Who saw this coming?
Surprising may not be a strong enough adjective. Shocking is a more apt characterization of the Giants’ 5-1 start to the season. They are too far out of the gate to describe their record as a fluke. The parity that permeates the NFL dictates the Giants may indeed have staying power.
Where they end up when their final regular season game on Jan. 8 versus the Eagles in Philadelphia is in the books, less than three months away, is to be determined. But today, as the Giants head into Week 7 to face the 2-4 Jacksonville Jaguars on the road, they are one of the top teams in the league.
After defeating the Baltimore Ravens 24-20 at MetLife Stadium last Sunday, the Giants, second in the NFC East, are one of only three teams with just one loss, along with the 5-1 Buffalo Bills of the AFC East and the 5-1 Minnesota Vikings of the NFC North. The 6-0 Eagles are the NFL’s lone undefeated squad. Execution, limiting mistakes and a fine attention to detail have been the most important aspects of the Giants playing as well as any team in the fourth quarter of games. They have overcome deficits of 10 points or more three times thus far.
“We just focus on the things we need to do, which is to make sure we understand what we need to do as a team, first and foremost,” said Giants head coach Brian Daboll on Monday as reported by the team’s website. “Study our opponents, go out there, practice well, put everything you have into the week leading up to the game.
“If you do that, you can live with the results,” Daboll expanded. “If you’re doing things right during the week and putting everything you have into it, your preparation and coaching staff, support staff, players, and trainers. There’s only one game a week obviously and it’s not many of these things. So, everything we’ve got each week and that’s really where we focus.”
The Giants doubled the Ravens’ points in the fourth quarter, scoring 14 to Baltimore’s seven, and pressured their dynamic quarterback Lamar Jackson into an interception by safety Julian Love with 3:04 remaining followed by rookie defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux forcing a Jackson fumble at 1:40 which was recovered by fellow lineman Leonard Williams that closed out the win.
Offensively, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was middling but effective, going 19-27 for 173 yards, the longest passes 18 yards—one apiece to wide receivers Darius Slayton and Marcus Johnson. The statistics that mattered most were Jones had two touchdowns and no interceptions.
“It’s just a tough group,” said Jones after the win. “We’ve got a competitive spirit, a competitive stamina, something Dabs has preached since he got here in the spring.
“I think guys have really taken to that and really tried to make that something we show every time we get on the field. It’s a tough, gritty group. It wasn’t perfect again today, a lot of things we can clean up and do better but found a way to win down the stretch.”