Do you remember this? Remember when I wrote the piece for my blog called “Meet the 2016 NFC East Champions: The NY Giants?” It’s okay if you don’t–the Giants were an afterthought at the time, destined to fill the void at the bottom of the NFC East alongside the Eagles.
And now, fast forward about a month, and the NY Giants are 2-0, while the Redskins, the de facto best-in-the-East according to many a sportswriter, are 0-2.
I know that it’s too early to get cocky–too early to make the conclusion that two early season games will not dictate how the rest of the season will go. But it’s hard not to get excited. And it’s hard not to look back at what I wrote on August 12 and determine how accurate it was.
The last sentence in the entry is one that came true just a few weeks after I wrote it: “Dallas’ chances of taking the division could be quickly derailed if Tony Romo’s glass bones shatter at any point in the season.” Tony Romo wound up with a fractured vertebrae in his spine and is still weeks and weeks away from a return.
Turning back to the tape, I also expressed doubt that Kirk Cousins would emerge as a star, saying “I’m not convinced that Kirk Cousins has what it takes to succeed past the flashes of brilliance he showed last season.” Cousin’s 1:3 touchdown:interception ratio backs that up, as does his late-game redzone interception that sealed the Skins’ fate last week.
The Eagles are 2-0, yes, but those two wins came against the Browns and the Bears, two teams that are as close to Division II college teams as you’ll find in the NFL. I’m not convinced that the run of success will continue, particularly as teams get more comfortable reading Carson Wentz and exploiting his weaknesses.
No one can reliably predict the future, of course, but we can examine the past, even if it is a small sample size. The Giants have already beat the Cowboys in Dallas, which is a great start to any season, contender or otherwise. Last week they topped the Saints, holding Drew Brees the prolific New Orleans offense to just 13 points.
Who saw that coming? The New York defense that struggles mightily last season is currently in the top 8 in both points per game and yards allowed per game. This defensive explosion can be traced back to two primary offseason additions: Olivier Vernon and Janoris Jenkins. While Vernon hasn’t necessarily been the force we expected him to be, the coupling with a healthy and once again monstrous JPP on the line has helped the Giants become a force to be reckoned with on defense.
It’s early in the season, yes, but right now, it’s the Giant’s division to lose, and lose it they wont.