Xavier McKinney Credit: Bill Moore photo

Call it the Daboll effect. The redemption of Barkley. Wink’s Warriors. The monikers being ascribed to the Giants this season are plentiful, as they were in recent years. The glaring difference is that for the moment, the descriptions are positive contrasted with those over much of the past decade, which were often accentuated by expletives.

Giants head coach Brian Daboll, running back Saquon Barkley and defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale have led a resurgence of a team that in two of the past three years had records of 4-12 (2019) and 4-13 last season. Heading into this Sunday’s Week 6 game against the 3-2 Baltimore Ravens and their sensational quarterback Lamar Jackson at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the Giants have already won four games and at 4-1 are tied for second place with the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East division.

They are coming off of a gripping 27-22 comeback win over the Green Bay Packers in London on Sunday after falling behind 20-10 at halftime and entering the fourth quarter down 20-13. But the defense shut out the Packers in the final two quarters. Green Bay only scored two points in the last 30 minutes on an intentional Giants’ safety with 11 seconds remaining to avoid a potential blocked punt.

Rookie defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and safety Xavier McKinney deflected back-to-back passes from the Packers’ four-time and reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers on third and fourth downs respectively with a little over a minute remaining, which effectively sealed the Giants’ victory.

“I think we are just taking it one week at a time,” said Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. “Like I said, I think we’re confident, I think we’re tough, we’re competitive and we know those things. We are confident in those things. So, we are going to take it one week at a time and continue to improve as a group.”

Daboll’s imprint on the Giants and emphasis on discipline and detail was reflected in Jones’ protection of the football. Jones, who in his previous three seasons had 29 interceptions and 19 fumbles lost in 38 games, has just two INTs and one fumble lost in five games this season. As for Barkley, he had an inconsequential 593 yards on 162 carries in 13 games a season ago.

After running for 70 yards against the Packers, he has nearly reached his 2021 total in a mere five games this season. Barkley was second in the league in rushing when the NFL’s Week 6 schedule began with 533 yards and topped the league in all-purpose yards from scrimmage with 676. 

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