Saturday, July 21, 2018
Sports

D shines as Giants close in on playoffs

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Defense wins championships, and right now the Giants are convincing many that they might be the NFL's best.

Forget that they are ranked in the middle of the league. In the past two games, Steve Spagnuolo's group has held division leaders Dallas and Detroit to a total of 13 points, including Sunday's 17-6 win over the Lions.

Add another Odell Beckham one-handed touchdown catch and the Giants inched closer to their first playoff berth since 2011 with a win that snapped the Lions' five-game winning streak.

"This is really exciting. I don't even know the word to use," linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. "It's starting to be a beautiful thing. Thirteen points the last two weeks, we like where we're at now."

The Giants (10-4) won their eighth in nine games and have their best record through 14 games since 2008, when they were 11-3. The winning formula was the one they have followed in coach Ben McAdoo's first season: just enough offense and a stingy, pass-rushing defense.

Eli Manning threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard on a 75-yard opening drive, then iced the game with a 4-yard scoring pass that Beckham caught with his left hand with 5:20 to play.

"Norm," veteran receiver Victor Cruz said of the catch. "The norm. I wasn't even surprised."

Beckham said catches like that "just kind of happen" for him. "You practice it and practice it," he said. "That's why you practice right-hand layups and left-hand layups."

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