It wouldn’t be right to start this week’s microscope without acknowledging the vast contributions that New York Giants owner Wellington Mara made to this game of Pro Football that we all know and love. While I’m underqualified to give anyone an NFL history lesson, Sports Illustrated writer Peter King does a fine job in this article. Have a look if you’d like to know why the NFL dominates today’s American sports landscape.
The NFC East is quickly becoming the toughest division in football, and the New York Giants are trying to prove that they are the class of the division. While they may or may not be successful in that endeavor, they did score an impressive victory over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. If the Giants go on to a deep playoff run this season, that game will be looked upon as a turning point in their season and something of a coming-out party for soon-to-be elite quarterback Eli Manning. The competition in their division may be tough, but the team who wins the NFC Eest war of attrition will be well-prepared come playoff time. Let’s fire up the ol’ microscope and see what kind of chance the Giants will have.
|Team Stats (numbers in parentheses are NFL Ranking)|
|Rushing Offense||108.5 (17)||6 (t12)|
|Passing Offense||223.7 (13)||12 (t3)|
|Rushing Defense||116.0 (21)||5 (t15)|
|Passing Defense||295.8 (31)||9 (t16)|
|18 takeaways (t2)
10 giveaways (t12)
+8 overall (t2)
Usually we see teams highly ranked on one side of the offense, and low on the other. The Giants’ stats show a very balanced offense. The best way for a young quarterback to learn is to have plenty of help from the running game, but still be allowed to make throws all over the field behind good protection. The Giants are a threat in both the running and passing game, so defenses have to stay honest, allowing Manning time to make his reads and deliver the ball with accuracy. However, the defensive stats are troubling. If they continue to put the offense in a hole early in games, Eli will have plenty of chances to practice his 4th quarter comeback routine. Of course for fantasy owners, that also means the beloved garbage time stats.
Average Opposing Defensive Ranking: 17.3
The AFC West and NFC East are the two best divisions in the NFL, and they play each other this year. Although there might be a total of 7 playoff-caliber teams between these divisions, probably only 4 of them will make it. There is good news, and no I don’t mean the car insurance thing. Before the Giants face a gauntlet of seven tough games to end their season, they have San Francisco and Minnesota back-to-back. The rest of the slate is pretty rough, although weeks 15 and 17 against the Chiefs and Raiders might provide a nice boost for your fantasy playoffs.
Congratulations to the lucky dogs who drafted Manning or scooped him up off the waiver wire earlier this season. Ditto for Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey, although I doubt they appeared on waivers in many leagues. Tiki Barber is looking good with a 4.5 yard per carry average and 4 TD’s. Jay Feely is a perfect 11-11 on field goals this year, and that’s quite an accomplishment kicking in windy Giants Stadium. This isn’t a great fantasy defense, but they have snagged a lot of turnovers, and had two special teams TD’s in week 1 against the Cardinals (for what it’s worth.)
Next Week… It’ll be a little late for Halloween, but the Cincinnati Bengals dress for it every week. Be sure to bring your sunglasses!