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Inside the Numbers: Giants vs. reigning champions


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – November will certainly be an interesting month for the Giants.

They will play two games in MetLife Stadium, the first against the Las Vegas Raiders, who are 2-0 under interim coach Rich Bisaccia, currently lead the AFC West and will be coming off their bye, and the second vs. the Philadelphia Eagles in their initial NFC East home game.

But it is the road games that could make this a truly memorable month for the Giants. They will play as visitors twice, with each game on a Monday night and each against a team that played in Super Bowl LV nine months ago. The Giants will visit the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs this Monday, Nov. 1, and the reigning Super Bowl titlist Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Nov. 22 (after their bye).

This is the first season since 2000 in which the Giants are playing both participants from the previous year's Super Bowl. The Giants lost to both the Tennessee Titans and St. Louis Rams that season, though they did advance to Super Bowl XXXV.

The Giants, like most teams, do not have a dazzling record against teams that recently competed for the Lombardi Trophy. They are 7-24 in regular-season games against defending Super Bowl champions. The Giants have lost their last eight regular-season games vs. sitting champions, most recently at New England in 2019. Their last victory against the team that won the previous season's title was their last-minute, 20-16, triumph against the 13-0 Denver Broncos on Dec. 13, 1998.

In the playoffs, however, the Giants are a perfect 3-0 against defending champions, defeating the San Francisco 49ers in 1985 at home and 1990 in Candlestick Park in the NFC Championship Game, and the Green Bay Packers in a 2011 divisional playoff game in Lambeau Field.

The Giants' record against the runners-up is similar to that vs. the champions. They are 6-20 in the regular season against Super Bowl losers and 1-0 in the playoffs (beating Philadelphia in 1981 in their first Super Bowl-era postseason game).

Last season's loss to the 49ers was the Giants' third in a row against teams that were defeated in the previous Super Bowl. Their most recent victory was on Dec. 2, 2007, against the Bears in Chicago.

The Giants hope to end that streak Monday night in Arrowhead Stadium.

The Giants honored the 2011 Giants team in a special halftime ceremony during Sunday's game against the Rams.

*According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only two franchises have winning records against the teams that played in the previous Super Bowl:

  • Baltimore Ravens: 14-10 (.583)
  • Minnesota Vikings: 29-27 (.518)
  • Las Vegas Raiders: 27-29-1 (.483)

*The Giants - and their opponents - have taken their time getting warmed up in games this season. They have scored 13 first-quarter points, the league's second-lowest total behind the Jets (zero). But the Giants have allowed only six points in the first 15 minutes, which is also the second-lowest figure after Buffalo (three). The 19 combined first-quarter points are easily the NFL's lowest total; the Pittsburgh Steelers and their opponents have combined for 30 points in the opening period.

Perhaps this is the week the Giants will enjoy an early breakout; the Chiefs have allowed an NFL-high 49 first-quarter points.

*In Sunday's victory against the Carolina Panthers, Daniel Jones caught a 16-yard pass from wide receiver Dante Pettis to become the first Giants quarterback with a reception since Kerry Collins in Denver on Sept. 10, 2001. Collins caught his own pass for a two-yard loss after it was deflected by safety Eric Brown.

The last Giants quarterback before Jones to catch a pass thrown by a teammate was Jeff Hostetler, who had a 10-yard reception on a throw by Phil Simms against the Rams on Sept. 25, 1988. Hostetler occasionally lined up as a wide receiver that season, but that was his only career reception. It didn't end well. After the 10-yard catch in the fourth quarter, Hostetler fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Los Angeles' Vince Newsome, leading to the Rams' final touchdown in a 45-31 victory.

*Jones completed eight consecutive passes spanning the third and fourth quarters on Sunday, his longest streak of the season. He had hit seven straight throws against both Washington and Atlanta. His career-long streak is nine in a row, against Washington on Sept. 29, 2019, and at Detroit on Oct. 27 that year.

*Jones completed 69.7% of his passes (23 of 33) against Carolina, the fourth-highest single-game percentage of his career. Four of Jones' six highest percentages have been in games this season:

  • 75.0 vs. Philadelphia (11/15/20)
  • 74.2 vs. Washington (9/29/19)
  • 70.0 at New Orleans (10/3/21)
  • 69.7 vs. Carolina (10/24/21)
  • 68.8 at Washington (9/16/21)
  • 68.6 vs. Atlanta (9/26/21)

*Jones third-quarter touchdown pass to Pettis was the 40th of his career, tying him with fellow Duke alum Dave Brown for seventh on the Giants' career list. He has to more than double his total to climb on the list; Collins is sixth with 81.

*Jones has 717 completions and needs 15 to pass Hall of Famer Y.A. Tittle and move into seventh place on the franchise's all-time list.

*Jones leads the Giants with 229 rushing yards. He joins Baltimore's Lamar Jackson (480 yards) and Philadelphia's Jalen Hurts (361) as the only quarterbacks with their team's highest rushing total through seven weeks.

*Jones has 41 rushing attempts. His 5.6-yard per-carry average is fifth among players with 40+ attempts behind Jackson (6.3), Dallas' Tony Pollard (6.0), Arizona's Chase Edmonds (5.8) and Cleveland's Nick Chubb (5.8).

*Pettis is the first NFL player with a touchdown reception and a pass completion in a game since quarterback Cam Newton did it for New England vs. the Jets on Jan. 3, 2021.

*Azeez Ojulari leads all NFL rookies with 5.5 sacks – 2.5 more than Baltimore's Odafe Oweh and Buffalo's Greg Rousseau, a pair of first-round draft choices (Ojulari was the Giants' second-round selection).

*Ojulari's 5.5 sacks tie the Giants' rookie record. He is one of just four Giants to record at least 5.0 sacks in his NFL debut season:

  • Azeez Ojulari (2021) - 5.5
  • B.J. Hill (2018) - 5.5
  • Andy Headen (1983) - 5.0
  • Cornelius Griffin (2000) - 5.0

*Ojulari is the first rookie with at least 5.5 sacks through seven games since the Chargers' Nick Bosa had 7.0 sacks in 2019. The NFL rookie sacks record is 14.5 by Tennessee's Jevon Kearse in 1999.

*Cornerback James Bradberry has three interceptions in the first seven games. He is the first Giants player to accomplish that feat since … James Bradberry last year.

*Carolina was 2-for-15 on third-down conversion attempts Sunday, the first Giants opponent with so few successes on at least that many attempts since Dec. 2, 2018, when the Bears were…2-for-15.

*The Panthers averaged just 2.79 yards per play (62 for 173 yards), the lowest figure allowed by the Giants since Dec. 13, 2010, when Minnesota averaged 2.6 yards (61 for 164) in a 21-3 Giants victory that was played in Detroit. It was the NFL's third-lowest per-play average this season. Cleveland held Chicago to a 1.12-yard average on Sept. 26 and Buffalo limited Houston to 2.60 yards a play on Oct. 3.

*Graham Gano kicked field goals of 49, 53, and 44 yards against his former team on Sunday, the fourth time in Giants history a kicker booted three field goals longer than 40 yards in a game. Gano has three of those games, including two this season. He kicked field goals of 47, 52, and 55 (plus 23 and 35-yarders) at Washington on Sept. 16. On Sept. 27, 2020, Graham had field goals of 52, 42 and 47 yards vs. San Francisco. Josh Brown was the first Giants kicker to accomplish the feat with field goals of 41, 52 and 45 yards at Detroit on Dec. 22, 2013.

*Gano's 15 field goals place him second in the NFL, one behind New England's Nick Folk.

*Tight end Evan Engram's six receptions Sunday increased his career total to 236. That moved him past David Meggett (231) and Lionel Manuel (232) and into 20th place on the Giants' career list. Del Shofner is 19th with 239.

*Engram's 44 yards increased his career total to 2,591, lifting him above Stephen Baker (2,587) and into 25th place on the franchise's list. Johnny Perkins is 24th with 2,611.

The Giants' 2011 Super Bowl team reunites for the 10th anniversary of their championship season.

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