TODAY'S PAPER
Good Evening
Good Evening
SportsFootballGiants

Before and after: How the Giants improved

A composite of Eli Manning after a loss,

A composite of Eli Manning after a loss, left, and a win during the 2013 season. Credit: Jim McIsaac/Mike Stobe

After a dreadful 0-6 start, the Giants have won three games in a row and suddenly find their season very much alive in a wild NFC East.

But what’s changed about this team that not so long ago looked helpless?

Equality

During their 0-6 start, the Giants favored the pass by more than a 2-1 ratio. The offense attempted 233 passes (38.8 per game) and running backs had 113 carries (18.8 per game). That workload has become nearly equal during the winning streak, with running backs getting 101 total carries (33.6 per game) and Manning attempting 100 passes (33.3 per game).

On target

As his workload has decreased, Manning’s accuracy has improved. He had a 52.8 completion rate (121-for-229) in his first six games with 15 interceptions. He’s completed 60 percent of his passes (60-for-100) during the last three games and only been intercepted once.

Running downhill

The Giants have certainly improved their running back rotation with the addition of Peyton Hillis and the re-introduction of Andre Brown into the offense. But just because the workload has increased during their 3-0 spurt, it doesn’t necessarily mean the production has. Running backs averaged 3.6 yards per carry during the losing streak but are gaining an average of only 2.8 yards per carry in the last three games.

Plus-minus

One of the most notable differences between the Giants’ two streaks is their turnover differential. They were -16 with 23 turnovers during their first six games and are +3 with five turnovers during their last three.

Getting flagged

But just because the Giants have been better at protecting the ball doesn’t mean the team has been more disciplined. The Giants committed 39 penalties (6.5 per game) and were docked 345 yards (57.5 per game) during the 0-6 stretch. They’ve only cut those numbers slightly while going 3-0: 17 penalties (5.6 per game) and 169 yards (56.3 per game).

Getting defensive

The Giants went from scoring 17.1 points per game during their losing streak to 20.6 during their winning streak. That number is certainly trending in the right direction, but it’s only a small improvement compared to the defense’s turnaround. The Giants were allowing 34.8 points per game while winless. They’ve cut that all the way down to 11.3 points per game their last three games. The improvement is noticeable in all phases of the Giants’ game: Opponent rushing yards per game have been cut from 123.3 to 61.6; Opponent passing yards per game have been cut from 274.1 to 166.6; After registering five sacks in their first six games the Giants have nine in their last three.

New York Sports