The Philadelphia Eagles have a hurting secondary right now. They were blown out by the Saints going into their game against the New York Giants, and it looks like a good chance for New York to continue their winning streak by knocking off a rival and making a point to everyone by beating the defending Super Bowl champions. Even if those Super Bowl champions aren’t very good, one season later. Drew Brees threw for four touchdowns against them, and led the Saints to a 49 point game.
But Giants fans shouldn’t forget about the Tampa game and the defensive struggles the Giants had there themselves. Because at the end of the day, they might just be the ones that allowed more points at the end of the day, not because the offense can’t score but because of a defense that allowed just over 500 yards to the Buccaneers, who are one of the worst teams in the league this year and one of the few fanbases that can be just as upset as Giants fans are this season with their team.
“I don’t think any of us want to give up 500 yards like we did this last week, or give up 50 points, but at the end of the day, creating turnovers, creating field position, getting some fourth down stops, like we did in the game, and finding a way to get the ball into the end zone on defense is important, especially with the way offenses are playing right now,” said defensive coordinator James Bettcher, earlier in the week.
And that’s not really what you want to hear from your defensive coordinator. It’s true that the team that forces more turnovers tends to have a better chance at winning. But turnovers are a less reliable way to win than having a balanced defense that doesn’t allow huge numbers of yards. Allow big numbers to opposing quarterbacks every game, and you’ll be hard pressed to cause enough turnovers every time to keep winning.
The defense also shouldn’t rely on the offense putting up enough points to win in a shootout. Not with an offense like the Giants have, which woke up recently but for much of the season was the most criticized point of the team. That’s not to say that this is all on Bettcher. The Giants have had worse run defense since trading away defensive star Damon Harrison, and Eli Apple was also traded after starting in the secondary when healthy this season.
These moves came before the team started winning again, but now that they’ve reached the win column, they’re expected to compete once again despite not having long-term replacements for these players.
So what can the Giants do to beat the Eagles today? The answer is to put up a reasonable showing on defense. It’s unknown if the offense will perform as well as it did against Tampa, but whether it does or not, the team will have a good shot at winning the game if they can hold the Eagles to a decent amount of yards and hopefully keep them to under 30 points.
That’s not to say that they need a perfect game or that they should be expected to have one. The fact of the matter is that the defense could have blown the game against Tampa and was bailed out when the offense had its best day of the season. A team can never assume that the offense will have an excellent outing like the one last Sunday. They don’t need to win the game for the offense. Against the Eagles, the Giants defense just needs to not blow it.
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