EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants are a bad defensive team. Of this there can no longer be any doubt. You can no longer pin their issues on the tough schedule they've been playing -- not after watching Rex Grossman and an undermanned Washington Redskins offense pick them apart at MetLife Stadium en route to a 17-3 halftime lead. The Giants don't tackle well. They don't cover well. And if they don't sack the quarterback, their defense isn't just ordinary -- it's awful. Heck, they intercepted Grossman twice in the first half and still managed to give up 193 total yards and have been unable to stop the Redskins on the ground or in the air.
Of all of the mistakes they've made -- the penalties, the missed tackles, the blown coverages and protection breakdowns -- the most costly is that the Giants have allowed Washington to play the exact style of game it wants to play -- run the ball, churn out the clock and keep the opposing team's excellent quarterback on the sideline. The Redskins possessed the ball for 20:26 of the first half's 30 minutes and ran 22 run plays versus 18 pass plays. When they needed to hit a big pass, they were able to target overmatched rookie cornerback Prince Amukamara with repeated success.
When the Redskins get to play like this -- with Roy Helu churning out yards and Grossman finding the receiver he needs to find on third down -- they can be very tough. Their defense is a good one, and the pass rush has made life difficult for Eli Manning so far. The Giants' passing game is more than capable of coming back and winning this game by a sizable margin. But if the defense doesn't find a way to get some stops and force some punts, there's no reason to believe this game won't continue the way it's gone so far. The Redskins beat the Giants in Week 1 in Washington and don't lack confidence. And with defensive end Justin Tuck having left very early with an injury, the Giants are even thinner on defense than they usually are.
The Giants could lose this game and still win the division if they win their next two. But they have a tougher opponent next week in the Jets, and in that scenario their best-case scenario would be a do-or-die Week 17 game against the Cowboys. They'd be much better set up for the final two weeks of the season if they figured out a way to come back and win this. To do that, they're going to need to play some defense.