With the team returning from the bye week, the Giants.com crew discusses what to look for in the second half of the season.
John Schmeelk: As the Giants head into the second half of the season, what adjustments opposing teams are making towards the Giants and how might it impact their effectiveness, especially on the offensive side of the ball? In Week 8, we saw the Seahawks begin to key on Daniel Jones' running ability. On many plays, they sent their backside linebacker up the field, instead of following the running back down the line. It limited Jones to only 20 rushing yards on six carries.
Seattle also committed a lot of personnel to stop the run, which is not anything different than what other teams have done this season, but they were more effective. With Evan Neal, Ben Bredeson and Daniel Bellinger out with injuries, the Giants had their least effective running game of the season. Saquon Barkley finished with only 53 yards on 20 carries. The team finished with only 225 yards, their lowest total of the season.
NFL teams have eight weeks of tape to study what Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka have put into this offense and how it works. They know the personnel limitations of the Giants' roster. The opponent will adjust to what they have seen. The Giants' playbook is famously thick, so let's see what answers the coaching staff comes back with to counter whatever adjustments opponents bring to the playing field.
Dan Salomone: Divisional games separate the contenders, and we'll see how the Giants fare in a back-loaded schedule. The Giants played just one NFC East opponent in the first half, a 23-16 loss to the Cowboys on Monday Night Football at MetLife Stadium. They come out of the break with back-to-back home games against the Lions and Texans, who are combined 3-12-1, but then comes a stretch of crucial divisional games. They play at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, home vs. Washington and Philadelphia, and then at Washington – all in consecutive weeks.
The Eagles, whom the Giants play on the road in the regular-season finale, sit atop the league as the only remaining unbeaten team. The Cowboys, meanwhile, improved to 6-2 before their bye week, and the Commanders had climbed back to .500 with three consecutive wins until falling to the 7-1 Vikings after holing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. The surest way to the postseason is by winning your divisional games, which the Giants have not done consistently since their last berth. They are 9-22 against the NFC East since the start of the 2017 season.
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