I think I’ve been asking myself this since the clock hit 0:00 on the New York Giants 24-16 victory over the Houston Texans (1-7-1) in week 10. They are currently 7-2 and off to their best nine-game start since 2008 when they started 8-1.
This team has a ragtag group of players that we hadn’t heard of until a couple of weeks ago (Isaiah Hodgins? Lawrence Cager? Tanner Hudson?) who continue to make up for wasted big money (Kenny Golladay), bad attitudes (Kadarius Toney, traded to Kansas City) and injuries (Sterling Shepard, Daniel Bellinger.) These were not the players that Giants fans expected to see week in and week out but after 9 games they’re sitting pretty to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016. So how are they doing it?
In this particular game against Houston, it was the Saquon Barkley show. Give him the ball and let him fly. This strategy saw him carry the ball a career-high 35 times for 152 yards and a TD. Daniel Jones continues to be productive and manage the game without putting up monster numbers (13 of 17 for 197 yards, 2 TD). Then there’s the defense which every week loves to employ the “bend but don’t break” philosophy. Opposing teams will drive down the field but more often than not, held to field goals or turnovers. Yesterday, the defense clinched the game in the second half forcing two red-zone turnovers in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Jaylon Smith recovered Dameon Pierce’s fumble at the 11-yard line and Dane Belton intercepted Davis Mills’ pass in the end zone. It’s another case of “who ARE these guys? But thanks for being here!”
This comes down to coaching. Brian Daboll has instilled a winning attitude into the clubhouse that was sorely lacking with the previous head coaches (Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur and especially the failed Joe Judge experiment which led to a top-to-bottom overhaul of the entire organization.) Daboll seems to be THE guy to take the Giants to the next level…if only he can get a full compliment of players.
But for the time being, whoever is wearing a blue jersey on Sunday right now is doing the job with the “next man up” philosophy and it’s got the Giants at 7-2, no matter how ugly the games are.