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(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

After containing the high-powered Seahawks offense, the New York Giants defense is looking for a repeat performance this Sunday.

Jason Leach

Legendary New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are.”

That statement is usually true. However, if you’ve watched the 2020 Giants over the last month, you likely realize that they’re better than their 5-7 mark would indicate.

The team is riding a four-game winning streak and employs one of the top defenses in the league.

This year’s defensive unit is far better than anyone could’ve imagined after watching how Big Blue performed the last two seasons under James Bettcher. Although there won’t be an in-person Pro Bowl this year, several defenders such as James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, Blake Martinez, Leonard Williams, and Dalvin Tomlinson could all earn the annual honor.

Last week, the Giants notched their most impressive victory of the season — the defense shut down the high-powered Seattle Seahawks offense en route to a 17-12 win. New York frustrated quarterback Russell Wilson all game long and even sacked him five times.

This time around, the Giants will face another potent offense in the (6-6) Arizona Cardinals and will look to once again shut down the opponent. Although the Cardinals are riding a three-game losing streak, they certainly carry the potential to score 30 or more points against any defense.

Ironically, facing the Seahawks last week likely helped prepare the Giants for this meeting with Arizona. Both NFC West ballclubs portray similarities on the offensive side of the ball, especially at the quarterback position.

The Cardinals’ Kyler Murray is almost a mirror image of Wilson except for the fact that he’s younger and smaller. He sports exceptional arm strength and his quick legs allow him to break a long run at any time.

The Giants defense must be mindful of Murray’s strengths — he’s recorded 22 touchdown passes and 10 rushing scores on the year. If Big Blue loses focus even for a moment, Murray will make a big play.

Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will have his hands full trying to shut down a dual-threat quarterback, just like he did against Seattle.

On Thursday, Graham spoke about the differences in facing Murray as opposed to Wilson.

“Russ is a great quarterback in this league. For Murray, he is just younger. The thing about him, not that Russell isn’t fast, this guy Murray is true speed,” Graham said. “When I’m talking to the players, true speed. Not fast, not quick, we’re dealing with true speed.

“Any mistake, it can be a touchdown at any given moment. That’s what you’re dealing with, with this guy. Whether it’s the run game or the passing game, he can get away from you and then get the ball down the field. That’s what I mean by true speed and the ability to score a touchdown at any point on the field. He’s pretty dynamic. We have a big challenge ahead of us.”

Murray has been dealing with a shoulder injury for the past few weeks, which has limited his ability to take risks while running the football. But with Arizona’s playoff chances teetering, expect the second-year quarterback to go all-out in numerous ways on Sunday.

Nonetheless, judging by what we’ve seen from the Giants defense, it’s evident the unit will be up for the task and ready for anything.

If the defense undergoes a repeat performance from last week, not only will the Giants increase their winning streak to five, but they’ll additionally inch closer to their first division title since 2011.