By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: The New York Giants will be traveling to the Motor City this weekend after suffering their 3rd straight loss to the hands of the Arizona Cardinals 27-21. The Detroit Lions also suffered a loss to the Minnesota Vikings at home 42-30 and now stand 2-3-1 and in last place for the season. Detroit is led by quarterback Matthew Stafford and a very competent aerial attack that features wide receiver Marvin Jones (4 touchdowns in the loss to the Vikings). The Giants are sinking fast and they’re losing in so many ways that it might be hard for Head Coach Pat Shurmur to right the ship at this point. The defense has been inconsistent, they can’t hold onto the ball and their offense has suddenly been non-existence. In order to get back on the winning track, the Giants need to do these five things to secure win #3 on the year.
- Giant’s defense-vs-the Lions offense: The Giants defense is ranked 27th overall (28th against the pass/26th against the run) with no help in sight. The Giants must find a way to prevent quarterback Matthew Stafford from having his way or we could see him throw for more than 400 yards with multiple touchdown passes. The Lions feed off their pass attack, so if the Giants can somehow minimize big plays through the air, they should be able to contain the Lions running attack.
- Turnovers: The Giants continue to be an embarrassment in this category as they are now -10 on the year; which has been a major factor in their 5 losses this season. The Lions on the other hand have a +4 ratio and this could be the deciding factor in determining the winner as he did in the Giants last game against the Cardinals.
- 3rd Down Efficiency: The Giants have a 38% third down efficiency rating over their first 7 games (33/87); which puts them in the bottom half of the league. The Lions are mirroring the Giants with a 38% clip (30/79). Whichever team finds a way to convert more on 3rd down should have a big advantage.
- Giant’s offense-vs-Lions defense: The Giants will see a few familiar faces this Sunday as former Giants Damon Harrison, Roman Okwara and Devon Kennard will be eager to show the Giants their worth. The Giants offensive line couldn’t have played any worse than what they did against the Cardinals surrendering 8 sacks and countless quarterback pressures that should have resulted in more sacks if not for the mobility of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. The Lions team defense is rated worse than the Giants (31st), so it’s important for the Giants to keep the Lions defense on the field as long as possible.
- Big Plays: The Lions have allowed 20 passing plays of at least 25 yards this season; which only second to the Raiders with 24. Last week, tight end Evan Engram returned and was a non factor in the Giant’s offense; especially after being poked in the eye by Terrell Suggs. Running Back Saquon Barkley also returned and showed a little cob webs in his performance. The Lions defense gives up a high number of big plays to their opponents this season and the Giant’s desperately need to make some in this game; especially Barkley and Engram.
Final Thoughts: The Giant’s and Lions historically have played it close throughout their history with the Lions holding a slight edge (23-21-1) over the Giant’s. However; the Giants have won five of the last six road games against the Lions dating back to 1988. This is a pivotal game for the Giants as it represents the halfway point of the season and if the Giants can find a way to win this game, it could give them some momentum heading into the second half of the season. With the NFL trading deadline approaching (October 29th), we could see some Giant players suiting up for the last time in a Giant’s uniform. This game can go either way as both teams have a paper thin defense and both teams should be able to move the ball offensively. However; whichever team that can execute the best offensively should walk away with the win. Overall, I’m 3-4 with my predictions and I’ve mostly been leaning towards the Giants. However; I think the Giants will face a Detroit Lions team that will be clicking on all cylinders offensively and quarterback Matthew Stafford will be too much to handle.
Final Score: Lions-37/Giants-27