The New York Giants are 3-7 as they enjoy their bye week (if only that were true) and we took this time to analyze what they need to improve upon as they prepare to close out this wild, unique NFL season.
The Giants are currently in second place in the NFC East behind Philadelphia (3-5-1) and need to look inward to fix their problems rather than scoreboard watch.
“The importance needs to be improving as a team,” head coach Joe Judge said this week. “All that other stuff will take care of itself. Cincinnati is a good team. We have to get ready and go ahead and improve ourselves internally.
“Turn the page and move on to Cincinnati and get ready for a tough game out there. We have a tough stretch of games coming up. We can’t go ahead and start looking at rankings and division races and all that type of stuff. We just have to focus on getting better each week. That’s what will ultimately help us in the long run.”
And just how can they do that? They’ve won their last two games after they reorganized the offensive line which has led to a more balanced attack and fewer turnovers. But there’s always room for improvement. Let’s not forget those two wins cams at the expense of two very flawed teams in Washington and Philadelphia.
Here is what has been been happening on offense this season and where the need to improve.
The running game has kicked into gear. After averaging 56.7 yards per game the first three weeks, the Giants have averaged 133.5 over the past seven. That appears to have been the key to success. They are 3-4 over that period and those four losses were by a total of 14 points. The top rusher, however, has been quarterback Daniel Jones (384 yards) but the combination of Wayne Gallman and Alfred Morris has injected some life into the rushing attack.
It’s the passing game where the Giants have to ramp things up. Again, Jones has rarely had the use of all of his weapons on the field at the same time. The passing game has been a dink and dunk affair most of the time and needs to start stretching the field.
We began to see signs of that happening in recent weeks. Jones is averaging just 6.4 yards per completion, 28th in the NFL, and has just three completions over 40 yards. The longest completion of the season was for 50 yards and went to rookie Austin Mack. With such a concentration on short passes, you would think that Jones would have a high completion percentage but his rate is just 63.5%.
Another key area where improvement is needed is on third downs. The Giants are averaging just a sliver over 40% on third downs (24th in the NFL). The good news is they are converting almost 70% on fourth downs, which is seventh best in the league. Much of the issues on third downs has come from pass protection. Jones has not had many clean pockets to throw from and then he’s been the victim of drops. That’s been cleaned up a bit over the last two games, but they will have to tighten things up if they are going make a run at the division.