- Associated Press - Monday, October 10, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - It seems the New York Giants are coming to work on Mondays and the guys on defense are bringing up the same topics every week.

They need to do a lot better job of stopping the run. They need to do a better job of practicing. They need to play their gaps better and trust the guys next to them.

It’s getting to the point where it is sounding like a broken record.

Five weeks into the season, the defense is struggling and the Giants (3-2) had better find a way to fix the problem or they are going to miss the playoffs for a third straight year.

Here’s a quick look at the statistics. New York is giving up 373.4 yards in total offense with the run defense surrendering an average of 122.2 yards. The run defense has gotten worse over the past three weeks, yielding close to an average of 160 yards against Philadelphia, Arizona and Seattle.

What increases the concern is the Giants‘ upcoming schedule. Buffalo (4-1), which will be at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, is averaging almost 33 points. After the bye week and a game against winless Miami, New York will face a stretch of games against New England (4-1), San Francisco (4-1), Philadelphia (1-4), New Orleans (4-1) and Green Bay (5-0) with the common thread being they all have offenses a lot better than the Seahawks, who rolled up 424 yards in a 36-25 win on Sunday that snapped the Giants‘ three-game winning streak.

“I don’t know,” said Giants defensive captain Justin Tuck, a two-time Pro Bowl defensive end who has only played two games this season because of neck and groin injuries. “A lot of times you look at the films and just shake your head as whatever the situation may be, we could have played it better or it’s a combination of a lot of things.

“Teams are scheming us pretty good now, too, and I think a lot of times we forget that. But we can play better defense. We have to play better defense. That’s all 11 guys.”

The Seattle used a no-huddle offense much of the game and ran 76 plays with at least 32 going for five yards or more, including 18 that went for 10 yards or more.

“It’s just little things, such small things,” veteran defensive tackle Rocky Bernard said. “We are killing ourselves, shooting ourselves in the foot.”

One play that had Bernard shaking his head was a 47-yard run by Marshawn Lynch on a simple sweep of the right side. Somebody lost containment on the outside and a defensive back took a bad angle in trying to make the tackle. Lynch wasn’t touched until he got within 5 yards of the goal line. He was pushed out on the 1 and scored on the next play.

“It’s a simple play and probably should be a 1-yard gain and it goes for 50,” Bernard said. “We have to clean that up.”

There is no doubt that the Giants miss Tuck. He is not only an outstanding pass rusher, but he is solid against the run.

The Giants have not had any problems generating a pass rush without him, collecting 18 sacks. They had six sacks against Tarvaris Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst, who replaced him after the starter suffered a pectoral injury on a third-quarter run.

“Yeah we had six sacks, but they played 76 snaps,” backup defensive lineman Dave Tollefson said. “That’s six of the 76 snaps we sacked them. There are 70 other plays we have to play better on. I’m not saying we played bad on 70 of those 76 snaps, but you can’t hang your hat on getting sacks.”

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