For the Giants, what a difference a year makes
by John Jastremski
Nov 22, 2016 | 17892 views | 0 0 comments | 1335 1335 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The New York Giants were a football team a season ago that could be summed up by one word: almost.

I remember that in 2015 the Giants almost beat the Cowboys in Week 1, almost beat the Patriots in what could’ve been a season-defining type win, almost beat the Jets, and yes, almost came from behind against the NFC champion Carolina Panthers.

The fourth-quarter collapses and inability to finish games cost Tom Coughlin his job and forced Giants general manager Jerry Reese to realize a defensive overhaul was necessary to spark one of the most pathetic units in all of football.

Well, ten games into the 2016 season and the Giants are no longer an “almost” type of team.

The games the Giants lost in the fourth quarter a season ago are now victories in 2016.

The Giants are a 7-3 football team, but they are playing the same sort of games they played a season ago.

Except they are winning them.

Consider this fact. The Giants are 7-2 this season in games decided by eight points or less and their margin of victory in those seven victories is a total of 27 points, which is the lowest margin of victory over a team’s first seven wins in NFL History.

So how did the Giants go from a team that couldn’t close the deal to a team that is money in the bank in crunch time?

Well, it certainly helps spending a boatload of money on a defense that was in need of a makeover.

Free agent signings Janoris Jenkins, Oliver Vernon and Damon “Snacks” Harrison have all paid enormous dividends.

The Giants have done a much better job against the run and have finally shown signs of life lately with their pass rush.

In addition to the help in free agency, the Giants have seen one of their draft picks from 2015 flourish into a star.

Safety Landon Collins had an up and down rookie campaign. He had an opportunity to seal the deal against the New England Patriots a season ago with a gift interception that he dropped.

Collins' emergence and development is rather symbolic of the Giants team as a whole.

Instead of dropping the big interceptions, he’s making the big play over and over again.

Collins has recorded five interceptions in four games and seems to be in the middle of everything for a much-improved Giants defense.

Combine the emergence of the defense with the clutch quarterbacking of Eli Manning and the Giants look like a team that should be playing in the month of January in the postseason.

First-year head coach Ben McAdoo also deserves a ton of credit for the 7-3 start.

He’s been gutsy with fourth-down calls that have worked to perfection in back-to-back games and has not been phased in any way by filling the shoes of legendary Giants coach Tom Coughlin.

This Giants team is still far from perfect, but they’re a 7-3 team and I think they can get better.

That’s an encouraging sign going into December and January.

You can listen to me Thursday from 10 p.m. to midnight., Friday from 2-6 a.m., Saturday from 1-6 a.m. & Sunday from 2-6 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM. You can also listen to me Thursday from 6-9 a.m. on CBS Sports Radio and Friday from 6-10 p.m. on WQAM Radio in Miami. Week 12 NFL Unlocks

(23-21-1 ATS)

• Washington +7

• Pittsburgh -3

• San Diego PK

• Carolina +4

• Tennessee -3
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