Last week, Football Outsiders released its annual Almanac. The 2017 Football Outsiders Almanac is choc-full of stats, projections, and other useful information for every team in the league. But of course here we care about what it says about the New York Giants. Now we’re not going to spoil the entire chapter -- you can purchase the Almanac here if you’re interested -- but we’ll take a look at some of the standout information from the folks at Football Outsiders.
We’ll start with the basic projections. FOA projects the Giants for 8.3 wins in 2017. Now before you go crazy over that number, understand that’s a mean projection over thousands of simulations. In that process, mean wins bring most teams close to 8-8. So while 8.3 wins might sound low, it’s the ninth-highest total in the NFL and sixth-highest in the NFC.
With these projections, the Giants have a 39.9 percent chance of making the playoffs, which is the fifth-highest figure in the NFC. The Giants trail the Dallas Cowboys in both figures as Dallas is projected for 9.3 average wins and a 54.7 percent chance of making the playoffs, both fifth-best among all teams.
The Giants get a 6.5 percent chance of reaching the Super Bowl and a 2.9 percent chance of taking home the Lombardi Trophy.
While the Giants are projected for the ninth-most wins, they’re projected to be slightly better by DVOA. where they come out seventh. The disconnect there is that the Giants are projected to have the fourth-hardest schedule in the league, which could call for some close games and possible fewer wins than would be expected.
Two things most Giants fans already know: the team led the league in offensive plays with three or more wide receivers on the field (92 percent) and plays with just one back in the backfield (93 percent) during the 2016 season.
Last season the Giants were 26th in rushing DVOA despite facing an average of 6.01 men in the box, which ranked 30th in the league. They were also one of the least reliant teams on play action. The Giants used it on just 15 percent of their passes, which ranked 29th. They were also the fastest offense in the league at 28.72 seconds per play in neutral game situations. The New Orleans Saints and Chip Kelly’s San Francisco 49ers were second and third, respectively.
Four teams rushed six or more players more often than the Giants last season (9.4 percent). Most of the time those extra rushers were defensive backs, which led to the fourth highest percentage of defensive back blitzes (14 percent) and because of that, 20 percent of the Giants’ sacks came from defensive backs, the highest percentage in the league.
Despite going three-deep at cornerback, the Giants spent just a little over half of their defensive snaps in nickel (52 percent). It was their best defense, though, which allowed just 4.8 yards per play and -23.8 percent DVOA. The defense excelled at defending 11 personnel, which it saw 62 percent of the time, with 5.0 yards per play allowed and -23.7 percent DVOA.
The Giants had one of the best run defenses in the league -- second by DVOA -- and they did that in part by loading up the box against opposing offenses. The Giants’ 6.31 box was the seventh-heaviest in the league for defenses in 2016.
There’s plenty more where these stats came from and if you’re interested I would highly recommend purchasing the Almanac and digging into everything it has to offer.