The Giants' last two games came against divisional opponents coming off their bye weeks. The Giants were able to leverage their advantage of being in a midseason rhythm to come up with victories in both of those games despite their opponents coming off a week's worth of rest.
For head coach Joe Judge, the bye week factors just as much into the scouting report as anything else, and their two recent victories were no exception.
"We've looked at that from both sides," Judge said. "We've kind of looked at it, what does Philly do coming out of a bye? What did Washington do coming out of a bye? All that stuff. You tie back into Ron's (Rivera) history in Carolina, you look at what Doug (Pederson) has done in the past as well. To me, it's all based on how you handle the game week."
Now, the Giants will be on the other side of that equation as they head into Paul Brown Stadium off of their bye week to take on the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals are, at least on paper, the most beatable opponent on the Giants' remaining schedule, especially with rookie quarterback and first overall pick Joe Burrown out with a season-ending ACL injury.
But the Giants don't see things that way and are still going to have to prove that they can quickly shake off any rust attained during their bye week in a high-pressure situation as they seek to gain ground in the division.
"The bye is very important. It's really important for getting physically refreshed, mentally refreshed," Judge said. "It's also big for self-scout and getting a jump start on some of the opponents coming up. We did everything we were capable of doing last week to help the team."
To make sure that his team is ready to hit the ground running, Judge structured the schedule coming out of the bye to allow for them to pick up where they left off.
"I'd say the biggest thing for me when you get into the game week of not kind of walking into it," he said.
"You have to get back into working that routine you referenced, that's very important to me ... it's probably close to fifty-fifty across the board in terms of teams coming out of bye weeks, and I think that's more about how they prepare in that game week, and then execute for those 60 minutes on Sunday, more than the week off beforehand."
No matter what happens on Sunday, Judge doesn't see having a bye week as an excuse to lose the game.
"Everyone has a bye week at some point," Judge said. "We don't write anything off just saying that something is going to be an excuse. We have to use it to our advantage. It's up to us to come to play with the right mentality."
Defensive back Logan Ryan currently leads all NFC free safeties in Pro Bowl voting and is the only Giant represented in the Pro Bowl noting leaders.
In his first year in New York, Ryan has established himself as a premier defensive back and veteran leader. He is currently second on the team in tackles (59), trailing inside linebacker Blake Martinez (96). Ryan has also recorded seven passes defended, one interception, one sack, and one fumble recovery.
Ryan's presence hasn't just culminated in exceptional play in the back end of the secondary. It has also helped elevate the other defensive backs around him who have taken to Ryan's leadership and experience.
"I'd say this guy is very deserving of everything he's earned," head coach Joe Judge said of Ryan. "He impacts our team on and off the field in a very positive manner. I'd say on the field, and it starts with his communication. That ties a lot of things together back there.
"He's developed a very good relationship with his teammates back there, whether it be Julian (Love) or (Jabrill) Peppers or the corners who are working on the perimeter. He's really done a good job of getting everyone on the same page."
Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who previously worked with Ryan in New England, helped lead the charge in getting the team to sign Ryan during training camp. Upon securing Ryan's services, Graham has worked the defensive back into a familiar role that has allowed the veteran to thrive for the Giants in a big way.
According to Graham, one of the most significant differences Ryan makes is in the meeting room where he not only demonstrates an advanced understanding of the game plan he also ensures that the other players have a strong grasp of what's asked of them as well.
"The thing that stands out to me are the questions," Graham said. "When you're dealing with some of the younger players, they are a little hesitant sometimes to ask those questions.
"That's one of the best things about Logan--he's not afraid to ask those questions and get the answers. He might already know the answer. He's trying to get it for the guys that wouldn't ask."
The Revolving O-line Door
The Giants have broken NFL convention this year by utilizing a rotational offensive line strategy, cycling different offensive tackle combinations onto the field.
Despite the unconventional approach, which this week will extend to the guards according to head coach Joe Judge, the offensive line has improved.
"Anybody who's watched us play has seen the progression with those guys up front blocking much better in the running game, the protection has improved as the year has gone on, and we've played better as an offense as a result," offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said.
In addition to rotating the guards, the Giants hope to find a viable third option o fill in for tackle Matt Peart, who will miss the game as he recovers from the coronavirus. The team has been working Chad Slade, Kenny Wiggins, and Jackson Barton into the mix to figure out the best option.
"We have multiple options at the third tackle," Judge said. "We want to play all of our guys. Keep them fresh, keep them rotating. We feel we have multiple capable players at those positions. We're going to go ahead and use them all."
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