The word “believe” has been thrown around the Giants’ locker room as the NFL season progresses.
After an atrocious start to the NFL season, the New York Giants have found a “rhythm” that has them 1.5 games behind the first-place Philadelphia Eagles.
The Giants, despite some embarrassing losses on their resume, have fought back to contend for a playoff spot in the NFC.
The Chiefs and Panthers, 9-1 and 7-3 respectively, had a combined score of 69-7 in back-to-back weeks, which would normally demoralize a team’s confidence in any sport.
But the Giants have always been a group that relies more on spirit and heart to win ball games.
I said earlier in the year that the only way the Giants will make the playoffs is by being the best of a sub-par NFC East division.
In addition to believing in their abilities, the primary problem that plagued New York earlier in the season has been attended to by the coaches and players.
The lack of pass rush that has led the Giants on two Super Bowl runs in the past has finally become a factor.
New York’s defense is allowing just 11.8 points per game during their four-game winning streak. That streak began in the second half of the Bears game where the Giants’ defense held Chicago to a field goal at Soldier Field.
They improved their defensive ranking from 26th in the NFL to 11th, and they decreased their average yards allowed by almost 60 yards.
The secondary, who received criticism in the beginning of the season for their lack of effort, has not allowed a touchdown through the air in 18 quarters, marking the Giants’ longest streak since 1996.
New York’s stout front seven has stuffed the run all season, holding top-caliber rushers like Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte and Eddie Lacy under 100 yards.
The only back that could break the 100 mark was the Panthers’ DeAngelo Williams during Carolina’s spanking of the G-Men.
The lingering problem for New York remains to be offensive production, although it is coming along in recent weeks.
Running back Andre Brown, who returned two weeks ago from a broken leg, is already the leading rusher for the Giants with 181 yards.
With Brown adding a change of pace in the run game, and big-man Brandon Jacobs being called upon for short-yardage situations, the Giants finally pose a threat on the ground.
The last piece of the puzzle is a guy named Eli Manning, also known as the league-leader in interceptions thrown.
At times he has resembled the two-time Super Bowl MVP that he is, and at other times his performance puts his signature dumbfounded look on the faces of Giants’ fans as they wonder the same thing that he does.
He is both of those people, and he still lacks that leadership quality that previous players like Michael Strahan and Ahmad Bradshaw emulated. Manning is still capable of leading his team by example with more weapons emerging as the season goes on.
Victor Cruz has been his security blanket and Hakeem Nicks has drawn enough attention to pave the way for Reuben Randle and his team-leading six touchdowns.
Nicks has yet to find the endzone but look for him to have a major impact down the stretch, and especially in the upcoming game against the Dallas Cowboys.
New York is one game behind the second-place Cowboys and facing a must-win situation if they want to stay in the playoff hunt.
The Giants must be hungry for a win against the team that they dropped the sea- son opener against on a last-minute drive resulting in a deflected interception to seal it.
To my fellow Big Blue fans, we have been in this position before and all that is left for us to do is believe.
Michael Romano is a senior journalism major from West Orange, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.