Well it’s official: the New York Giants have eluded their usual 6-10 record for the first time since 2013. Under head coach Ben McAdoo, the Giants are suddenly playoff contenders with their 7-3 record heading into week 12.
“It was good to get the win today,” said McAdoo after the Giants’ 22-16 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday. “We had a good week of preparation, a short week. It was nice to see it pay off here in the second half.”
The Giants’ five-game winning streak is mostly thanks to lucky ball possession in the fourth quarter, rather than blowout wins over their opponents. This could easily suggest the Giants are no better than last year, that they’ve only been getting lucky since the bye. But in reality, the Giants newfound ability to stay competitive for both halves, to overcome a deficit, and to scrape a win in the fourth, is the primary difference between McAdoo’s winning Giants and Tom Coughlin’s mediocre ones.
Last season, Coughlin’s Giants relied on their top rated offense to take the early lead, which they tended to give up in the second half anyway thanks to their appalling defense. Under McAdoo, the Giants are competitive the entire game on all sides of the football, which has allowed them to go for seven wins.
“7-3, we’ll take it,” said quarterback Eli Manning postgame. “The NFC East is tough…we can’t get comfortable. We’ve got to keep getting better, so there’s still lots of room for improvement.”
McAdoo’s Giants are on the path for their first playoff appearance in five seasons. They’re actually relevant in the NFL for the first time since their last Super Bowl championship. But they still can’t afford to relax over their winning record. The NFC East is surprisingly one of the toughest divisions in the league this season, with all four teams pulling over .500 after week 11. But if the Giants maintain the momentum of the past five weeks, there’s no reason they can’t make the playoffs.