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Despite 0-2 start, Giants show signs of life on defense

Giants cornerback James Bradberry (24) defends Chicago Bears

Giants cornerback James Bradberry (24) defends Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) during the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020.  Credit: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

Joe Judge knows the stakes.

"In the NFL we’re only paid for production," he said on Monday, "so every week we need to get a win."

It’s not as if he is about to be fired, but it is starting to become glaring that he has yet to produce a victory as an NFL head coach. And his first season at the helm already is producing more sinking feelings from a fan base that has been sunk too often.

The Giants are 0-2, and if you follow the team you already know the bleak numbers about such squads making the playoffs. Heck, it’s been the defining stat for this team over the past eight years, including this one. They now have started with at least two straight losses seven times during that stretch and in six of the previous seven seasons they did not produce a winning record. The one time they went 2-0 was 2016 when they reached the postseason.

But there are a few glimmers of hope, among them the performance by the Giants’ defense in the second half on Sunday. They did not allow a point, forced two turnovers, and finally played the way they have been expecting to play.

"We made it much harder on Mitch [Trubisky] than we did in the first half," safety Jabrill Peppers said on Monday, a day after a 17-13 loss to the Bears. "Guys are already good in this league. You can’t give them things. In the second half we did a great job of making it hard on them, making them earn everything."

It’s why Peppers thinks the Giants are inching toward their first win of the season.

"We’re right there in games," Peppers said. "It’s just that in this league it always comes down to three or four plays that you wish you had back that determine the game. Obviously we haven’t gotten the results we’d like to, but we know we’re not far off. I’d like to think we’re trending in the right direction."

Now they just have to get there.

"Our guys are on track," Judge said. "They’re really focused. The culture we have in this building is the one we want to have, and that’s to go to work each day. Every week is a new week, everybody is 0-0 going into Week 3."

How the Giants emerge from Week 3 will be of more significance.

New York Sports