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Blue Data: Important numbers from Week 12 vs. Washington

Doom and gloom when things go boom in Sinclair's lab.

It was William Shakespeare's character, Macbeth, that said "Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." Have you ever heard a more apt analogy for the 2015 New York Giants?

While the football season may be short, it's made ever shorter by ineptitude, an unwillingness to acknowledge your flaws, and the tired formality of post-game excuses and clichés. Much like Macbeth, the Giants are haunted by the possibility of greatness, the knowing of one's potential, and the inability to fully achieve it.

On Sunday, we saw the Giants throw away an important game in the division race. The NFC East is a smoldering wreck, but there's a gold ticket to the playoffs in the glove compartment. With a loss to Washington, the Giants shifted over to the passenger seat, and now their future is out of their hands. They may end up as champions, and they are currently tied for the division lead, but that's a mirage. The remaining schedule is insane. It'll take a wrong turn or two or four by the other teams in the division to put the Giants back within striking range.

The Good

100.4

It can be difficult to find bright spots in games like these, but there is an obvious gleaming ball of fire sitting right under our noses. Nobody is ignoring it, but sometimes it's important to acknowledge its power. Odell Beckham Jr. is the sun. Without him, the Giants would be dead.

We have seen Beckham break records -- loads of them. It's getting to the point where we are no longer surprised by his surprises, but this week, I found something that actually hit home. Chase Stuart of Football Perspective tweeted a link to a "Player Season Finder" page on Pro-Football-Reference.com. These pages are user generated tables based on any number of chosen criteria. The one that Stuart coughed up was particularly interesting.

FOR COMBINED SEASONS, FROM 1920 TO 2015, FROM 1ST TO 2ND SEASON, REQUIRING 1,000+ RECEIVING YARDS, SORTED BY DESCENDING RECEIVING YARDS PER GAME.

What this means is that; for receivers who have generated at least 1,000 yards in each of their first two seasons, Beckham has done it with the most yards per game. He comfortably blows Randy Moss' 1998-1999 campaigns out of the water, and even his recent counterparts of Josh Gordon and Victor Cruz don't stand a chance when put alongside what Beckham has done.

I'm not saying he's the best receiver in history, or even currently, but there are empirical measurements that would back up anyone who wishes to make that argument. At this stage, we have stopped comparing Beckham to other receivers, and begun using his name as a compliment towards others. When anyone makes a good catch now, you hear commentators remarking on the player's Beckham impression. When someone has a monster game, people talk of how he might be good enough to challenge Beckham as the top receiver.

We have seen plenty of greats -- and even greatests -- come and go in this league, but it's rare for those discussions to happen so early, and with such certainty. Beckham is the energy source of New York. The only thing more sure than his talent, is how pathetically lost this team and its fans would be without him. Somewhere out there in an alternate universe, there are fans of a Beckham-less Giants team navigating the illegible oceans of outer space without a compass or light to provide context to the joy of football. Sometimes in the tough losses, you can still find something to remind you why you're damn lucky to be a fan of this team.

The Bad

12

Has anyone noticed how bad the Giants' pass rush is? Weren't they known for being good at that? Also, what's the deal with those tiny packets of peanuts you get on airplanes. I mean, there's like three peanuts in this one tiny bag. Oh, sorry, I thought this was part the the article where I try out my hacky stand-up routine. Did you guys know that men and women are different? I swear, it's like we're a whole other species sometimes. Sorry. I'm done now.

It's just that this topic has gotten so boring over the course of the season, that it has indeed taken on a fatigued quality that somewhat mirrors the on-field product. The Giants are bad at pass-rushing. I wrote extensively about it during the bye week, and it was exhausting to turn on GamePass this past Sunday and see that none of the issues have been corrected.

In terms of hard-data, SB Nation's own Katie Sharp sums it up well, but there's also this bleak tidbit; the 12 sacks by the Giants is their lowest 11-game total since team sacks were first tracked in 1963. Their lowest through a 16-game season is 25 sacks (1992). There is no way they even get close to that number.

5,000

In a victory over the Giants, Kirk Cousins was 17- of-22 for 203 yards when throwing less than 15 yards through the air. This success isn't surprising. Short passes have been the secret to beating this team all year. The New York pass defense plays like they have been shot in the leg. It's not a devastating injury, but they're slowly bleeding out and the darkness is approaching. It's not too late to save them, though maybe it might be more humane to put them out of their misery.

The thing about bleeding out is that it takes a long time, but it all adds up. Through a function of their woeful pass defense, the Giants are on pace to allow 4,947 yards through the air. I've been keeping track of this for several weeks now as this would be an NFL record. There is also the possibility that they may be the first defense in history to hit the 5K mark -- a nadir that is very difficult for a team to emerge from with everyone's jobs intact.

The possibility of 5,000 is brought on partly by the increased reliance on passing in modern football strategies, but the disparity between that number and the current NFL average (around 3,900) is cavernous, and down beneath the rocky cliff edge, you'll find a couple of wins buried, like dark secrets, skeletons of a troublesome era.

.367

The Giants are 0-3 in divisional away games this season. The Giants are 3-9 in divisional away games since 2012. The hard truth is that -- despite their "road warrior" statuses gleamed through a pair of plucky Super Bowl runs -- the Giants get a little home-sick.

Since the beginning of 2012, Tom Coughlin's boys have an 11-19 (.367) record on the road. That's unacceptable. This is a man who preaches day and night about leadership and responsibility, yet his recent teams have embodied the anti-thesis of an invading army. The post-Super Bowl Giants appear like those paper practice targets at gun ranges. It's okay, we'll just stand here and you can take your best shot. We resemble something threatening, but don't worry you won't have to deal with that today.

The Downright Confusing

20

There have been 20 games in Eli Manning's career where he has thrown three or more interceptions. This is obviously not good, and it could have gone in the negative section of this article, but I thought it was worth exploring the context of the statistic a little further.

See, the Giants have had the same quarterback for quite some time now. Manning hasn't missed a game since 2004, and that's the best active streak in the NFL. Between health and performance, it's nearly impossible to find a quarterback with reliability in both areas spanning over a decade.

One of my first articles for Big Blue View was a look at Kerry Collins. Many people mis-attribute the aim of that piece as a statement of support towards Collins' Hall of Fame chances, when it was simply a study of how a sub-par player's value can increase when extended over a long enough period. Collins had maybe two or three good years, but he played at a minimal level for so long that his value as a capable placeholder for many franchises shouldn't go unnoticed.

Manning provides that same experience but at a higher level. The hidden element in having 20 games with three or more interceptions is that you have to be a good enough quarterback to survive those days. When guys like Ryan Lindley or Dan Orlovsky have days like that, they get benched or even cut. It's strange to say, but it takes a great quarterback to compile as many multi-interception games as Manning.