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Inside the Numbers: Early scores define latest games

eli-center-1112216.jpg's Michael Eisen takes a statistical look at the team's Week 11 win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Giants fans who dawdle getting to their seats in the stadium or in front of their television sets might want to make sure they're in place for the opening kickoff this week. Because in each of the last two Giants games – victories against Cincinnati and Chicago – much of the action took place early.

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On Sunday, the Giants won the coin toss and deferred taking possession of the ball until the second half in the windy conditions. The Bears took the kickoff and scored just 5:14 into the game on Jay Cutler's 19-yard pass to tight end Zach Miller, concluding a 9-play, 76-yard drive. Chicago was the fourth team to score a first-possession touchdown against the Giants this season, joining Green Bay, Los Angeles and Cincinnati. The Bengals scored the previous Monday night on Andy Dalton's 13-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green.

This is the first time the Giants allowed consecutive opponents to score opening-possession touchdowns since Sept. 8 and 14, 2014, when Detroit (Matthew Stafford's 67-yard pass to Calvin Johnson) and Arizona (on Jonathan Dwyer's 1-yard run) did it.

The Giants immediately responded on their first offensive series against Chicago by driving 78 yards in 11 plays, the last a 2-yard touchdown run by Rashad Jennings. It was also the Giants' second straight first-possession touchdown, following Eli Manning's 10-yard pass to Jerell Adams against the Bengals. The Giants had last scored first-possession touchdowns in consecutive games on Nov. 16 and 23, 2014 vs. San Francisco (on Eli Manning's 19-yard pass to Larry Donnell) and Dallas (on Manning's 3-yard pass to Odell Beckham, Jr.).

After the early scores, the Bengals and Bears each scored just one more touchdown against the Giants, who scored two more in each game.

We raise the point, because a team that scores a first-possession touchdown usually goes on to win. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this season teams that have reached the end zone on their first offensive series are 51-26-2, a .658 winning percentage. The numbers are even better over the last three seasons: 196-94-4, a .674 winning percentage.

The flip side, of course, is that teams allowing a first-possession touchdown have a .342 winning percentage this season and a .326 percentage over the last three years.

*The Giants' total margin of victory in their seven wins this season is 27 points, the lowest victory margin over a team's first seven wins in NFL history. The Giants' previous low combined margin of victory in their first seven triumphs was 31 points in 1994.

*On opening day in Dallas, Randy Bullock missed the Giants' extra point attempt following their second touchdown. On Sunday, Robbie Gould made just one-of-three PATs. This is the first season since 1984 the Giants have missed three extra point tries. hands out game balls in Sunday's win over the Bears

*Chicago's Connor Barth also missed a PAT on Sunday. It was the first Giants game in which the teams combined to miss three extra point attempts since Dec. 21, 1975 (a 26-23 victory in San Francisco). It had last happened in an NFL game on Dec. 26, 1993, in a 37-26 Eagles victory against the Saints in Philadelphia.

*The Giants will visit the 0-11 Cleveland Browns on Sunday. They have never faced a team that was 0-11 or worse. The winless team with the most losses they've ever faced is the 0-10 Dallas Cowboys on Dec. 4, 1960. That game ended in a 31-31 tie and was Dallas' only non-loss in an 0-11-1 inaugural season. The Giants are 9-3 against teams that entered the game 0-4 or worse since the 1970 merger.

*The Giants and Browns are two of the six NFL teams that have yet to score 30 points in a game this season. The others are Chicago, Baltimore (two teams the Giants defeated), Houston and San Francisco.

*The Giants have received much attention this year for eschewing field goal attempts and going for it – and succeeding - on fourth down. But statistically, the Giants are not particularly unusual.

This season, the Giants are 6-for-11 on fourth down, a 54.5 percent success rate. In 16 games in 2015, they were 9-for-16, a 56.3 percentage.

The Giants' 11 attempts are tied for seventh-most in the league, their six successes are tied for fifth-most, and their 54.5 percent success rate ranks 14th.

*The Giants defeated Philadelphia and Chicago this season despite getting shut out in the fourth quarter. Prior to this month, that had last happened on Nov. 25, 2012 in a 38-10 victory against Green Bay, when the Giants didn't need to score in the final quarter. This is the most victories the Giants have had without scoring in the fourth quarter in one season since they had three in 2010.

*The Giants did not commit a turnover nor allow a sack on Sunday and are 12-1 in their last 13 such games.

*Landon Collins has five interceptions in the last four games. He is the first Giants player with five picks in a four-game span in a single season since Willie Williams from Nov. 24-Dec. 15, 1968. Kansas City cornerback Marcus Peters accomplished the feat from Sept. 18-Oct. 16 this season.

*Collins is the first NFL player with at least five interceptions and at least 3.0 sacks through his team's first 10 games since Green Bay's LeRoy Butler in 1996 (five interceptions, 3.5 sacks).

*The Giants' victory against the Bears on Sunday improved Manning's record as a home-team starter to 55-43. He is six games over .500 in both Giants Stadium (25-19) and MetLife Stadium (30-24). Manning is also 1-0 as a visitor in each stadium.

*Manning was not sacked against Chicago. The Giants are 29-12 when he is not sacked, 75-77 when he is.

*Manning also did not throw an interception. The Giants are 47-23 when he is not intercepted, 57-66 when he is.

*Odell Beckham, Jr. caught five passes Sunday and now has 246 career receptions of Manning passes. Beckham moved past Plaxico Burress (244) and into third place among the 74 players that have caught passes from Manning. Hakeem Nicks is first with 313, followed by Victor Cruz with 290. Burress has more yards (3,681-3,574) and more touchdowns (33-31) on Manning passes, but Beckham should soon move past him in both categories.

*Beckham moved past Earnest Gray (243) and Burress and into 14th place on the Giants' career receptions list.

*Cruz's 48 yards increased his career total to 4,388, enabling him to vault past Bob Tucker (4,376) and into 10th place on the franchise's alltime list.

*Jason Pierre-Paul's 2.5 sacks vs. the Bears increased his career total to 47.0. That moved him past George Martin (46.0) and into seventh place on the franchise's official list (since 1982).

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