Who would have thought the Giants would start 2013 with six straight losses? Certainly not anyone who has been covering the team for any significant amount of time. But, now that it's happened, it's easy to see how it happened and why.
The Giants have yet to figure out how to make the best of their practice time. Under the news CBA, there are only so many sessions in which full contact is allowed. This has flummoxed Tom Coughlin and - color me wrong - but the team looked flat, slow and meek coming into the season as a result of not having enough contact in training camp. They were outhustled, outhit and too out of synch to recover from the errors (of commission and omission) that they committed.
Second, they had too many key players, coming off or rehabbing from injuries on the roster. Then, more key guys got hurt. Their replacements provided no relief. The roster was chock full of unfamiliar faces and some disappointing holdovers from their fruitless drafts of the past few years. They were undermanned.
The Giants are just now getting some healthier, capable players in the door. All of the players brought in are of the same ilk. They hit. They like contact. Brandon Jacobs. John Conner. Jon Beason. Peyton Hillis. Throw in Will Hill, suspended the first four weeks, and the team has been slowly getting back to resembling a Giant team.
The first half of the season saw the Giants squander several opportunities to win ballgames. They should be 4-4 at the minimum. Turnovers and lousy punt coverage took them out of three games.
Opening night blunders cost them in Dallas, a six-point loss. The first Eagle game was handed over to Philly in the second half. In Chicago, a late incompletion stalled what appeared to be another legendary Eli 4th quarter drive.
What do I look for in the second half? Six wins at least. There's no way this team is going into the tank. The Jerry Reese haters ain't gettin away that easy.....The Giants' defense is playing well and the offense is shaping up.
In the second half of the season....
Expect the pass rush to be better. That's not saying much, because it's been non-existent thus far, but just watch...
Expect Eli Manning and his receivers to start clicking.
Expect the running game with Andre Brown, Brandon Jacobs and Peyton Hillis to keep defenses honest.
Expect the Giants to continue to stop the run.
Expect the special teams coverage to tighten up.
Expect the Giants to win the turnover battle more often than not.
The worm has already turned on this season. It's all uphill from here.
Why? Because this team only plays when it has to. Their backs could not be any closer to the wall. It's time to push back.
They will be that team you won't want to have to play against come Week 17.