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Giants’ defense is No. 1 in the red zone

Giants outside linebacker Mark Herzlich (94) and Jonathan

Giants outside linebacker Mark Herzlich (94) and Jonathan Casillas (52) stop Baltimore Ravens' Terrance West on fourth down near the goal line during the second half on, Oct. 16, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: AP / Seth Wenig

The Giants’ defense has made tremendous strides from last year’s 32nd-ranked unit, and one of the biggest changes has been in the red zone.

They lead the league in that category, allowing just 13 touchdowns on 31 possessions inside the 20 (41.9 percent). The Steelers are second with 13 TDs allowed in 30 red-zone possessions (43.3).

“It’s just defending our territory, basically,” defensive end Olivier Vernon said. “You never want to have it fall on us where you give up points. We take a lot of pride in that, our defense as a whole. It’s still something we have to work on. We gave up a touchdown this past game in the red zone. That’s not up to our standards.”

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said the success in tight quarters is due more to personality than play-calling.

“I think the character of the guys we have and the competitiveness of the guys we have out there makes a huge difference,” he said. “I see it in their eyes. They don’t flinch when they get out there. I hope that’s confidence in what we’re doing but I think it really resonates because of the guys that we have, the quality of guys.”

New York Sports