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Keys to Victory

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Keys to Victory: Make mayhem for 4th straight win


The phrase "competitive stamina" has popped up this week at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

The Giants, winners of their past three games and possessors of a 5-1 record, have caught the attention of the sports world with the franchise's best start since 2009. But the NFL can humble teams pretty quickly.

That's why the Giants preach consistency in their preparation during the week and then fighting until the end on game days no matter the score or situation. No one has done that better than the Giants, who next face the Jaguars (2-4) in Jacksonville.

Through Week 6, the average margin of victory across the league is 8.9 points per game, the lowest average in history. The Giants are the only team with three victories this season after trailing by 10+ points. They are the fourth-ever team to record three such wins within their first six games of a season, joining the 1980 Miami Dolphins, 1981 Cincinnati Bengals and 1993 Philadelphia Eagles.

"We're a team that might not win the game, 40-0," safety Julian Love said after Sunday's comeback win over the Ravens. "We're a team that will bring our team into the fourth quarter and make key plays in key situations to win games. That's who we are. We're resilient."

Here are three keys for a Giants victory, whether it be by one point or 40:

Shore up the run defense

The Giants' have already faced the second- and fifth-ranked rushing teams in the Bears and Ravens, respectively. The Jaguars will be their third opponent in the Top 10. Last week, Jacksonville ran for a season-high 243 yards in a loss to Indianapolis.

While accepting that they would concede yards to Lamar Jackson on the ground, the Giants were by no means content giving up 211 total last week. It has been a focus this week as the defense prepares for another dual-threat quarterback in Trevor Lawrence, a former No. 1 overall pick.

"It definitely bothers us, and especially me specifically a defensive lineman," Leonard Williams said. "Something we take pride in up front is stopping the run, and I think long-term this is something we need to fix and stop to go where we want to go. We're working on it, and I think it's getting closer. We just have to dial in on the small details."

Protect the edge

The Jaguars have selected first overall in back-to-back drafts, taking one player on each side of the ball. After selecting Lawrence last year, they went with outside linebacker Travon Walker this past April. The rookie recorded his lone sack and an interception in his NFL debut. Complementing him is Josh Allen, who has three sacks, five tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hits, and two forced fumbles this season. The matchup of the game will be the Jaguars' edge rushers against the Giants' offensive bookends in Andrew Thomas and rookie Evan Neal.

"[Allen] has a knack for getting to the quarterback, being a ball disrupter," coach Brian Daboll said. "He can drop. He's a really good player. He's done a good job there for a while. And Travon, having seen him at Georgia, he's very stout on the edge. Long. He's a good player. We'll have our work cut out for us."

Make mayhem

Lawrence has been sacked 10 times in Jacksonville's four losses. In the two wins, he has been sacked a total of zero times. Wink Martindale needs no reminder about that stat. Each Monday night, the Giants' defensive coordinator assembles his staff for what he calls "mayhem meetings."

"We study protections, and we just try to give [opponents] different looks that they haven't seen," Martindale said of these gatherings. "Like I said before, [Jaguars head coach] Doug Pederson, he's gone against us plenty of times. So, I'm sure he'll have a plan for it. We'll just see who can outexecute who."

The Giants have a 43.7 percent blitz rate in 2022, the highest in the league.


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