The only number that really matters for the New York Giants at the mid-point of the season is their record, a miserable 1-7. That means they are headed for their sixth playoff-less season in seven years, and fifth losing season in that time. They are headed toward their third top 10 draft pick in the last four years, and could end up with the first overall pick for the first time since 1965, when they chose running back Tucker Frederickson.
Each week during the season we provide a “By the numbers” post that gives some numbers of significance leading up to that week’s game. There is, of course, no game for the Giants this week as they get a bye to lick their wounds. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the numbers that tell us about the Giants’ season to date. Specifically, why the Giants can’t score enough points.
Eli Manning and statistical anomalies
ESPN on Wednesday produced a post detailing misleading quarterback stats for 2018, and with Manning that’s a perfect place to start.
There are basic, raw numbers that would lead you to think the 37-year-old quarterback is having some type of renaissance season:
- 68.3 percent completion rate — more than five percentage points higher than his 2014 career-best of 63.1.
- 2,377 yards passing. That is fourth in the league and puts him on pace for 4,744. That would be the second-highest total of his career, behind 2011’s 4,933 yards.
- 297.1 yards passing per game. Again, second-best of his career behind the 308.3 yards he averaged in 2011.
- An average of 7.5 yards per passing attempt, also second-highest of his career.
- A yards per completion average of 11.1, best since he averaged 11.6 in 2014.
- A passer rating of 90.9, best since 2015 and above his career average.
- An interception percentage of 1.9, by far the best of his career.
Yet, the facts (1-7, a team that is 28th in the league in scoring at 18.8 points per game) and the eye test tell you those are mostly empty numbers.
Manning has been sacked 31 times, second-most in the league. That puts him on pace for 62 sacks, far more than the career-high 39 times he was sacked during a full 2013 season. Many of those are because of a porous offensive line. A fair share, though, are because of the action — or inaction — of an aging quarterback who doesn’t trust his offensive line.
Manning’s touchdown percentage (6 TDs in 315 throws) is a career-worst 2.5 percent. He has been sacked on 9 percent of his drop backs, easily a career-worst. Here are some other numbers from Player Profiler that aren’t very pretty:
- Red zone completion percentage (41.2 percent, 41st); Deep ball completion percentage (27.8, 29th); Production premium, defined as above or below league average using several categories (-27.4. 35th).
If you are interested, here is a Pro Football Focus chart that shows where Manning has and has not been successful throwing the ball this season.
ESPN also points out that Manning leads the league in “failed completions.” That’s a stat developed by Football Outsiders that tracks. completed passes that fail to gain 45 percent of the needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down or 100 percent on third or fourth down. Manning leads the league in both number of failed completions (72) and percentage of failed completions (33.5 percent).
There is quite a bit there that tells you why the Giants have not been able to score points. Some of that is on Manning, some of it isn’t. Regardless, it’s not good.
SB Nation’s signature stats
We can’t do this look at midseason numbers without spending some time dissecting the work of Bill Connelly over at the SB Nation flagship.
The Giants rank fifth in the NFL in creating big plays (The percentage of plays gaining at least 20 yards from open play — i.e., plays between your 10 and your opponent’s 30). They rank third in the league in a category Connelly calls “marginal explosiveness”. Yet, they are 27th in “marginal efficiency” and 26th in “third down success rate.”
The Giants, despite Barkley’s brilliance, are last in the league in “rushing marginal efficiency,” with 18.8 percent of their plays getting less than expected or needed.
Team Rankings tells us that the Giants are 31st in the league in the red zone, having scored touchdowns on only 10-of-25 opportunities (40 percent).
Connelly’s numbers break that down even further, extending to the opponent’s 30-yard line. The Giants are 26th in the league in success rate inside the 10-yard line, last in the league in success rate from the 11 to the 20-yard line, and 26th in success rate from the 21 to the 30-yard line.
One red zone problem has been the inability to get the ball to Beckham, who has just 3 receptions in 13 red zone targets (23 percent) with a touchdown and an interception on passes thrown his way.
Pro Football Focus numbers
Because I know you love to argue about these, even though the reality of it is the raw grade is a) subjective and b) doesn’t really give you a clear, complete picture of how well or how poorly someone is playing. I’m just going to put them here, and you can do with them what you will.
Highest offensive grades
Lowest offensive grades