The New York Giants have their backs to the wall on Sunday. A loss to the 5-7 New Orleans Saints could strip Big Blue of the division lead and throw them into the blood bath that is the NFC Wild Card race.
To preserve control of their Super Bowl defense, the Giants have to beat a talented football team this weekend. And while it may be fun to think about how the defense can stop Drew Brees, the reality is that they probably won't. The onus is going to fall on Eli Manning and Co. to put up a lot of points and hope the defense holds up.
The Saints have the NFL's last ranked defense, as they have allowed 5,286 yards of total offense through 12 games. New Orleans ranks 28th in points allowed, 20th in sacks and 18th in turnover margin. There is nothing spectacular, intimidating or even mildly impressive about this unit. The Saints defense had been a complete train wreck this season and is the major contributing factor to the team's losing record so far. Although the talent is not there, Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride says New Orleans' scheme is difficult to attack.
“It’s the old Philadelphia, Jim Johnson defensive scheme, which is a great scheme,” offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. “It’s one you have to be right on your toes to see where the pressure is coming from and then they’ll play just enough man or two-high that if you keep everybody in to protect against the blitz, you’re sitting there with seven guys blocking and they have eight guys dropping defensively.”
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the Giants' loss to the Washington Redskins last Monday was that the offense only managed 16 points. There are reasons for that, as Hakeem Nicks isn't healthy, lack of depth at running back, Sean Locklear is out for the season and the list goes on.
However, those issues are not going to be solved any time soon. Although the Saints defense is not impressing anybody this season, the Redskins are on pace to give up more passing yards than any other team in NFL history.
The offensive game plan was flawed, as Eli Manning only threw the ball 11 times in the second half. David Wilson only received four carries, while Kregg Lumpkin was having screen passes thrown to him in the backfield. The team was plagued by a myriad of penalties and the rushing attack was relatively ineffective. If the Giants want to have a chance to win on Sunday, the coaches and players have a lot of things they need to clean up. Despite their lackluster performance last week, Big Blue is still confident in themselves.
“There (are) definitely opportunities there,” Cruz said. “There’s things we feel like we can take advantage of.”
There is a chance that the offense will have to produce 30 or more points to win the game on Sunday. If the team that came out against the Green Bay Packers shows up, there are going to be some happy Giants fans come Sunday night.
However, if this team plays an undisciplined, poorly executed game plan like they did last week, there's a chance that the Giants are going to be scoreboard watching for the rest of the season. The offense must drastically improve upon last week's performance to avoid such a scenario.
Also…David Wilson, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Football, Green Bay Packers, Hakeem Nicks, Kevin Gilbride, Kregg Lumpkin, New Orleans Saints, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Sean Locklear, Washington, Washington Redskins
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