The New York Giantsâ€™ defense has been their bread and butter this season, keeping the team in games as the offense sputters to get anything going.
To put that into perspective, the Giants only earned 22 minutes of possession while Arizona had 38 minutes. Letâ€™s build off that, Arizona had 22 first downs compared to the Giantsâ€™ 10, and New York turned the ball over three times while Arizona protected it at all costs.
You could say that the Giants did get unlucky at times, as Logan Ryan dropped an interception in the first half and Kenyan Drake fumbled twice in the same drive, both of which were covered by Arizona. No matter how you look at it, though, the Giants were outmatched at every position, and the defense, while they have been excellent, did show one weakness.
Last week against the Seattle Seahawks, the Giantsâ€™ defensive line picked up five sacks, and against Arizona, they managed to take down Kyler Murray just once. It is clear that the Giants rely heavily on the interior pass rush from their big defensive tackles, notably Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Dexter Lawrence.
Their outside linebackers simply arenâ€™t good enough to produce pressure consistently. Without Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, they are down to rookies and practice squad players like Jabaal Sheard and Carter Coughlin.
The New York Giants do have a weakness on defense:
The Giants’ weakness on defense is that they live and die by the pass rush, and Arizona managed to exploit that weakness. Consider this, Murray has spent an average of 2.83 seconds in the pocket this year but enjoyed 3.49 seconds against the Giants, a massive difference that resulted in more completions downfield and a better chance of escaping the pocket.
Overall, we can make the assumption of the interior defense did not get the same push against Seattle, and that was to be expected as Arizona has a better offensive line. They simply took advantage of Seattleâ€™s poor unit in week 13, but the Cardinals knew what to expect with the twists and turns that Patrick Graham implemented.
The most interesting part is, the Giantsâ€™ defense didnâ€™t play poorly, the offense just simply couldnâ€™t stay on the field. Arizona scored 26 points, but they also had 16 minutes more possession to do it. At halftime, Arizona had already enjoyed 30 plays in the red zone, thanks to a number of turnovers and bad special teams from the Giants. Alternatively, Big Blue hadnâ€™t even seen the red zone yet alone crossed midfield by the half waypoint.
So while we can make the argument that the Giants lacked a pass rush against Arizona, the secondary held up well for the most part and forced Murray to throw the ball downfield. The offense is to blame, and with receivers who struggle in man coverage and an injured quarterback, this was always a losing recipe.