Adrian Peterson

When you check out box scores and statistics, it may seem like the New York Giants aren’t doing everything badly, and their defense is able to at least handling the run and especially elite running backs in the NFL. However, when you take a more macro look at their whole performance on defense and in general, it seems that the numbers are simply misleading.

The Giants are ranked 21st in the NFL for allowing 110 yards per game. Considering that they’re 1-6, you’d expect teams to do a lot better against them in terms of rushing because the Giants have rarely held the lead in games this season. When it comes yards per carry, a better indicator or rushing defense, the number is down to 3.7. And when you count the number of touchdowns the Giants have allowed on running plays – 5, which is pretty much smack in the middle of the NFL, they seem to be doing better than expected.

The numbers look even more favorable when you notice that only one rusher, DeAngelo Williams of the Carolina Panthers has managed to run for over 100 yards against them. Adrian Peterson ran for only 28 yards on 13 carries in the recent game against the Vikings. Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs, a game the Giants lost 31-7 in, was held to only 65 yards on 18 carries. LeSean McCoy was stopped at 46 yards and 20 carries. They held all three of them, combined, to one rushing touchdown.

Before we draw any conclusions, what about the rushing quarterbacks, becoming a bigger and bigger factor of this league? Cam Newton ran for 45 yards on 7 carries against them. That’s good, but nothing exceptional. Alex Smith ran for 37 yards on 7 carries against them. Michael Vick might be the exception with 79 yards on 7 carries, but it’s nothing that unusual that should be considered a complete failure. Things went back to normal against Jay Cutler and especially Josh Freeman, who didn’t take off for a run one time.

So are the Giants some sort of defensive juggernauts when it comes to stopping the run? Probably not. They’re not bad, but the offense that doesn’t help them by turning the ball over so much? Those turnovers are the reason for the low yardage. Teams don’t have to run the ball because the Giants have thrown 16 interceptions and have lost four more fumbles.

Their passing defense has been so bad that even when you’re just trying to kill the clock, there might be an even better shot if you keep throwing the ball than running at that defense with a front line that has been horrible at pass rushing quarterbacks, but pretty decent when it comes to clogging up holes for running backs. The Josh Freeman experience did help their numbers quite a bit with their ‘against the pass’ numbers, but there really hasn’t been anything to be proud of when it comes to the Giants defense this season.

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