5 Key Stats The Giants Must Improve To Make The Playoffs
Last season the New York Giants finished with a record of 7-9 after a very poor 0-6 start. The Giants struggled with run blocking and pass protection the entire 2013 season. The team was also prone to turning over the ball at a very high rate. There are many important statistics one can use to assess the quality of an NFL team or its chances of making the playoffs, but in this piece I’ll detail five statistics the Giants must improve if they are to make the playoffs this year.
This is the number of yards the Giants ran for last season, ranking 29th in the league. The Giants running game has been spotty the last few seasons, ranking 29th, 14th and 32nd the last three seasons, respectively.
The attenuation of the Giants’ talent base on the offensive line seems to be the root cause of the Giants’ rushing attack being so porous. Some people say the Giants lack of a clear number one back is the cause of the poor running attack; this notion has some truth to it, but if you can’t block it really doesn’t matter who’s lining in in the backfield. The rushing attack has to improve this year in order to take the pressure off Eli Manning and receiving core.
This the number of points the Giants scored per game last season, ranking 28th in the NFL. The offense was a complete mess last year. The offensive line struggled in protection, run plays and with injuries. Manning led the league in interceptions, and was sacked more times last year than any year of his career. No Giants receivers caught over a 1,000 receiving yards, nor did a Giants running back rush for over 500 yards. One can presume under first year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s version of the west coast offense, the Giants will throw more high-percentage short passes, but given the offensive lines struggles, increasing the rushing attempts and getting into more manageable down-and-distances can only be beneficial.
This number represents the Giants’ third down conversion percentage allowed last year. The Giants ranked 23rd in this stat, and they should work toward improving that next year. Getting off the field on third down is a big morale boost for a football team, especially the defense.
The Giants’ additions of free agent CBs Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Walter Thrumond and the return of S Stevie Brown from injury should improve the Giants’ pass coverage, especially in obvious passing situations, such as third-and-medium and third-and-long. Some more pressure on the quarterback would also help toward getting the defense off the field on third down. I think the Giants will improve in this category creating more snaps for the offense.
This stat represents the number of sacks the Giants accumulated last year. The Giants ranked 25th in the league in sacks, and it is imperative this number goes up if the Giants are to return to the playoffs.
Jason Pierre-Paul’s bad back is attributable to the low sack numbers since he hasn’t played like an All-Pro defensive end since the 2011 season. I can see the Giants taking more risk by dialing up more blitzes given the upgrades to the secondary.
Either through blitzing more or defensive line play, the Giants have to create more pressure on the opposing team’s quarterback in this season.
I think this number is the most critical towards the Giants improving on last season’s 7-9 record. The -11 number represent the Giants’ takeaway-to-giveaway ratio. The Giants ranked 29th out of the 32 teams in terms of taking care of the ball. Moreover, the Giants ranked last in the league in having the highest percent of offensive drives ending in a turnover with a percentage of 20.1.
Having a positive turnover margin is vital towards a team having a winning season, let alone making the playoffs. Of the 12 teams to make the playoffs last year, only the San Diego Chargers had a turnover margin in the negatives at minus two. For those of you who don’t remember, San Diego barely made the playoffs last year.
Taking care of the ball should be priority No. 1 for the Giants offense above everything else. Turnovers have to be at a minimum if the team wants to win games. Improving in these five statistics mentioned above will be critical if the Giants are to make the playoffs this year.