Over the first five games of the regular season, the New York Giants have implemented an offensive system that is heavily dependent on the quick passing game. The team installed this offense to showcase the breakaway speed of Odell Beckham. The organization knew that provided he had man-to-man against a corner; corners would be unable to keep up with his speed. As a result of this, the team fell into the habit of calling quick passing plays that focused on slants, screens, out, in and curl routes because they wanted to give him the ball as fast as possible. Although the offense increases the chances of significant plays happening to lead to quick scores; It opens the door for the team to have the ball for less time because of a fast touchdown, 3 and out or turnover. As a consequence of this, the defense was forced to go back on the field without the proper amount of rest. Which led to the unit giving up more yards and points late in games because they were not able to regain some energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense. In fact, according to teamrankings.com, the Giants offense was on the field for an average of “27:25” thus the defense was on the field for 32:35.
However, Odell Beckham suffered a broken ankle against the Chargers last week that required season-ending surgery. As a result of this, the team was forced to drastically change their offense from a quick passing attack to a heavy run attack. For instance, Eli became more of a game manager who is in charge of handing the ball off more often in hopes of getting the defense to stack the box. According to ESPN, Eli handed off the ball to the running back 31 times for 148 yards last night against the Broncos. The renewed commitment to the running game has forced the opposing team to put men in the box, which makes it easier for the receivers to get open because they are facing more man to man coverage. Due to this, the team can complete enough throws to keep drives alive; and force the opposing team to put more players in coverage which opens up the running game again. As a result, the defense spent less time on the field meaning they had more time to rest between drives. According to ESPN, the unit was on the field for 29:24 last night against the Broncos which was about 3 minutes less than the previous five weeks. The change in philosophy led to the New York Giants to get the first win of the season versus the Broncos.
If the Giants continue their commitment to the running game, they should creep back into contention for a wild-card spot. But if they revert to depending on the passing game, the New York Giants will be contending for a top-five draft pick.