After starting out 5-0 in the 2009 season, the New York Giants looked to be the class of the NFC East. It appeared that they had put the Plaxico Burress saga far behind them. But a four game losing streak and just 3 more wins the rest of the season left them a disappointing 8-8. This was a big surprise after they followed up their Super Bowl XLII win with a 12-4 2008. So, what went wrong in 2009 for them to struggle after such a great start? In the next of my 2009 NFL Season Reviews, I will try to answer just that question as well as determine what their draft needs might be. Since Free Agency has begun, I will also look at any key signings or losses that they have had.
Before going further, you should take a look at the Season Reviews Informational Post, if you haven’t already. It describes the methodology and data presented in the following tables. Now that you have reviewed the methodology behind this data, let’s take a look at the data, and I will discuss it below.
|Team Offense||Value||Rank||Team Defense||Value||Rank|
|Pass Yards||4019||11||Pass Yards||3425||15|
|Pass TD||28||7||Pass TD||31||30|
|Pass INTs||14||12||Pass INTs||13||22|
|Rush Yards||1837||17||Rush Yards||1773||14|
|Rush TD||14||15||Rush TD||21||30|
|NYG Pts||Opp D||Opp Pts||Opp O|
|Opp||Score||Avg Pt||Diff1||Score||Avg Pt||Diff2|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||24||25||-1||0||15.25||-15.25|
|Kansas City Chiefs||27||26.5||0.5||16||18.38||-2.38|
|New Orleans Saints||27||21.31||5.69||48||31.88||16.13|
|San Diego Chargers||20||20||0||21||28.38||-7.38|
|NYG Yds||Opp D||Opp Yds||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff1||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff2|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||397||365.56||31.44||86||287.5||-201.5|
|Kansas City Chiefs||429||388.19||40.81||212||303.19||-91.19|
|New Orleans Saints||325||357.75||-32.75||493||403.81||89.19|
|San Diego Chargers||304||326.88||-22.88||226||360.06||-134.06|
|NYG P-Yd||Opp D||Opp P-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff1||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff2|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||171||207.38||-36.38||58||185.94||-127.94|
|Kansas City Chiefs||273||231.69||41.31||88||182.63||-94.63|
|New Orleans Saints||241||235.56||5.44||369||272.19||96.81|
|San Diego Chargers||188||209.25||-21.25||192||271.13||-79.13|
|NYG R-Yd||Opp D||Opp R-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff1||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff2|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||226||158.19||67.81||28||101.56||-73.56|
|Kansas City Chiefs||156||156.5||-0.5||124||120.56||3.44|
|New Orleans Saints||84||122.19||-38.19||124||131.63||-7.63|
|San Diego Chargers||116||117.63||-1.63||34||88.94||-54.94|
Table 1 gives us a pretty good indication already as to what the problem was; they ranked 30th in points allowed! However, since they ranked 13th in yards allowed, there must have been many turnovers and special teams problems. According to their PFR page, they only gave up 1 special teams TD, but they were 31st in the league with 17 lost fumbles.Those fumbles lost would certainly contribute to the disparity in yards allowed and points allowed.
When looking at Tables 2-3, however, we see that the defensive problems were more severe than the season rankings. This is especially notable in Table 3, where we see that the Giants held each of their first 5 opponents below that team’s season average in yards. In fact, their defense downright dominated three of their opponents, holding them to 90 yards or more below their season averages. The rest of the season, only three other teams were held below their season yardage average. Table 2 also shows similar results. In the first 5 games, the Giants held opponents below their season average in 3 games, with no opponent more than 9 points above their season average. In the last 11, games only 2 opponents were held below their season averages in points, while 5 opponents scored more than 10 points abover their average.
In Tables 4-5, we don’t really see the marked difference between the first 5 games and the rest of the season that Tables 2-3 show. What we do see, though, is that the rushing offense was the biggest weakness of the four components shown, while the passing offense was the biggest strength (at least in terms of yardage comparison to opponents’ averages). This may be a reflection of being behind in some games, though, moreso than a systemic weakness in the rushing game. Or, it may show that they miss Derrick Ward more than expected.
Based on all of this data, the Giants don’t actually have any glaring weaknesses. Looking at their free agency movement so far, it doesn’t look like they’ve made a ton of moves. The only one of note was signing Antrel Rolle, who was released by the Cardinals. So, I’d say that they probably target the BPA with their first pick in the draft. It’s entirely possible that they go after CJ Spiller to replace the explosiveness that they lost with Ward leaving. But, overall, the biggest problem may well have been the fumbles that they lost. Tom Coughlin did a great job curing Tiki Barber of fumble problems, so he should be able to help reduce the number of fumbles next season.
Tags: New York Giants