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Out of Darkness, the Giants are Closing In

Carl Banks quote from earlier this week sums up the position the Giants find themselves in perfectly. “The Giants have become the headlights in the rear view mirror seen from a distance,” he said. Everyone knows the uneasy feeling of driving down a dark road late at night being approached by unfamiliar car from afar. That’s exactly the emotion these improved New York Giants should have teams feeling these days, unsettled. The odds are against Big Blue, who already have 6 losses to their name, but as they’ve proven before, there’s no counting this team out. The Giants simply cannot afford to lose another game, and what’s scary about that fact is the Giants believe they won’t.

Unlike recent years, the spark that’s generated the current win streak the Giants find themselves on has been the defense.  The addition of Will Hill, a healthy Jason Pierre-Paul, and a rejuvenated Jon Beason has transformed this D into one of the most formidable in the league. As Ralph Vacchiano stated earlier this month, the Giants now rank 11th in the league in total defense; on October 10th, they ranked 26th. That’s a massive improvement in a short period of time. Jacquain Williams might be benefiting most from the addition of Beason, as he’s playing the best ball of his career and has seen a huge jump in his playing time. In week 11, Williams saw the field for 52 of 54 total defensive snaps, only Beason saw more playing time from within the LB corps.

Will Hill’s 2013 coming out party has been spectacular. In only 6 games, he’s already ProFootballFocus’s 7th ranked safety. Two plays come to mind when I think of Will Hill’s season up to this point, and neither of them would make any top 10 highlight reels. The first came against the Vikings on Monday Night Football back on October 21st, Adrian Peterson took a handoff up the middle, broke through the Giants’ second level of defense, and exploded to the outside for what should have been a touchdown. Will Hill committed to his spot, closed on AP, and forced him out of bounds; a ho-hum play to the common viewer. What most fail to realize is the speed needed to close off a sideline angle against Adrian Peterson. Hill’s elite speed at the safety position is what makes him special. The second play that comes to mind was against Green Bay last game, and involved fullback John Kuhn.  Kuhn received a dump off pass out of the back field and was met by Hill, who took him off his feet and into the ground with a perfect form tackle…minimal gain.  He plays fearlessly and hits like a hammer.  Will Hill has the makings of being a super star in this league, if he keeps his head on straight I have no doubt in my mind he’ll attain those lofty expectations.

Jason Pierre-Paul only talks when he’s confident in his ability to back up his words with his actions. Through the first 8 games of the season, the common trend coming from JPP’s camp was all about building for next season. But something changed over their week 9 bye, and Pierre-Paul announced his return to form. Since his self proclamation 2 weeks ago, JPP has one sack, one interception returned for a touchdown, and one NFC Defensive Player of the Week award, among other things. Not too shabby for someone currently playing with a balky shoulder.   What JPP has lacked the past two seasons has been the explosion off the line Giants fans grew so accustomed to in 2011. Not only was the Packers game his best game of the season statistically, but it was the first time in almost two years I saw the explosion off the line that separated Pierre-Paul from his competition. His conditioning and quickness were both on display for all to see last game, and it’s something that cannot be ignored. A healthy JPP is one of the most fearsome players in all the NFL, and when he’s vocal about his ability, there isn’t an offensive tackle in the league that can stop him from feasting on quarterbacks.

For the rest of the season it’s win or go home for these New York Football Giants, and the team is embracing that challenge. This revitalized energy and belief should be enough to have all G-Men fans excited about what lies ahead. A win this Sunday and those headlights seen from a distance will be a lot closer then they appear. The Giants are coming and they’re out for blood, buckle up.

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