Big Blue Breakdown: Week 11 Recap

The Giants are making a comeback. Big Blue faced their toughest competition yet in the Green Bay Packers, but with a decisive 27-13 win they proved that they are anything but out of the playoff race. However, that doesn’t mean it’s an easy road from here on out; the same kind of effort the team displayed on Sunday will be needed every week for the Giants to be able to win the NFC East and make it into the playoffs. So as always, as we prepare for next week’s battle we’ll take a look at the positives and negatives from this week’s action:

Jason Pierre-Paul (#90) scores a pick-six against the Packers (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

Jason Pierre-Paul (#90) scores a pick-six against the Packers (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports)

The Rundown:

- Giants beat Packers 27-13

- Hakeem Nicks’s frustrations continue, Nicks misses practice with non-serious groin injury

- JPP on upcoming Cowboys game: “This is going to be a bloodbath”

- Corey Webster aims to return from injury in time for Cowboys game

The Negatives:

Besides the pick-six by JPP, the pass rush didn’t seem to show up at all. They barely laid a finger on Scott Tolzien all game and allowed the Packers to make several big plays through the air. On paper, the Giants have a loaded defensive line but it has yet to show the kind of production they need from it in the passing game. That will absolutely have to change if the Giants want to slow down higher-caliber quarterbacks like Tony Romo and Russell Wilson later this year.

Eli Manning threw another interception against Green Bay but it can be attributed 100% to Louis Murphy Jr. Murphy decided as Eli Manning released the football that he should change his hitch route to a dig, and because he ran away from the ball Tramon Williams was left with an easy pick. Murphy is on a one-year deal and with only one catch so far this season, his chances of being in New York next year don’t look great. Speaking of receivers potentially leaving, Hakeem Nicks struggled to be a factor against the Packers and with the way his season has been going Rueben Randle just might make him expendable this offseason.

The negatives this week were pretty few and far between. Besides the mediocre pass defense and interception, the Giants were really tight as a squad. Andre Brown and Brandon Jacobs didn’t have high yards-per-carry averages, but that was more due to the offensive line than themselves. Hopefully performances like this will be a lot more common by the Giants in the coming weeks.

The Positives:

Once again, the Giants were able to generate several sorely-needed turnovers on defense. Jon Beason intercepted a bad pass from Scott Tolzien and returned it for nine of the hardest-earned yards by a Giant this year. Then, after a Packers touchdown and subsequent Giants’ 3-and-out, Jason Pierre-Paul intercepted a pass and took it into the end zone to swing momentum back to Big Blue. Finally, Antrel Rolle grabbed his third interception in four games to help put down any hope of a Packers comeback.

The defense also did a great job of shutting down Eddie Lacy, who ran the ball 14 times for a pitiful 27 yards. They can put his name next to Adrian Peterson, Lesean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, and Matt Forte on the list of running backs who have been shut down on the ground thanks to the efforts of the defensive line as well as Spencer Paysinger and Jon Beason. None of those backs were able to rush for more than 67 yards or average more than 3.6 yards-per-carry against a fearsome Giants defense.

On offense, Eli Manning and Victor Cruz connected 8 times for 110 yards while Manning also hit Rueben Randle for a 26-yard touchdown pass. Manning finished 25/35 for 279 yards and a touchdown plus the fluke interception despite being sacked four times, showing that even with pressure constantly in his face he was able to get things done and lead the offense down the field. That kind of leadership will definitely be needed next week against the Cowboys’ effective pass rush.

Finally, the special teams unit deserves recognition for a great all-around performances. Josh Brown nailed two field goals, Rueben Randle had a 35-yard punt return, and Steve Weatherford averaged a staggering 53 yards per punt on five punts. Those punts ended up making a huge difference on the scoreboard, as the Packers struggled to put together any long scoring drives.

Jon Beason (#52) celebrates an interception against the Packers (Bill Koustron/AP Photo)

Jon Beason (#52) celebrates an interception against the Packers (Bill Koustron/AP Photo)

Conclusion:

Week 11 was a big week for the New York Giants, and exactly the kind of win they needed to be able to face the Cowboys with confidence. The offense was in sync and the defense was dominant. Week 12′s matchup with Dallas has huge playoff implications, so a similar performance will be needed for the team to secure its fifth-straight victory. However, though Sunday’s game may seem daunting, the Giants used their week 11 game to put many concerns to rest and there is no reason to believe they can’t go toe-to-toe with the Cowboys and emerge as the better team.

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Geoffrey Morton

An avid New York Giants fan with a passion for sports writing who is proud to be a part of Pro Football Networks!
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