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Cover 4

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Cover 4: What we've learned about the Giants during win streak


The crew reacts to the third consecutive win that has the team back in the playoff picture:

John Schmeelk: So you're telling me there's a chance?

The Giants improved to 5-8 last night and are now just one game behind five teams at 6-7 that are all tied for the seventh and final spot in the NFC playoff field. The Giants now own the tiebreaker against one of those teams (Packers) and still have a game against two others (Saints and Rams). The only team the Giants would outright lose a head-to-head tiebreaker from that group is the Seahawks, due to their loss to them in Week 4. Atlanta is the other team at 6-7, and Tampa Bay also owns a 6-7 record, though one of those NFC South teams will win the division and be out of the Wild Card conversation.

The Giants' schedule the rest of the way is not easy. In addition to the games against the Saints and Rams, the Giants have to play the Eagles twice, a team that has given them fits for the better part of a decade. Nine wins, which means sweeping their final four games, would give the Giants a great chance to make the playoffs, while 8-9 could very well earn the final spot.

The Giants own a 4-4 conference record with four games remaining, and of the teams with six wins, only one has a conference record above .500 for tiebreaking purposes (Tampa Bay at 5-4). All the Giants can do is win as many games as they can and let the chips fall where they may.

Dan Salomone: I'll take the low-hanging frutti di mare and talk about the man of the hour, Tommy DeVito. But really it's been more than an ora. For all the fanfare that is rivaling the Knicks' Linsanity from a decade ago, DeVito is the product of a deliberate and methodical development process led by the staff. Daboll shed light on just that in his postgame press conference, giving a detailed answer that is worth the time to read:

"I don't really worry about free agents, where they're picked, when they're picked. That doesn't matter to me. We have a philosophy of how we teach our quarterbacks. He's bought in, he's worked really hard. Look, he's four games in, too, so I know he's had three pretty good games, good decisions. He'll be the first to say that he's got a lot to work on. I appreciate how he handles himself. I appreciate how he is during the week. I appreciate when guys are leaving, he's in the meeting rooms and meeting with (quarterbacks coach) Shea (Tierney) and (offensive coordinator Mike) Kafka for quite some time.

"The way he's handling it, I know it's probably not easy for him being that he's from around here. I kind of know how that goes. So, there's a lot on your plate that's going on, and you've got to keep the main thing the main thing, which is football. Again, we've had four games with him. I'm proud of him. He's put a lot of work in really since he's got here, since the first day he was working out in the local pro day. He spent a lot of time in meeting rooms, he's earning what he's getting. But again, we've got a long way to go.

"We have a way we teach our quarterbacks. We believe in it. We try to put them in the best position, but they ultimately have to go out there and do it and do it at a high level. I'm not worried about 300-yard passing games or this or that. His objective is to take care of the ball and lead the team down to score points, regardless of the quarter, and play your best when it counts the most. The only way you do that is through your preparation, your hard work, and again, I think Shea and Kafka do a really good job of developing quarterbacks. So, time will tell. We'll have a tough one this week against a really good defense."

Of course, the man standing next to DeVito on the game-winning field goal deserves some credit.

"I don't know if he wants me saying this, but at first, (Daboll) wasn't going to look," DeVito said. "And then he was like, I'm going to look, and I was like, all right. So, we stood right next to each other, and it was just, as soon as we saw it go in, just pure excitement. I grabbed him, hugged him, told him I loved him, and celebrated with my teammates."

View photos from the Giants' Week 14 matchup against the Green Bay Packers.

Lance Medow: If there's one statistic that explains why the Giants were productive on offense and finished drives against the Packers, it's zero sacks allowed with only two quarterback hits. What a difference it makes when you avoid negative plays. That's a huge reason the Giants orchestrated a pair of touchdown drives for 75 yards. Tommy DeVito and company didn't lose any yardage on the first eight-play drive that resulted in a score, and only had to overcome a false start penalty on the second as well as a one-yard loss on a Saquon Barkley run. That possession lasted 10 plays. They faced two third downs and reached the end zone on one of those plays. The Giants were three of four in the red zone, whereas the Packers were two of five. Here's the biggest difference: Jordan Love was sacked twice in that area compared to DeVito, who remained upright.

Giants quarterbacks have been sacked 69 times this season with DeVito absorbing 28 of them. It's impossible to overcome that volume of hits on a consistent basis, especially if you can't rely on chunk plays to make up for it. By avoiding that on Monday night, New York didn't dig itself into a hole or present the Packers with favorable downs and distances for them to get the pass rush going. DeVito's legs also aided that cause, as he consistently escaped the pocket and prevented Green Bay from doing damage. The Giants converted only three of their 10 third downs, but here's the major positive: just one of those third downs was for 10 yards. That's a product of not going backwards often.

Matt Citak: DeVito certainly deserves his flowers, but equally impressive was the performance of the defense. Wink Martindale's unit surrendered 326 total yards of offense and 22 points to the Packers. More importantly, the defense forced two Packers turnovers in the form of a Jason Pinnock interception and a Kayvon Thibodeaux forced fumble, which Xavier McKinney recovered. The special teams unit added a third takeaway when Darnay Holmes forced the ball out of Keisean Nixon's hands, which was recovered by Benton Whitley. Prior to Monday night, the Packers hadn't turned the ball over in three straight games and averaged 385.5 total yards of offense during that stretch. The Giants' defense added two sacks and eight quarterback hits on the night and also limited the Packers to just five conversions on 14 third-down attempts (35.7 percent). Green Bay has converted 43.4 percent of their third downs on the season, the sixth-best percentage in the league.

After not having a takeaway through the first four games of the season, the Giants have been on a roll ever since. They have seven different games with multiple takeaways and have totaled 22 turnovers on the year, which is tied for the fifth-most in the NFL and just two shy of the league lead. Fourteen turnovers have come in the last four games. Not only is the defense taking the ball away, but the Giants are also getting off the field. Opponents are converting just 35.1 percent of their third-down attempts against the Giants, which is the fourth-best mark in the league, while the defense's 2:35 average drive time allowed is the fifth-lowest. While numerous players have stepped up in a big way over the last few weeks, it's hard to see the Giants putting together their three-game win streak without the strong play of the defense.


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