I came across an interesting article here, that proposes “When it comes to winning in the NFL, passing is king. Rushing hardly matters.” It uses passing and running efficiency as the measure. Efficiency being the difference of offensive yards per attempt minus defensive yards allowed per attempt.
Here is the list of teams by Passing Efficiency in 2017. Teams with a positive passing efficiency and a losing record are highlighted in orange. Teams with a negative pass efficiency and a winning record are highlighted in yellow. The Giants are tied for 9th best in passing efficiency at a positive 0.6 yards. The eight teams better than them all have winning records. Twelve of the 15 teams with a positive passing efficiency have winning records. Two of the top four teams in passing efficiency are the only undefeated teams remaining.
Here is the list of teams by running efficiency as of week three. Worth noting is that the Giants at 29th are followed by the winning teams of Steelers and Patriots.
One thing the Giants have done well is draft the receiving skill position. As of week three Evan Engram leads all rookie WRs/TEs in receptions and yards. Among Sterling Shepard’s draft class, Sterling is second in career receptions, yards and touchdowns. Among Odell Beckham’s draft class, Odell is 1st in career yards and touchdowns and 2nd in career receptions.
- Week 3 Beckham became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 300 receptions.
- Beckham is 21st on the list of active career leaders for receiving TDs. All before him have at least 3 more years in the league.
- Shepard holds the longest reception by a wide receiver for this season.
- Shepard is the only receiver (WR/TE) in the NFC East with a 100+ receiving game this year.
- The Giants receiving completion ratio of 73.5% is the best in the NFC and 2nd best in the league.
Here are the Giant receiving draft picks of the last 4 years, their rank in the draft class for career stats, and in parenthesis the stat numbers.
Evan Engram (rookie)
1st round – 5th WR/TE taken
Rec 1st (13)
Yds 1st (138)
TDs 5th (1)
1st Downs 2nd (6)
Sterling Shepard (2nd year)
2nd round – 6th WR/TE taken
Rec 2nd (81)
Yds 2nd (883)
TD 2nd (9)
Odel Beckham (4th year)
1st round – 3rd WR/TE taken
Rec 2nd (301)
Yds 1st (4,237)
TDs 1st (37)
Jerell Adams (2nd year)
6th round – 27th WE/TE taken
22 career targets and zero drops with a completion ratio of 77%.
If you take WRs/TEs in 2016 that had zero drops with a completion percentage of 75% or better and 10 or more targets there are only 6 active players counting Jerell.
Last year’s two top teams for pass efficiency during the regular season were in the SuperBowl. Their run efficiency standings were 14th and 16th with a 0.1 and a 0.0.
The Giants have progressed getting better in passing efficiency each of the last four years. They currently have the best passing efficiency since the 2011 Super Bowl team. The one major anomaly with this data is what happened in the 2013 season that had the second best pass efficiency for the Giants. That year Eli had a career high 27 interceptions and the Giants had a league-high 44 turnovers. The table below shows the Giants passing offense and passing defense by year. The yellow highlights the passing efficiency for each year.
Here are the Giants pass efficiency numbers per game so far
The Giants were just outplayed in the Dallas game but the Giants should have won both the Detroit and Philly games. Those losses can be tied back to sloppy play of penalties, turnovers, bad coaching decisions and poor special teams play. In the Detroit game the following 4 plays contributed to the loss
- Brad Wing punt goes out of bounds and the Lions start their first TD drive on the Detroit 46 yard line (1st quarter, 9:51)
- Eli interception gives Lions 1st and 10 at NYG 29 for their second TD drive (quarter 2, 11:45)
- Giants 1st and goal on the 1 yard line get an offensive holding call on Brett Jones which puts them back to the 11 . They wind up settling for a field goal. (quarter 3, 7:16)
- Lions return a Brad Wing punt 88 yards for a TD (quarter 4, 13:17)
In the Philly game the following 5 plays contributed to the loss
- Going for it at 4th and 1 with Darkwa run from the 1 yard line instead of taking the field goal points. The Giants were down by only 7-0 at the time (Quarter 2, 0:24)
- Pass interference on Eli Apple gave 36 yards gain to Philly on their last TD drive (quarter 4, 5:53)
- Penalty of Illegal Shift on Ereck Flowers for 5 yard loss on final Giants drive with the lead and 39 seconds remaining (Quarter 4, 0:39)
- Penalty of Offensive holding on Ereck Flowers for 10 yard loss on final Giants drive. (Quarter 4, 0:37)
- Brad Wing punts for only 28 yards and the Eagles start at their 38th. (Quarter 4, 0:19)
This team is built for passing efficiency. Over the last four drafts six of the twelve first three round picks have gone to receiving skill positions and defensive backs. The salary cap has 34% of the cap going to cornerbacks and defensive ends. The Giants spent the most on 2017 cap dollars on each of those positions than all other teams.
With a roster of top receivers, Eli as quarterback, a strong secondary and a good pass rush the Giants are still in the running for winning the division!