It's the most highly anticipated preseason game – game number three, when the first team often plays well into the third quarter. In other words, Friday night will be the dress rehearsal for the New York Giants going into their week one showdown with division rival Dallas. The Giants have looked solid this preseason, but Head Coach Tom Coughlin would like to see less mistakes and more crisp play on both sides of the ball, but particularly so offensively.
Today we tell you what you should be watching for on Friday night as the Giants get one step closer to their 2012 NFL season.
The Passing Game
We've seen a little bit of Eli Manning, some flashes from Victor Cruz, a couple of nice plays from Martellus Bennett at tight end – but this is the game where it all has to come together. The Giants want to find out how close they are to regular season ready, and for a team heavily reliant on their franchise signal caller and passing game, this game is all about how well Eli Manning is protected and how sharp Manning his receivers look in extended action.
David Wilson … Again
Wilson has been relatively quiet this preseason, but with the stinker of a performance D.J. Ware had against the Jets in the last preseason game, and Ahmad Bradshaw's hand injury – Wilson once again has a huge opportunity to come out and show why he deserves touches early this season as a rookie. Look for the Giants to get the physically explosive playmaker in space and give him an opportunity to show off the skill set he brings to this offense. It's make or break for Wilson tonight – if he wants to have a shot at that number two running back spot going into the season he's going to really have to come out and outplay Ware in this football game.
The Bears will threaten this Giants pass defense more than the Jets did last week, as Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall are quite the explosive duo, and Devin Hester will likely attempt to challenge this secondary vertically – where Cutler has the arm to deliver over the top. The Giants can be encouraged going into the season if they can do anything similar to what they did to the Jets offense last week to the Bears tonight. Prince Amukamara needs to step up and have a strong game on the outside.
Is anyone else noticing just how enthusiastic and explosive Umenyiora looks this August? Call me crazy, but with the way he's getting off the snap and the shape he's in along with the great attitude he's brought into this season, Umenyiora may be on the brink of one of the best seasons of his career – whether or not he's a "starter" by title.
The Run Blocking
This has been the most troubling aspect of the Giants preseason so far. They haven't been able to really put it together with the ground game – and to this point you can say we've only seen the starters get a few snaps together. They'll have their chance to buckle down and get some momentum going in this area. Chris Snee has to take the bull by the horns and get this group back on track to the gritty, tough running game they have been so used to as a franchise.
Photo Credit: Mike Gannon
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