Heading into Week 5, the New York Giants have a top 10 scoring defense. Their season average of 17.8 points allowed per game currently ranks tied for eighth best in the NFL.
As stingy as this unit has been under new defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale, there’s one big thing the Giants defense hasn’t been able to accomplish yet this season: intercept a pass.
Through four games, the Giants are the only team in the NFL without an interception on defense. By comparison, there are four teams — the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens — all tied for the league lead with seven picks.
Against the Bears in Week 4, the Giants allowed a season-low 12 points but were unable to pick off quarterback Justin Fields, who threw four interceptions in the first three weeks of the season.
While the Giants are still searching for their first pick of the season, they lead the NFL with six fumble-recovery takeaways. That has helped them stay afloat in the turnover margin.
Dan Salomone, managing editor of Giants.com, pointed out a few other categories in which New York’s defense is thriving.
These stats show that Martindale’s defense is at its best when it matters most: on third down and in the red zone. If the Giants can consistently force punts and field goals, they can get by without intercepting a ton of passes.
Even though the Giants have zero interceptions, that’s not to say New York’s defense is easy to pass against. The Giants currently rank fourth in opponent completion percentage (57.4%) and are one of only eight teams allowing less than 200 passing yards per game (191.3).
Will the Giants Record Their First Interception of 2022 in Week 5?
If the Giants are going to record their first interception of the season in Week 5, they’ll need to bring their “A game” to London. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has the best touchdown-to-interception ratio of all time (4.74).
Former Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes is hopeful.
So far this season, however, Rodgers has been unusually loose with the football. He has thrown an interception in three out of four outings this year, after averaging just four interceptions per season over the past four years.
Rodgers has been in the NFL since 2005, but this will be his first trip to London for an International Game. The unfamiliar environment, combined with some solid pressure from New York’s defensive front, could lead to Rodgers’ first interception overseas.
Who is Most Likely to Record New York’s First Interception of 2022?
Based solely on snap counts, the two most likely players to record New York’s first interception are safety Xavier McKinney and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. McKinney has played 100 percent of the defensive snaps so far this season, while Jackson has only missed one snap.
Last season, McKinney led the team with five interceptions. Cornerback James Bradberry (who already has two interceptions with the Eagles this season) had four picks in 2021, and Jackson only had one. With Jackson replacing Bradberry as the No. 1 cover corner this year, he needs to step up and start creating some takeaways.