The Giants understandably still have many skeptics that aren’t convinced the team has staying power despite their implausible 6-1 start to this season. But entering Week 8 as they prepare to face the arguably equally surprising 4-3 Seattle Seahawks this Sunday on the road, the Giants are rapidly converting doubters into believers.
Coming off of their 23-17 win versus the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road this past Sunday, a deep dive into their roster and raw metrics, as well as the eye test, doesn’t yield a determination the Giants are flush with All-Pro and Pro Bowl players, or match the collective talent of several of the NFL’s star-filled squads such as the Kansas Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.
The Giants have a developing quarterback in Daniel Jones, who did not have his fifth-year contract option picked up by the organization in the off-season, a clear sign the new regime of general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll were not sold on the 25-year-old No. 6 overall pick in the 2019 draft being their long-term QB.
They came into this season unsure if running back Saquon Barkley, the NFL’s No. 2 pick in 2018 who like Jones is playing for a new contract, could return to his rookie superstar form after a rash of injuries, notably a torn ACL that limited him to only two games in the 2020 campaign and relegated the gifted Bronx-born Penn State product to ordinary status over the past two seasons.
There were also warranted concerns about the offensive line. Although left tackle Andrew Thomas, another Giants first round pick (No. 4 in 2020), had steadily improved over his two years in the league, there was still noticeable room for refinement before he could be considered a stabilizing force of the unit.
On the other side of the ball, the defense, which under former coordinator Patrick Graham, now the defensive coordinator of the Las Vegas Raiders, had been solid in 2020 but last season, they lacked a disrupted pass rush and consistent playmakers. Furthermore, for salary cap purposes, Schoen and the Giants’ key decision makers released the team’s best cornerback, James Bradberry, in May.
As a footnote, Bradberry subsequently signed with the Giants’ NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles, who at 6-0 are the NFL’s only undefeated team, and has had a significant impact on their defense.
The aforementioned uncertainties prior to the Giants starting the season have thus far been allayed. Jones has been solid and at times resembled a player who could move into a higher tier on the league’s QB stratum, Barkley has been as explosive and productive as any back in football, Thomas is establishing himself as one of the game’s most reliable left tackles, and the defense, under new coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, has been fast, stout and aggressive.
Jones was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week after becoming the first Giants player in franchise history to pass for over 200 yards and rush for 100 in a single game. He had 202 passing and ran for 107 in the victory over the Jaguars.