Take a deep breath and smile, Giants fans.
Your team is in first place in likely the worst division in football.
Better yet, your team is a football team.
These Giants have arrived. That’s the important part, not them winning the division.
Gone are the days of the disjointed, lackadaisical, dysfunctional teams of the last few years under Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur.
These Joe Judge-led Giants embody the structure and discipline Judge was accustomed to in New England.
Everybody has a purpose and a role. Do your job.
They have captured it, and now they can build on it. There also is room for improvement here.
“Listen,” Joe Judge said. “We start looking past what we have to do to get ready, this conversation’s gonna be something of the past.”
Like all the great coaches have done, do the little things and don’t take anything for granted.
Over the past few weeks, they haven’t been tainted by Golden Tate’s tirade that was silenced, and the firing of offensive line coach Marc Colombo.
Their latest version was a hard-fought, 19-17 victory over the stubborn Cincinnati Bengals, who many thought the Giants would rout.
Instead, they ran their methodical offense behind improving quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Wayne Gallman, who couldn’t find his mark with previous coaches.
Gallman has made everyone forget about the injured Saquon Barkley.
By the way, Jones is expected to be back next Sunday in Seattle after a hamstring scare.
The defense has been a total transformation under new coordinator Patrick Graham — they’re poised, aggressive, and confident. Remember how many times last year’s porous secondary was burned for the long pass?
Graham has been able to mix and match his linebackers with an influx of young talent and unsung veterans, and he also has been doing the same recently with the defensive line.
Journeyman Jabaal Sheard had a strong game and capped it with a timely strip in the final minutes that was recovered by Leonard Williams, who is piecing together a Pro Bowl season (how would he fit now on the Jets’ line?)
Logan Ryan, finally signed on the eve of the season, continues to make the big play when it counts. He also striped a receiver and recovered an opportune fumble.
How about linebacker NIko Lalas, just off the practice squad, who caught a deflected ball from rookie cornerback Darnay Holmes for a key interception?
The defense again rose to the occasion. That’s the makings of a perennial playoff power.
Don’t forget placekicker Carolina castoff Gano, who is in line for the team MVP with 24 consecutive field goals, four against the Bengals. Battling symptoms of COVID, Gano practice kicks in his hotel room.
With each passing week during this three-game winning streak, the honor roll grows.
Granted, this is a 4-7 team and there are problems left to solve.
But this isn’t a typical 4-7 team that would have started to mail it in at this point in previous years.
The Giants will have their work cut out for them over the next five weeks, playing four consecutive potential playoff weeks in as many weeks beginning in Seattle Sunday. They fittingly finish at home with Dallas.
Two more wins will give them a legitimate shot at the division crown.
More importantly, a 6-10 record will place them on the launch pad for 2021.
Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire