Is there another team in the NFL that’s more perplexing than the New York Giants? The defending-champion Giants are currently sitting atop the NFC East with a 4 – 2 record, yet had managed to stay under the radar for the first part of the season with the Jets and Yankees grabbing all the headlines. Then Big Blue flew in to Candlestick Park, dismantled the 49ers, and let everyone know that they are still a dominant force in the league. New York beat San Francisco in every facet of the game, and their stifling defense caused three turnovers that were pivotal to their convincing win.
The Giants have been plagued with injuries on both sides of the ball this season. The team’s star wide receiver, Hakeem Nicks, has missed three of the Giants first six games this year with foot and knee injuries. The defense has also missed key players throughout the season. Defensive tackle Shaun Rodgers was placed on IR before the season began. Defensive end Chris Canty has spent the first 6 weeks on the PUP list, and linebacker Keith Rivers, defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, cornerback Prince Amukamara, and safety Kenny Phillips have all missed multiple games with injuries so far this year.
Despite the injuries, the Giants have managed to continue winning football games. Wide receivers Domenik Hixon, Ramses Barden, and Rueben Randle have all contributed in the absence of Hakeem Nicks, and corner Michael Coe played well during Prince Amukamara’s injury. The Giant’s depth has been a vital asset to the team’s success so far this season.
New York seems to be elevating their play each week, as they played their best game of the year so far last Sunday against the 49ers. On that afternoon the defensive line finally played up to the level that fans have become accustomed to, sacking Alex Smith six times. Before Sunday, the Giants only had eight sacks through five games. On offense, Ahmad Bradshaw was also able to gouge the 49ers defense for a 116 yards just a week after going for a career-best 200 yards.
Eli Manning has continued to play at a Pro Bowl level this year, and has proven that he is an elite quarterback in the NFL. Despite losing Mario Manningham, Brandon Jacobs, and Jake Ballard in the off-season, three integral members of the offense, Manning’s unit hasn’t missed a beat. The Giants drafted Rueben Randle and David Wilson to fill the voids left by of the two veterans and signed Martellus Bennett in free agency to fill in at tight end.
The depth of talent on the Giants’ bench has clearly helped them throughout this season. If the younger players on the roster are able to continue developing and contributing to the team’s production then there isn’t a team in the NFL that has the ability to beat them. The Giants have a magical combination of veteran leadership and young talent that they hope can lead them to another Super Bowl.
Chris Hunt is a sports writer that resides in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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