It works most of the time. Last year, the Giants lined up against almost all of the NFL's top rushing offense and played stout to the point where they were able to win seven of their last ten games. This season, they have not been as effective vs the run and it has been costly.
In 2013, the Giants allowed 3.8 YPC and 108.9 YPG on the ground as opposed to 4.4 YPC and 122 YPG this season. They allowed just 12 rushing TDs in 2013. They have already given up eight this season.
Only two of their four linemen have played up to expectations - DE Jason Pierre-Paul and DT Jon Hankins. JPP is third in the league in tackles among defensive lineman. Hankins is 16th. The rest of the Giant linemen are way down the list.
DTs Cullen Jenkins, 33, and Mike Patterson, 31 made a gig difference as free agents last season clogging the middle, but their performance has tailed off this year. Jenkins is currently out with a calf ailment and Patterson opened the season with a sore shoulder. Markus Kuhn has come back slowly from a lost season after knee surgery and third-round draft choice Jay Bromley has not gotten enough reps to form a judgement on. There isn't a lot to draw from here. They need to play better, that's all.
On the DE front, the Giants are 21st in the league in sacks with 13. Damontre Moore and Robert Ayers have played sparingly, about a third of the snaps. The run defense has kept the Giants on the field but out of enough third and long situations for these two players to have pass rushing opportunities.
The thing is, the Giants are playing well on third downs, allowing only 33 conversions in 88 tries. Going forward the defense has to a better job as a whole on first and second downs. That won't be easy without MLB Jon Beason, who is out for the year, and Jenkins, who will miss the next game or two.
Jameel McClain will be the MLB in Beason's place, flanked by Jacquian Williams and rookie Devon Kennard. They are an athletic group that must step up to help a defensive line that is struggling with gap control, containment and pressure.
Just like the 2012 offseason, GM Jerry Reese and his scouts must find upgrades on this defensive line. Good defensive play stems, as Bill Parcells once said with "the a**es in the trenches."