NBC Sports analyst and former NFL coach Tony Dungy talks Giants, the AFC playoff picture and the Cowboys’ rookie duo with The Post’s Ryan Lazo.
Q: How have the Giants progressed from the beginning of the season?
A: I think what you’ve seen is what they’ve done in their Super Bowl years. It hasn’t been all smooth, but they’ve persevered through it. That’s a good sign. I’ve seen tremendous improvements in their defense. Sometimes with the new additions it can take time to come together, but it’s gotten better as the season has gone on. They struggled with running the ball early, but now with (Paul) Perkins and (Rashad) Jennings, they have the right touch there. It’s a lot of things coming into place.
Q: How good is the Giants defense?
A: They’re playing really well and have had two good games against Dallas. One thing that they have to show is a dominant pass rush. Olivier Vernon has been good for them, but not having Jason (Pierre-Paul) takes away from it. Those past two Super Bowl teams were so dominant, you were cautious each time you dropped back. They haven’t had that type of dominance.
Q: Is there concern about the Giants’ struggling offense?
A: They know they haven’t been clicking on all cylinders, but they also know they have a quarterback who has been under pressure and is not going to wilt at any point of the game. And they have a guy in Odell Beckham Jr. who can score a touchdown from anywhere on the field. So if they’re down, they know they can be ahead in one play. Not everyone has that.
Q: How does the Derek Carr injury affect the AFC playoff picture?
A: It puts a monkey wrench into things. New England is sitting there in good shape, hitting on all cylinders, but not invulnerable. They’ve been in some close games in Gillette and it’s not like they’ve steamrolled anyone. But then you have to wonder if Oakland can win this weekend to earn the No. 2 seed or even the No. 1 if the Dolphins beat the Patriots, which has happened. You have to look at the Steelers, who are one of the hottest teams in the AFC because of the way Le’Veon Bell is running the ball.
Q: How impressed are you with the two Cowboys rookies?
A: With (Ezekiel) Elliott, you kind of expected it. You could have predicted he was going to be a great back who was going into an even better situation. (Dak) Prescott was the unexpected. You don’t expect to have the type of quarterback play where you don’t have to worry about mistakes. He faced loaded boxes and was able to deliver, making all the throws. No one, not even in Dallas, expected that.