Giants safety and defensive signal caller Xavier McKinney Credit: Bil Moore photo

Last season, the NFC East division was one of the weakest in the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys were a flawed 12-5 division champion and the NFC’s No. 3 seed, and fell at home 23-17 to the No. 6 seeded San Francisco 49ers in the opening round. The Philadelphia Eagles were a 9-8 wild card team and the NFC’s lowest seeded playoff team at No. 7 that lost to the No. 2 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-15.

The then Washington Football Team, now the Commanders, finished 7-10. The Giants? They were tied for the third worst record in the league at 4-13 and failed to make the playoffs for the ninth time over the past ten seasons. This season the division has undergone a transformation. The Eagles are the only undefeated team at 8-0. The Cowboys are laden with exceptional talent throughout their roster and at 6-2 have the makings of a Super Bowl contender. The Commanders are a competitive 4-5.
However, no team has signified the resurgence of the division as much as the Giants. With a new first-time general manager and rookie head coach Brian Daboll, the duo, along with the front office, coaching, medical and sports performance staff have simultaneously altered the culture and outcomes on the field. Before this season began, few if any prognosticators picked the Giants to match last season’s win total by the second week of October. Yet they were 4-1 after Week 5 and have proven to possess the capabilities to play with anyone.
The Giants face the 1-6-1 Houston Texans this Sunday at MetLife Stadium coming off of their bye-week. Their previous game was a 27-13 loss to the NFC West leading Seattle Seahawks on the road. The Texans are a classic trap game for the Giants who have the Lions, who are currently 2-6, in Week 11 before a critical Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Cowboys in Texas.
The Giants will be missing their defensive signal caller and one of the league’s emerging top safeties in Xavier McKinney, who is out at least four weeks after breaking several fingers and requiring surgery resulting from an ATV accident in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico during the bye-week.
“Kinda just tilted over and fell on my hand,” said the 23-year-old McKinney, who the Giants drafted in the second round (No. 36 overall) out of Alabama in 2020. “We were on a sightseeing tour, that’s what I can tell you. It was nothing that was reckless…and it was just an unfortunate event that happened.”

Safety Julian Love, 24, a four-year veteran, will now assume the role of signal caller for defensive coordinator Wink Martindale.

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