The Giants allowed 420.3 yards and 27.6 points per game in 2015. This past offseason, they spent wildly to upgrade at all positions and thus far, the strategy is working.
This season, they are holding teams to 361 yards and 20 points per game. They are playing better defense in the fourth quarter, allowing six points opposed to a league-high 8.8 in 2015.
Their second-half defensive numbers are also much improved, with them allowing just 8.9 point. Last season, they averaged 14.1 points allowed in the second half.
The run defense, with the addition of Damon Harrison and the return of Johnathan Hankins (who missed the second half of the 2015 season with a torn pec) has also gotten better. Last season, they allowed 121 yards per game on the ground. This season, they are giving up just 93.
The pass defense is slightly better. Last season, they were last in the league, permitting 298.9 yards per game through the air. This season, they are allowing 267 yards per game.
The Giants are doing all of this without the benefit of an effective pass rush, something they invested heavily in this past offseason. The Giants have just nine sacks this year -- only Kansas City and Pittsburgh have less.
DEs Jason Pierre-Paul and Oliver Vernon, and DT Damon Harrison have a combined 3.5 sacks through the first seven games. Safety Landon Collins actually leads the club in sacks with two.
That does not mean the pass rush has been entirely toothless. JPP and Vernon are tied for third in the NFL in quarterback hurries with 14 each. That has kept opponents honest, at least, until the pass rush can find ways to get home. Pierre-Paul has been extemely durable so far, playing 504 of the teams' 526 defensive snaps (95.8 percent), the most of any defensive lineman in the league. Vernon has played 90 percent of the snaps.
They're logging in the work, it's only a matter of time before things begin to fall in place.
The linebackers, especially Jonathan Casillas, have improved their play, which is a breath of fresh air. A healthy Devon Kennard and the surprising play of free agent Keenan Robinson have transformed the unit's identity.
But it is the secondary where the Giants have shown the biggest improvement. Collins has become a stalwart at safety and CB Janoris Jenkins has been as steady as they come. Collins leads the NFL in snap percentage (99.1 percent) and Jenkins is second (98.9 percent). Collins is the team's leading tackler and is tops among all NFL defensive backs. Jenkins is second in the NFL in passes defended with 11, and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is fifth with nine.
The Giants would also benefit if several players who have been underperforming began playing up to expectations. CB Trevin Wade, the team's fourth corner, has been burned several times. Granted, he was filling in for Eli Apple and DRC and is better suited for the slot, but he has to play better. So does DE Owa Odighizuwa. Hopes are still hig for him, and it's true that he hasn't had a lot of opportunities. But he hasn't made much of the ones he's had.