The Giants' Struggles Are Nothing New
While it's true that no one could have predicted the way the New York Giants would struggle this season, if you look closely you may notice that the blueprints for this collapse of epic proportions has actually been laid out for the past few seasons. The only difference is that this season, that other shoe, the one that we've been waiting to fall this whole time, has finally fallen.
I never like to use the word "luck" because I think the whole concept of good luck and bad luck is a dicey one — one that people use to make excuses in bad situations. I especially avoid using the term when it comes to football or any other professional sport. However, there's no denying that the Giants have been extremely fortunate in recent years, especially when it comes to getting the right breaks at the right time and being able to capitalize on those breaks to the tune of two Super Bowl titles.
Nobody denies the fact that Eli Manning's perfectly thrown ball to Mario Manningham in Super Bowl XLVI was the product of extreme precision and skill on Manning's part, but it was also the product of Manningham being in the right spot at the right moment to haul it in. And nobody denies that Manning's ability to escape the grasp of four or five different Patriots in Super Bowl XLII wasn't a skill play, but then you also must be willing to concede the fact that Tyree's catch — balancing the football perfectly against his helmet while being wrestled to the ground — wasn't the product of some extremely fortunate circumstances as well.
The point I'm trying to make is that over the last few seasons, things have tended to break right for the Giants. Now, in this disaster of a 2013 season, everything is breaking bad(ly). But there have been clues scattered throughout the past few seasons that can lead you to this current mess.
The problems with the running game? We've seen it before. Last season, the Giants had a running back go over 75 yards in a game only eight times over the course of their 16 games. The failure to rush the passer and put pressure on opposing quarterbacks? Last season the Giants defense ranked 22nd in the league with only 33 sacks. Eli Manning's turnover problems? While they weren't quite as extreme last season, we've seen flashes of his turnover-prone behavior during his entire career and he's led the league in interceptions before (2010).
The thing is, all of the problems that we've been seeing with the Giants this season are problems that we've seen before, for brief periods of time, over the course of the last few seasons. The only difference between this season and previous ones is that now all of these problems are surfacing at once, and like a chain reaction, each problem serving to amplify the others until everything collides in a screeching, mangled wreck. To further exacerbate the problems that the Giants have experienced this season, the team has suffered several injuries to key players that have only served to muddy the situation.
Although the Giants are 0-6, one could make the case that this terrible slide really began late last season. Two of the Giants' last three games in 2012 were ugly, ugly losses to the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens where they were outscored 67-14 — two losses that very closely resemble the kind of losses the Giants have suffered so far this season. The bottom line is that this season has been in the making for quite some time now — it's just that no one noticed it (or bothered to acknowledge it) until it finally happened. The problems that we are seeing now are problems that have existed for quite some time and have gone largely unaddressed, which is the reason why we are where we are right now: 0-6 with an immediate future that looks bleak.