People said and wrote a lot of things about this team going into the season. There were plenty of questions.
While there's plenty of football left to play, here's what I think we've learned about this team so far, and a couple of things that I think are left to answer.
The opinions are only mine. Your mileage may vary.
In no particular order:The team is tough and can overcome adversity. This is clear not only in the way they win these 4th quarter comebacks, but in how they adjust to injuries.
Eli Manning must have really gotten tired of hearing about his interceptions last year. He has very clearly taken Coughlin's advice to take a sack or throw the ball away when the play just isn't there, and it has made a real difference to the team's turnover ratio. If Eli doesn't do that, the Giants don't win these close games because the game already gets away from them. That's one of the biggest things making this year different from last year, and he is having an "elite" season (so far).
Jerry Reese did not know for sure who would step up to replace Steve Smith if he left or Kevin Boss, but he had confidence in his coaches and in the organization's ability to identify and collect talent to the point that he expected someone would. Victor Cruz and Jake Ballard have developed into exciting options over the middle and for the big play, and may even be upgrades over Smith and Boss. Jerry Reese was right, and his critics were completely wrong.
The coaching staff has brought this team along so far through injuries and has made adjustments to develop talent and put the players in a position to win every game except the first one (which was like a messy preseason game). The most criticized coaches in the organization - Perry Fewell, Kevin Gilbride and even Tom Quinn - have all been having good seasons. Not flawless, but very good.
People wondered if Ahmad Bradshaw would be able improve ball security. The answer has been yes.
People speculated over which player would break out and beat expectations. Readers took part in a poll here. The answers so far have been Jason Pierre-Paul, Jaquian Williams, Victor Cruz, Aaron Ross and Jake Ballard (and not all of them were even listed in the stupid author's poll!).
People wondered if the Giants would be able to beat quality teams. So far, through a softer half of the schedule, and answer is a tentative yes. They beat the Bills and the Patriots, but the collective record of their opponents so far is just 22-41. Their coming opponents are a collective 36-20 (they play Dallas twice).
People wondered if the newly reconstituted offensive line would hold up. The answer so far is "sort of." The line has been pretty consistent in pass protection, and poor in the run game. Yesterday's game against the Pats was better, but still, the run game is mostly just there to keep the defense honest to keep the passing game strong. That's not traditional Giants' football and not the plan Coughlin fully intended. Still this receiving corps is arguably the best the team has ever had, led by a great QB in his prime.
While the Giants have proven themselves to be a better coached and more talented team than their critics expected, the Giants have still not proven they can consistently beat quality opponents and sustain high performance for sixteen games.
I think they can, but I sure as hell don't know if they will. Got to take it one game at a time, but I'm enjoying the hell out of the ride.