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Giants Defense: Allowing 28 Points In 8 Minutes

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I don't follow the Giants from week-to-week, but I thought that maybe their defense was having some late season problems with injuries. It looks like the only notable loss on defense has been DE Mathias Kiwanuka, and they've been without him for most of the season. They only have two defensive players listed on the injury report this week, so it seems unlikely that injuries were a problem last week.

Without injuries to explain why they blew a 21 point lead with just over 8 minutes last week against the Eagles, it's time to look at the game itself. Their defense didn't allow the game losing punt return, but I did a double take when I saw they allowed QB Michael Vick to run and throw for a combined 245 yards in the 4th quarter alone. The Giants defense is only allowing 290.9 yards per game this season (2nd best in the NFL). A great film review, with quotes, of this epic collapse is at Bleeding Green Nation.

Here are the defensive rankings from Football Outsiders:

Team Overall Pass Defense Run Defense Variance
Giants 2 1 16 32
Packers 5 2 17 5

First I was surprised at how similar the results have been this season for the Giants and Packers defenses. The reason the Giants are ranked three spots higher overall, while only one spot higher in the individual categories, is because their excellent pass defense is a notch above every other pass defense this season. 

It's the last column that explains the collapse last week. While the defense is playing great overall, they are the least consistent defense in the league. The lesson for Packer fans this week is that we should not be discouraged if the Giants are shutting down the Packers offense at times because they're not likely to keep up the defensive pressure over all four quarters.