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Giants’ Victor Cruz: Defense has bailed us out

Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants

Victor Cruz #80 of the New York Giants celebrates recovering a fumbled ball in the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

Who needs an offensive breakout?

Certainly not the Giants defense, which has carried the team this far and believes it can continue to do so in the playoffs. While many are waiting for the anemic offense to click, for it to score 30 points in a game for the first time this season, the defense seems fine with whatever their underperforming counterpart can muster even if it remains a paltry 19.4 points per game.

“I feel like we have the recipe to go out there and win the Super Bowl,” defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins told Newsday of the lopsided production.

That recipe apparently calls for heaps of defense and just a pinch of offense.

If it’s true that defense wins championships, the Giants certainly have as good a shot as anybody this year. They have allowed 24 offensive touchdowns, the fewest in the NFL. They are third in scoring defense, allowing 18.3 points per game.

“We’re always feeling like we control everything,” Hankins said. “We look at it like this: If they don’t score, they don’t win. So if we can do the best job of holding them out of the end zone, holding them to field goals if we have to give up field goals, if we do that, I feel like we’ll put ourselves in a good position to win games.”

Can the Giants defense win it all while dragging the offense along? Maybe. Would it be easier if the offense was able to score more than the shade over two offensive touchdowns it has averaged per game so far this season? Absolutely. Which is why this last regular season game the offensive players are hoping to finally have that showcase they’ve been predicting as right around the corner since September.

“We understand the talent level we have in this locker room and we know that at the drop of a dime we can explode and make plays anywhere down the field,” Victor Cruz said. “We’re getting there. We’re in the red zone, we’re getting there like we want to in order to get points on the board, we’re just not coming away with them.”

Cruz also acknowledged that so far it’s been the defense that has led the team to the playoffs.

“The defense has bailed us out a lot this year,” Cruz said. “The majority of the season . . . the defense has been holding it down and playing lights out football. We want to get back to us being out there, not having to force our defense to go out and make a play to finish it.”

That would be nice. But not necessary, said Hankins, who is fine with the division of labor as it currently stands.

“We don’t really need to change up what we’ve been doing,” Hankins said. “Just continue to improve, play the games, and see how they turn out.”

New York Sports