Earlier this week I asked Big Blue View readers to vote on how many games they thought the 0-6 New York Giants would win this season.
Out of 1,577 votes as of Sunday morning, 8 percent (125 voters) said the Giants would run the table and win all 10 of their remaining games. Two percent (39 voters) were as pessimistic as possible, saying the Giants would go winless, finishing 0-16. The most popular answers were three or four wins, with 42 percent of voters (a combined 668 votes) choosing those numbers.
Let's get the apologies out of the way right. Sorry, Jadaveon Clowney fans. The Giants will not go winless, and they will play themselves out of position to be able to draft the Carolina defensive end. Sorry also to those of who think the Giants will suddenly flip the script and run the table, going unbeaten the rest of the season. The Giants have too much talent to remain winless, but there isn't an iota of evidence that they are capable of winning out.
In the end, they will probably land somewhere in the middle of that.
This season has been unlike any other season during Tom Coughlin's tenure as Giants' coach. In each of those previous nine seasons the Giants won at least five games during the first half of the season. Obviously, they can't do that this time around.
I warned before Week 1 that this felt like a season that would be different for the Giants. I felt that the 'fast start, slump in the middle or at the end' model might change.
"It isn't hard to envision this team sputtering throughout early part of the season and finding its stride as it moves along" is part of what I wrote back then.
Head coach Tom Coughlin sensed it as well, calling his team "a work in progress" as the season opener vs. the Dallas Cowboys approached.
So, no, a slow start by the 2013 Giants was not hard to envision. This slow, however? Unimaginable.
There are still, however, 10 games to play. Despite the woeful beginning to the season I hold to my original belief that the second half of the season will be better for the Giants than the first half. Of course, at this point winning any games at all would be an improvement. Yet, I do believe this team will be better over the course of the final 10 games than it has been throughout the first six.
Start with Eli Manning. He has those 15 interceptions and an awful 64.0 passer rating. You have to believe he isn't going to continue to throw interceptions at this rate. He's too talented and has had too much success not to play better.
On the defensive side you have to believe that sooner or later Jason Pierre-Paul will rediscover his ability to get off the snap and once again become a force rushing the passer.
There have been some subtle signs of improvement. Against the Chicago Bears in Week 6 the Giants finally ran the ball well, with Brandon Jacobs getting 106 yards on 22 carries. Manning has been sacked only twice in the past two weeks after being sacked 14 times in the first four games. The pocket hasn't been perfect, but Manning hasn't been running for his life on seemingly every pass attempt.
On defense, the Giants have allowed less than 4 yards per rushing play three straight weeks. The 27-21 loss to the Bears was the first time the Giants gave up less than 30 points, and seven of those were due to a Manning interception being returned for a touchdown.
On special teams Steve Weatherford has been punting better. After being inconsistent early on and allowing two long punt returns Weatherford allowed Devin Hester zero return yards on three punts during Week 6.
Giants' Remaining Schedule
|Minnesota||Mon 10/21||8:40 PM EDT|
|@ Philadelphia||Sun 10/27||1:00 PM EDT|
|Oakland||Sun 11/10||1:00 PM EST|
|Green Bay||Sun 11/17||8:30 PM EST|
|Dallas||Sun 11/24||4:25 PM EST|
|@ Washington||Sun 12/01||8:30 PM EST|
|@ San Diego||Sun 12/08||4:25 PM EST|
|Seattle||Sun 12/15||1:00 PM EST|
|@ Detroit||Sun 12/22||4:05 PM EST|
|Washington||Sun 12/29||1:00 PM EST|
Look at the Giants' remaining schedule above. The margin between victory and defeat in the NFL is so narrow, most games are decided by a handful of plays. Even in the Giants' six losses you can argue that if a few plays had turned out differently the Giants might be 3-3. The only game of the 10 that looks like a mismatch is the Dec. 15 meeting with the currently 6-1 Seattle Seahawks. Every other game on the schedule looks winnable.
I don't see the Giants going on some type of magical run to the playoffs. I can, however, see the Giants improving and winning five or six of those games.
Your thoughts, Giants' fans?