By Liam Day
Coming off of a rather disappointing defensive year for the New York Giants in 2015, the team has made a complete turnaround through the first 11 weeks of the season. New York’s offense fell to one of the least productive in the league. However, the Giant’s defense has bailed the team out in many late-game situations. Second year free safety, Landon Collins, lead the team in tackles, interceptions, and even sacks.
Production by the defense has been relatively slow despite Collins’ exceptional individual performance. The Giants are last in the league in sacks, even with their fifty million dollar defensive line. The highest paid defensive end in the league, Oliver Vernon, has come up with only two sacks halfway through the season.
Odell Beckham on the other hand has had a rather up and down season having two games with less than fifty yards receiving, but one game with over two-hundred yards and two touchdowns. His high expectations have made him a number one target for defenses resulting in double teams throughout the game. Knowing this, quarterback Eli Manning has struggled to get Beckham the ball or even look his way on multiple plays.
Through the team's success, who has played better? From a statistical point of view, Landon Collins has looked liked the most productive player on the Giants Defense. Currently, he is the frontrunner in the defensive player of the year category, leading the team with five interceptions, along with three sacks to go with it. Strong safety, Andrew Adams said, “He’s got a lot of plays under his belt even though he’s a second-year player.” Collins has been able to keep the Giants defense in check through the first eight weeks of the season. They have been ranked as the 18th best defense in the league and the 12th overall.
Odell Beckham’s unthinkable performance through his first three years in the league has put a target on his head to defenses that must face him. During the offseason, he was projected to be one of the league's top five wide-receivers once again. This has not been the case this season, as Beckham has struggled to get involved early in games with only two first half touchdowns this season, and eight touchdowns total. He has been ranked as the 5th best receiver in the league through week twelve with just over 900 receiving yards.
Landon Collins has shined in his second year in the league and has surprised teams with his quick transition from a starting safety to a star safety. Beckham’s play has been exceptional this year but will have to improve by the end of the season to keep his reputation as the star of the Giants.