State of the Defense

The New York Giants’ recent skid has brought great attention to the team’s offensive struggles.

Though blame is warranted, the offense is not the sole reason for the past two losses.

The Giants’ defense has not been the Giants’ defense. The ferocious pass rush the team is known for is non-existent. And when the Giants won the Super Bowl last year with a shaky defense in terms of yardage allowed, that pass rush was the difference-maker.

Now they can’t get to the quarterback, stop the quarterback or the running game.

Overall, it’s a mess.

TOO MUCH YARDAGE: The Giants rank 25th in the NFL is yards allowed per game. For perspective, the wildly pathetic Raiders, Bills, Panthers and Eagles all have better defenses.

PASS DEFENSE: Big Blue has allowed 24 touchdowns, the same number as the much-maligned Cowboys. Seventeen of them have come via the air.

SACKS: The Giants D, known for its relentless attack on the quarterback, has produced 25 sacks this season, ranked 13th in the league. Sure, it’s more than the likes of Pittsburgh and Baltimore, but those defenses are about bending and not breaking. The Giants are about creating pressure and forcing turnovers.

THIRD-DOWN WOES: The Giants cannot get off the field on third-downs. Opposing offenses have converted 38 percent of its third-downs vs. New York, which is just about the middle of the pack in terms of the conversion rate in the league. One contributing factor: The Giants have committed 62 penalties.

Speaking of bending and breaking, that is exactly what Big Blue has been doing.

AS OF LATE: New York has allowed more than 300 yards per game in nine of its 10 games this season, and more than 400 against the Cowboys and Redskins. Against Cincinnati, the Giants did contain the Bengals to fewer than 300 yards; then again, that game was not even competitive in the fourth quarter.

THE SOLUTION: In the week off, the Giants should have worked to improve their pass rush. The whole defensive scheme runs through its heart, the defensive line.

The biggest weakness lies within the pass defense. The team in no way has been stellar against the run, but teams are gashing the Giants through the air.

Andy Dalton threw for 4 touchdowns; Big Ben, 2; RGIII, 2 – notice the theme here? In the last three games along, passers have combined for 852 yards, which is utterly ridiculous and inexcusable for a defending champion.

Safety Kenny Phillips is expected back this week against Green Bay, but it’s Antrel Rolle who has struggled. As has Corey Webster, who is usually assigned to the opposing No. 1 wide receiver.

The team has been susceptible to the “big play.” As of Week 11, the defense had allowed 39 pass plays of 20 yards or more. That’s a breakdown at the safety position.

SILVER LINING: The silver lining is the Giants have forced turnovers. They are second only to the Bears with 17 interceptions and rank third in forced and recovered fumbles, recovery. So the opportunities are there, if the offense can capitalize, of course.

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