The Giants turned a much-needed corner in last week’s 28-23 victory over the Eagles. Coming out of their bye week, the traditional time to make adjustments to the team’s scheme and depth chart, the Giants finally committed to rookie running back Paul Perkins.
Are we done with the days of Rashad Jennings as the starting running back? Probably not. But when it comes to classifying the pecking order in the team’s backfield, terms like “starting” and “change of pace” are all relative when you have the most inept running game the NFL has seen since 1933.
That’s right. Last week the Giants failed to notch more than 80 rushing yards for the fifth straight game, the first time that’s happened since rushing records were first recorded during the Great Depression, according to the Associated Press.
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Amazing, not least because the team has won three games in a row.
That’s the Giants, though – an historical outlier that still wins games.
Not content with scrapping the running game altogether (though maybe they should), the Giants handed Perkins 11 carries last week, more than double his career carries (10) coming into the game. They also hit him for three receptions for 15 yards.
Perkins didn’t exactly set the world on fire, notching just 32 yards on the ground, with a long of 14, averaging 2.9 yards per carry. But he has the home run capability that Jennings lacks. And with home run capabilities outside with Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and another emerging rookie, Roger Lewis, the Giants now have an offense that is explosive and multi-faceted.
Coming out of the bye, head coach Officer Farva wisely relinquished play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. Why you would have an offensive coordinator and now allow him to make the play calls never made sense. You hire guys to do a job and you should let them do it.
Now the Giants face Cincinnati on Monday night. The Bengals are coming off their bye week and will undoubtedly have made some adjustments themselves. The team is 3-4-1 and have played a brutally competitive schedule. They’re every bit the team that got beaten in the Wild Card game each of the last five years. This team is wholly unpredictable – capable of coming out and blowing the Giants off the field with a No. 6-ranked offense – featuring Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill.
On defense, they have playmakers at all three levels: Pro Bowlers Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins on the line, law-flouter Vontaze Burfict at linebacker, and Reggie Nelson in the secondary. Vegas ought to have the odds at 3:2 that Beckham and Burfict will get into a fight.
If the playoffs started today, the Giants would be the No. 5 seed. Are we ready to call them a playoff team? Well, if they beat the Bengals to raise their record to 6-3 – with upcoming games against the Bears and the Browns – then the Giants will definitely have turned a corner.
Keep handing the ball to Perkins, keep throwing the ball to Beckham, Shepard and Lewis. There’s a lot of home runs on this roster. The Giants just have to hit ‘em.