The New York Giants are one of only six unbeaten teams in the NFL, perched atop the NFC East alongside the Philadelphia Eagles 2-0. However, while they were flawless during the first two weeks of the season, their record looks a little deceptive.
Big red flag: The Giants’ point spread is a paltry plus 4, the lowest by a large margin among the unbeaten teams. To put that in context, the Miami Dolphins returned to beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2 in One of the most unbelievable comebacks In the history of the NFL, the fins still win by 4 points. Yet somehow the giants managed to get out two Equal victories.
The history of the 2-0 teams with the low points difference is not particularly impressive. Before the 2022 Giants, the 20 teams since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger started a season with a 2-0 record and an overall points differential of plus 5 or worse. On average, those teams lost more games than they won the rest of the season, with a negative points difference:
|season||Team||W||The||PPG teams.||W||The||WPct||PPG teams.|
The Giants can certainly reverse this trend – in fact, there is one big reason to believe that they may have an important advantage over the opponent. But there are plenty of other reasons the G-Men are more likely than not to follow in the footsteps of the 2-0 failed teams in the list above.
Just look at the offensive strengths and weaknesses of the team. instead of pass winAs most other successful teams do, the Giants are the only team among the undefeated team with the addition of Expected Negative Points (EPA) on dropouts (-5.4). Quarterback Daniel Jones was absolutely terrible at first, collecting 30.2 quarters, good (bad?) 28th place in the league among qualified passers-by. Winning this kind of play from under the position is rare in the NFL. Three teams without a win this season have more EPAs than the Giants, including the Tennessee Titans, a team they defeated.
With her passing offense in disarray, it’s no surprise that New York won by the narrowest of margins. And since they’re not satisfied with winning the traditional, sustainable way, the Giants have instead had to rely on their running game (the NFL’s ranked eighth by the EPA) and great help from Bumble luck to pick up Ws. This isn’t exactly the best formula if the goal is to avoid the fate of other teams who collapsed after the 2-0 start.
But there is one area in which New York has legitimately edged the competition early this season: the mind game of play. Take, for example, the team Endgame Engine Impossible In the first week against the Tennessee Titans, which culminated in a relegation and a 2-point conversion of the game winner. I mainly played New York Opposites game All the time – the Giants ran the ball when they were expected to pass, and passed the ball when they were expected to run, defying expectations along the way. To top things off, head coach Brian Dabol and offensive coordinator Mike Kafka called on A Play pass trick With receiver Kadarius Toney turning into a stampede and even going fourth a few plays later, something New York did. On rare occasions last season.
|time||Description of the game||lowest||Togo||Writes||xpass|
|5:27||Barkley halfway up to 31 NYG for 4 yards.||1||10||Being||75%|
|5:01||Dee Jones short passes right onto R James to 38 NYG for 7 yards.||2||6||pass||80%|
|4:31||Dee Jones passes short left onto S Barkley to New York 41 for 3 yards.||1||10||pass||76%|
|4:00||Barkley halfway to 26 for 10 for 33 yards. Fumbles, the ball is out of bounds in TEN 11.||2||7||Being||85%|
|3:27||K.Toney jogs on the left end to TEN 22 for 4 yards.||1||10||Being||69%|
|2:48||M.Breida from the middle to TEN 19 for 3 yards.||2||6||Being||76%|
|2:05||D.Jones left tackle to TEN 17 for 2 yards.||3||3||Being||91%|
|1:54||S.Barkley left the guard to TEN 10 for 5 yards.||1||10||Being||76%|
|1:23||Barkley halfway up 3 for 10 for 7 yards.||2||5||Being||84%|
|1:16||S.Barkley halfway to 1 TEN for 2 yards.||1||3||Being||54%|
|1:09||D. Jones short passes right to C.Myarick for 1 yard, TOUCHDOWN.||2||1||pass||31%|
|Attempt to convert from two points. D.Jones pass to S.Barkley completed. The attempt succeeded.||who – which||0||pass||who – which|
Down 7 points and on their 27-yard streak with less than five-and-a-half minutes remaining – a position that 74 percent of previous teams have passed – New York ran it up in guts for 4 yards (EPA negative game). Then, after two fairly predictable pass calls, the Giants began a series of eight consecutive plays (both called passes and shoves), only one of which came into a position the defense anticipated. And New York wasn’t leaning in hand either: Seven of the eight runs came off three wide receiving groups that helped sell the pass threat and spread the defense.
The first round of the streak was the longest and luckiest. After a sudden pre-move that brought all three wide receivers to the right side of the field, the center and left guard pulled back to the left and opened a large hole for Saquon Barkley to run through. Barkley ran 33 yards, all the way to Tennessee 26, before defensive back Christian Fulton slipped the ball out of his arms and out of the bounds. Driving almost stopped after that, with three straight runs – all of which came with a pass probability of at least 69 percent – leading to a fourth guard and one by Jones for 2 yards. Then Daboll and Kafka called for three more runs, picking up another first along the way.
Finally, after walking most of the field on the ground, the Giants 2 and 1 run into the 1-yard line, which is where teams run the ball in similar situations 69 percent of the time. So, naturally, the team faked Jones’ handover to Barkley and ran a short partial operation to his oath by passing To full-back Kris Mayarek for the score. The game-winning two-point diversion was more of a scheming trick: a shovel swipe in the middle to Barkley No Andy Reed.
Through an ingenious series of play calls, Daboll and Kafka overcame the quarterback’s limitations and dug deep into their bag of tricks to keep the ball in Barkley’s hands. Over a streak of eight consecutive runs, the offense averaged more than half an EPA point per game. (The NFL average playable this season was -0.06.) It was an impressive display of dashing efficiency when the Giants needed it most.
Daboll paid every cheat feature available to him during that first week campaign, and it paid off big. And maybe he can maintain this trend all year long. Sure, New York’s bad scrolling offense, if it continues, will come back to haunt the G-Men eventually, and good luck It will eventually run out. But Daboll and Kafka have already shown that unexpected play can help put together enough small edges to overcome the giants’ biggest hurdle this year – the quarterback. That resolved, and next Monday’s Philadelphia Eagles defense looks like a straightforward problem by comparison.
Neil Payne contributed research.
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