These days, when you think of the New York giants, either quarterback Eli Manning or flamboyant wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is the first name that comes to mind. But when it comes to the fact that this club finished 11-5 and went to the playoffs for the first time since 2011 this past season, you may want to get a little more familiar with the other side of the football. Yes, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is a former Pro Bowler and the club added other pieces to the defensive line last offseason. But it’s the Big Blue secondary that is all the rage these days.

A lot of quality pieces

They say safety comes first. In this case, we agree as Landon Collins comes off an All-Pro year.

He easily led the team with 125 tackles, finished second on the club with five interceptions, knocked down 13 passes, totaled four sacks and recovered a fumble. At the other spot, we saw numerous faces, including Nat Berhe and rookie Darian Thompson. The 2016 Giants third-round pick appears to be the starter at free safety going forward.

There’s plenty of quality at the corners. Janoris Jenkins joined the New York Giants after four seasons with the Rams and was impressive. He racked up 49 tackles, one sack, three interceptions and 18 passes defensed. Veteran Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had the same amount of stops and sacks but picked off twice as many passes (6) and knocked down 21 balls. There’s also 2016 first-round pick Eli Apple, who looks to get better after an erratic rookie campaign.

“I’m becoming more comfortable with the plays, more comfortable with my teammates and I think as a whole unit, especially on defense,” said Apple to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan. “We’re going to be able to come together and do something special.”

Proof is in the evidence

In 2015, no team in the NFL allowed more passing yards than the New York Giants. The team also gave up a whopping 31 touchdown passes. Fast forward one year later and coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s unit finished 23rd in the league in aerial yards allowed. But the club allowed only 15 scores through the air while picking off 17 passes – 14 of those by the trio of Rodgers-Cromartie (6), Collins (5) and Jenkins (3).

Now this group was enhanced even more with the veteran additions of cornerback Antwon Blake (Tennessee Titans) and strong safety Duke Ihenacho (Washington Redskins). With all due respect to the Seattle Seahawks and a few other teams, the New York Giants have their own formidable legion these days when it comes to the Defensive Backfield.