At 5-3, the New York Giants are in a great place to contend for a playoff spot in the NFC. If the season ended today, New York would occupy the first wild card spot in the conference, and take on the slumping Minnesota Vikings in the first round.
For a Giants team that hasn’t seen the playoffs since 2011, that has to be seen as a success. With that in mind, here are some of the guys who helped them get there.
Offensive MVP — Eli Manning
Were you expecting someone else? While Eli does get a little bit of happy feet behind the Giants’ offensive line, and could stand to limit his interceptions a bit more, there’s no denying he has been the best player on the Giants’ offense this season. Certainly, New York’s offense has struggled a bit to start the season, but Manning seems to have them back on track after a solid performance against Philly.
Currently, Manning is ninth in the NFL in passing yards, and 12th in passing touchdowns. But considering the drop off in defensive quality he will face in the second half of the season, those numbers could go up as he tries to get the Giants back to the playoffs.
Defensive MVP — Landon Collins
Last year, the Giants took Collins in the second round of the draft, with the hopes he would develop into a starting strong safety in the NFL. They likely never realized he would reach his potential this quickly.
Currently, Collins leads the Giants in tackles with 69, sacks with three, interceptions with three, and defensive touchdowns with one. Despite all the accolades and attention the big money free agents got this off season, Collins has emerged as the leader of the defense. Additionally, at only 22 years old, he has a very bright future in the NFL.
He’s an absolute no brainer for first half MVP.
Biggest Surprise — Keenan Robinson
A lot was made of the free agency additions of Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins in New York this summer, but Keenaan Robinson seems like the best return on investment.
Despite his relatively low price tag, Robinson has been extremely clutch patrolling the middle for the Giants this season. He is the first linebacker in a while with the speed and size to cover both running backs and tight ends, freeing up the outside linebackers for coverage in the flats or blitz packages. This defense doesn’t work nearly as well without Robinson, making him by far the most pleasant surprise for New York this season.
Biggest Disappointment — Ereck Flowers
While no one expected the Giants’ line to be very good this season, many envisioned sophomore left tackle Ereck Flowers taking a leap and developing into the player many Giants’ fans believed in when they selected him 10th overall in 2015.
Unfortunately for Giants’ fans, Flowers has apparently regressed in 2016, leading the team in penalties and repeatedly getting beat by edge rushers. If he does not improve in the second half, a move to right tackle could be in his very near future, as the Giants search for someone who can better protect Manning’s blind side.
Rookie of the Year — Paul Perkins
This pick is based more on potential than production, as it’s hard to choose between Perkins and Sterling Shepard. Perkins has shown the big play ability the Giants have lacked at the running back position for quite some time now, though.
Certainly, Perkins has some holes in his game, namely pass blocking, and is running behind potentially the worst run blocking line in the NFL, but no one can deny the electricity he brings when he carries the football. Perkins is exactly the type of speedy, shifty back who can thrive in today’s NFL, and as the Giants improve the line, Perkins could become a much more involved member of this offense.