EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Watch out. The New York Giants don’t even resemble the team that struggled badly early this season. Or even the team that had blown an 11-point lead in the final five minutes the first time they faced the Philadelphia Eagles last month.
First-year head coach Joe Judge seems to have them moving in the right direction. The Giants held on to an early 11-point lead on Sunday in a 27-17 victory over the Eagles that drew them even in the win column for the NFC East lead. The Giants ended an eight-game losing streak to Philadelphia dating back to the 2016 season.
The Giants (3-7) remain a full game back of Philadelphia (3-5-1) but, believe it or not, they have quickly become the sexy favorite to win the NFL’s worst division.
How did this happen? First, the Giants won consecutive games for the first time this season. They built a double-digit lead for the sixth straight game, but held on for dear life for the second straight week.
Judge has preached repeatedly the goal is to improve each week. Forget the record. Don’t look at the division standings.
They seem to be checking boxes. Their quarterback, Daniel Jones, isn’t turning the ball over anymore at a ridiculous rate. He didn’t commit a turnover for the second consecutive game. Their running game continues to improve, and their defense has found the panacea for its late-game struggles. No more blowing double-digit leads in ridiculous fashion on a weekly basis.
Up by seven with just under five minutes remaining, the Giants stopped the driving Eagles inside of midfield. Looking to put the game away, Jones lofted the ball perfectly down the left sideline as wide receiver Darius Slayton made an over-the-shoulder catch. Several plays later, kicker Graham Gano nailed a 44-yard field goal that put the game out of reach.
The Giants are an ascending team now. They might be the only team in the NFC East that can say that right now.
Promising trend: Giants run game on the rise. The Giants run game, led by Wayne Gallman and Jones, has now topped 160 yards in each of the past three games. That’s notable because in the first three games combined, the Giants barely topped 160 yards on the ground.
A lot of credit needs to go to the Giants’ offensive line. They have seemingly gotten better each week.
Gallman has also solidified the running back position. He ran hard again on Sunday, finishing with 53 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries. It was his fourth straight game with a rushing touchdown.
It also helped that Jones again crushed the Eagles on the zone-read, this time with a 34-yard keeper that went for the game’s first score.
Next Gen Stat: 19.70 miles an hour for Jones on his TD run. It wasn’t the 21.23 miles per hour Jones hit on the 80-yard run and stumble against the Eagles several weeks back. He didn’t need to hit top speed this time. This time it was just a touch under 20 mpg.
Jones had topped 20 mph on four runs this season. It wasn’t necessary this time when he raced untouched into the end zone.