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Jeff Moeller

Moeller: It’s Time for the Giants’ Defense to Step It Up

Neil Miller/NYSD

San Francisco’s Nick Mullins threw for 250 yards with a touchdown and wasn’t sacked. The Niners had a total of 374 yards.

Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston combined for 359 yards passing with a pair of touchdowns. The Bucs had 500 total yards of offense.

Both team combined for five wins, and all three quarterbacks weren’t sacked.

Now pause and repeat those three quarterbacks and both team’s offensive outputs in your mind for a moment.

Yes, it should lead you to the fact that the Giants’ defense needs to tighten the noose, especially in Philadelphia Sunday.

This time around it will be Carson Wentz.

Wentz has had a subpar season and had a miserable day in the Eagles’ 48-7 loss in New Orleans last Sunday.

But, then, again, this isn’t Mullins, Fitzpatrick, or Winston.

With a raucous home crowd behind him, Wentz will need to feel some pressure, the same kind that caused three sacks, three interceptions and managed a 19-for-33, 156-yard performance against New Orleans.

The Giants did have four picks against Tampa, but couldn’t add to their measly 11-sack total this season.

They will need to overcome the confines of Lincoln Financial Field – they last on a last-second field goal last season – to gain more momentum in their second wind.

“We have a winning streak these past couple of weeks,” said linebacker Olivier Vernon. “But at the end of the day we are going into a rival, hostile environment, and all we can do is buckle up and study our opponent again and just go through the same process again like we have been doing each and every week.”

The buckle certainly has to be tight. At 4-6, Philadelphia is on the brink of being eliminated from the division race, and the Eagles will be looking for any minute spark to get them ignited.

Rookie linebacker Lorezno Carter and fellow rookie defensive lineman B.J. Hill, second-year defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, and fifth-year defensive back B.W. Webb were all part of the new transition that began a month ago when Damon “Snacks” Harrison and Eli Apple were shipped out.

At that time, no one foresaw the Giants to make any kind of run and expected the fire sale to continue.

But GM Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur weren’t ready to wave any white flags from their defense.

It was about letting some young talent and acquired veterans – Alec Ogletree who looked good against Tampa – usher in the new defensive unit.

Even though they have taken their shots like a demolition derby car, they have kept the motor going the past two games, but the real challenge lies ahead.

Go into Philadelphia and wrangle Wentz and the Eagles for a less than 350-yard effort.

“It will be a different scheme,” said Giants’ safety Landon Collins about Philadelphia. “Mostly going into Philly, we just have to know our assignments. They know a lot of the stuff we like to do, so we just have to be on our assignments as much as possible.”

The offense has taken the cue and had played with energy and confidence.

Now the defense needs to hold up it share and beat a real quarterback and a real team.

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