By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants are embarking on unchartered territory as they enter week 14 in search for their 5th straight (5-7) win as they host the struggling Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals are sitting at 6-6, but have their own streak going as they have lost their last 3 games. The Giants will face another duel threat quarterback in Kyler Murray who has the Cardinals averaging 27.7 points per game. All reports are pointing to Daniel Jones returning to action against Arizona. Here are my top 5 reasons the Giants could keep their winning going against the Cardinals:
- Hog Mollies: The Giants offensive line has simply been dominating during the team’s winning streak averaging 163.5 yards per game over that span. This unit is reminding Giant fans of the glory days during the Giants four Super Bowl seasons (1986, 1990,2007,2011) when the Offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage. The Cardinals defense is allowing 123 yards per game and 24.7 points per game; which should favor the Giants.
- Time of Possession: It’s no secret if you control the line of scrimmage, you control the clock. The Giants have been trending upward in this category during their winning streak at 32:59 and overall at 29:54. The Cardinals are slightly below the Giants at 28:27 overall and 26:42 during their 3 game losing streak. If the Giants continue to run the ball like they have over their last 4 games, they should control the clock and win the time of possession battle.
- Red Zone: The Giants overall are still near the bottom of the league with a 48.48% in the red zone. However; during their winning streak they are trending 55.56% in the red zone. The Cardinals despite their current losing streak have done well in the red zone with a 88.89% and an overall percentage of 75.61. The Giants need to keep the Cardinals out of the red zone as much as possible to limit their scoring chances.
- 3rd down conversions: The Giants are trending near the backend of the league in this category with an overall 39.87%. The Cardinals sit in the middle of the pack with a 42.95%. The Giants need to make some 3rd down conversions in this game to keep their drives alive and more importantly; keep Kyler Murray off the field.
- Give and Take: The Giants are slowly climbing up the turnover chart as they are now sitting at a +3 in this department. A lot has to do with the ball security of Jones before his injury and the opportunistic play of the Giants defense. The Cardinals are even currently at 0, but the biggest factor that could help the Giants is that the Cardinals have a hard time holding onto the ball as they are averaging a fumble per game. This could be a key factor in this game as it could decide the winner.
Final Thoughts: At this time this prediction is based off the assumption that Daniel Jones will start on Sunday against the Cardinals. Head Coach Joe Judge is very optimistic of his return and the Giants would certainly welcome him back. The Giants win over Seattle was a combination of superior running and ferocious defensive play against a very good Seattle offense. The Giants must duplicate this against a Cardinals offense that mirrors the Seahawks. Although I don’t see the Giants sacking Murray 5 times like they did against Wilson, I do see them applying a lot of pressure on him and hopefully it will produce a couple of ill advised throws that will lead to turnovers. The Giants certainly can’t afford to get into a shootout with the Cardinals and must keep Murray and the Cardinals offense off the field as much as possible. Over this season I am sitting at 9-3 with my predictions as it was a lot easier earlier in the season to bet against the Giants as they were 1-5 in their first six games. However; over their last seven games the Giants are 5-2 and are one of hottest teams in the NFC. Earlier in the year the Giants didn’t know how to win and close out games, now the Giants are tasting victory with 4 straight wins and it appears they are hunger for more. So in a nutshell, if the Giants can duplicate their performance like they did last week, they could extend their winning streak to 5 games. If not, it will be a battle for them to score enough points and keep up with Cardinals. This is a game that could be decided in the closing minutes of the game or whoever has the ball last. I got to go with the hot hand here and believe in my Giants playing at home, playing a meaningful game in December and being in 1st place should carry them to victory.
Final Score: Giants-20/Cardinals-17