackle for a loss. Bradberry was excellent in coverage recording five total tackles and two pass deflections while helping to hold Ju Ju Smith-Schuster to only 69 yards on six catches.
On the night, the NY Giants defense would record two sacks, two forced fumbles, and held the Steelers to five plays or less on five of their ten drives. The defense was playing with great intensity and made the Steelers earn their points.
There were a lot of positives on the defensive side of the ball where five of the 11 starters were new to the roster this year. As this team begins to gain familiarity with one another and starts to gel, it could become a very formidable defense. Especially if they can add a healthy Xavier McKinney to the mix.