EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – In the NFC East, it's beginning to look a lot like…the NFC South in 2014.
With five games remaining in the season, the Giants lead the NFC East with a 4-7 record. Every other division leader has at least eight victories. The Washington Football team also has four wins, but the Giants own the tiebreaker because they twice defeated Washington.
Philadelphia's 23-17 loss last night to Seattle – the Giants' next opponent – dropped the Eagles to 3-7-1 and into third place. Dallas is in the division basement at 3-8.
Six years ago, the NFC South standings were eerily similar to what the NFC East currently looks like. Through Week 12 of that season, Atlanta and New Orleans were tied for the division lead with 4-7 records, Carolina was next at 3-7-1 and Tampa Bay was last at 2-9.
The Panthers rallied to win the division title with a 7-8-1 record. Ironically, Carolina's general manager and coach then were Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera, who now hold the same positions with the Giants and Washington, respectively, and might again win a division with a record under .500.
Since the NFL created the current eight-division alignment in 2002, only two teams have won division titles with records under .500. Seattle was the 2010 NFC West champion at 7-9 and were joined four years later by the Panthers. In addition, the AFC West titlist twice had an 8-8 record – San Diego in 2008 and Denver in 2011. They are the only teams to capture division championships since 2002 without finishing above .500. All four of those teams won their wild card playoff game before losing the following week in the divisional round.
The 2014 Panthers are the only team to have three victories through 10 games and make the playoffs. The NFC East winner will be the second.
*The Giants have a chance to do something that's never been accomplished by an NFL team – make the playoffs after losing their first five games. Since 2002, 36 teams started 0-5 (not counting the three this season). The best final record among those teams was 8-8, done twice by the Tennessee Titans (2006 and 2009). The Giants can match or exceed that.
*The Giants have a three-game winning streak despite not scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown in any of those games. They last did that from Oct. 21-Nov. 10, 2013, in victories against Minnesota, Philadelphia and Oakland.
*According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Giants have not allowed a rushing or passing touchdown in the first half in four straight games for the first time since Oct. 30-Nov. 20, 2005, against Washington, San Francisco, Minnesota and Philadelphia.
*The Giants have played six games this season decided by three or fewer points, the highest total for any team this season. Arizona is second with five. The Giants are 3-3 in those games. In 2018, they played seven games decided by three points or less and were 2-5 in those games.
*This season, the Giants have played eight one-possession games (decided by eight points or less). That ties them with Seattle and Carolina for the NFL's second-high total, behind Chicago and the Los Angeles Chargers (nine each).
*The Giants have compiled their five-highest yardage totals of the season in the last five games:
- 386 at Cincinnati (11/29)
- 382 vs. Philadelphia (11/15)
- 357 vs. Tampa Bay (11/2)
- 350 at Washington (11/8)
- 325 at Philadelphia (10/22)
*The Giants rushed for 142 yards in their 19-17 victory Sunday in Cincinnati, their sixth consecutive game with at least 100 yards on the ground. That is their longest streak since they hit the century mark nine games in a row in 2010.
*The Giants' 42 rushing attempts in Cincinnati were their highest total since they ran the ball 44 times in a victory against Washington on Dec. 31, 2017.
*The Giants converted nine of 21 third-down opportunities against the Bengals. The nine successes were the most they had in a single game since Dec. 17, 2017, when they had 10 conversions against Philadelphia.
The 21 third-down attempts tie the NFL season high – and Cincinnati was the opponent each time. On Sept. 27, Philadelphia converted 10 of 21 third-down chances in a 23-23 tie with the Bengals.
*Cincinnati had three third-down conversions in 10 tries on Sunday. They Giants last had at least 11 more third-down opportunities than their opponents on Dec. 21, 2014, when they converted six of 17 and the Rams one of six in a Giants victory in St. Louis.
*The Bengals did not have a play gain more than 18 yards on Sunday. That was the shortest longest play allowed by the Giants since Dec. 22, 2013, when the Lions' had no play longer than 17 yards in the Giants' overtime victory in Detroit.
*Since Week 7, Wayne Gallman has rushed for six touchdowns, tying him for the NFL's second-highest total during that span:
- Antonio Gibson (Washington) - 8
- Wayne Gallman (Giants) - 6
- Derrick Henry (Tennessee) - 6
- Dalvin Cook (Minnesota) - 6
*Gallman has rushed for at least one touchdown in each of five consecutive games. The only Giants player in history to do it in six-plus games is Bill Paschal, who set the franchise single-season record with seven in 1944.
*Defensive lineman Niko Lalos, who was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, intercepted a pass in his NFL debut in Cincinnati. Even diehard fans might have trouble recalling the last Giants player to do that – linebacker Uani Unga, who, on Sept. 13, 2015, started at middle linebacker in Dallas and picked off a Tony Romo pass in the second quarter, setting up a Giants field goal. Unga also led the Giants with 12 tackles (10 solo) that day.
*Safety Logan Ryan leads NFL defensive backs with seven forced fumbles since the start of the 2019 season.
*Giants quarterbacks have not thrown an interception in three consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 16-20, 2018.
*Someone will have to remind the Giants' coaches in 2022 they must be alert for a fake punt. The last three fake punts executed against the Giants:
Sept. 25, 2016 vs. Washington: On fourth-and-12, Tress Way passes to Quinton Dunbar for a 31-yard gain, leading to a Washington field goal.
Sept. 30, 2018 vs. New Orleans: On fourth-and-two, Saints direct snap to up-back Taysom Hill, who throws to Justin Hardee for a 10-yard gain, leading to a field goal.
Nov. 29, 2020 at Cincinnati: On fourth-and-six with 2:52 left in the third, up back Shawn Williams takes a direct snap and gains seven yards for a first down.
*Evan Engram's six receptions in Cincinnati increased his career total to 197. He needs three catches to become the sixth tight end in franchise history with 200. The others are Jeremy Shockey (371), Bob Tucker (327), Mark Bavaro (266), Aaron Thomas (247) and Howard Cross (201). Engram needs five receptions to pass Cross.
*Engram's 129 receiving yards tied Darius Slayton (129 at Dallas) for the highest total by a Giants player in 2020.
*The Giants' 19 points in Cincinnati were their lowest total in a victory since an 18-10 triumph vs. Washington on Dec. 31, 2017.
*The Giants' offense did not allow a sack on Sunday for the first time since Dec. 1, 2019 vs. Green Bay.
*The Giants are 4-1 when they score first, 0-6 when they don't.
View photos from the Week 12 matchup between the Giants and Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.