Daboll has surprising Giants believing they can win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The New York Giants have the second-best record in the NFL at 5-1, and that’s not the most promising thing about this club.

While the record is unexpected after five straight losing seasons, what’s more important is the players are marching in step with new coach Brian Daboll.

The former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator has taught the Giants how to compete, to be resilient, to never give up and then to forget everything and do it again the following week.

It’s one game at a time. It may not be perfect and it may even be ugly. But it’s the best way to succeed and that’s what the Giants are doing.

Three times this season, they have overcome deficits of 10 or more points. They trailed Baltimore 20-10 in the fourth quarter on Sunday but won 24-20. The Ravens outplayed the Giants for most of the game, amassing 406 yards to New York’s 238.

The Giants found a way to prevail.

New York has won one more game than it did last season. The only team with a better mark is division rival Philadelphia (6-0). Buffalo and Minnesota are also 5-1.

Dallas (4-2), Kansas City (4-2), Green Bay (3-3) and the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams (3-3) all trail the Giants.

On paper, the upcoming schedule favors New York. Its next four games are against Jacksonville (2-4), Seattle (3-3), Houston (1-3-1) and Detroit (1-4).

Does anyone have visions of 9-1 dancing in their heads?

Daboll doesn’t. His focus is Sunday’s road game against the Jaguars.

“It’s a humbling league,” Daboll said Monday. “You’re one week from falling off a cliff. It takes a lot of effort and preparation and time to put into it. You have to play very well to give yourself an opportunity to win because it’s such a tough, tough league.”

The Giants have walked a tightrope. They have won five games by a combined margin of 21 points.

Still, the players echo Daboll’s approach.

Wide receiver Darius Slayton said the team’s focus is winning this week. The four-year veteran added he stopped looking at the team’s record in recent years because of all the losing.

“That experience is probably going to pay off if we continue this trend later on the season,” he said. “You know, just ignore it, and keep playing ball. Keep playing good ball and the results take care of itself.”

WHAT’S WORKING

New York’s winning mentality. This is a team that doesn’t give up. It’s only the fourth club in NFL history to overcome 10-plus point deficits to win in three of its first six games. The last was the 1993 Eagles.

“We’ve got a lot to clean up and we’re going to get better as a team each week,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “But we’re going to compete, we’re going to play hard and fight for 60 minutes.”

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The Ravens shredded the Giants’ run defense, picking up 211 yards on 24 carries, an average of 8.8 yards. Kenyan Drake had two runs of 30 yards and one of 21. Quarterback Lamar Jackson had a 25-yard run. Winning and giving up 200 yards rushing rarely coexist.

STOCK UP

Wan’Dale Robinson. The rookie wide receiver returned to the lineup for the first time since hurting a knee in the season opener. He played 14 snaps, was targeted four times and had three catches for 37 yards, including the Giants’ opening touchdown. The downside was the target he didn’t catch was a drop.

STOCK DOWN

Tae Crowder and Jaylon Smith. The inside linebackers were invisible on the Ravens’ four running plays of 21 yards or more. They each finished with three tackles.

INJURIES

C Jon Feliciano left the game briefly with a groin injury. LB Oshane Ximines injured a quad late in the fourth quarter. OLB Azeez Ojulari has missed the last two games with a calf injury.

KEY NUMBER

1 — The number of turnovers the Giants had on Sunday. It was a meaningless fumble on the last play of the first half.

NEXT STEPS

The Giants go on the road the next two weeks to face Jacksonville and Seattle before a bye week.

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