The New York Giants will look to win their seventh game in a row as they take on the 6-5 Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday at Heinz Field.
The New York Giants haven’t won seven games in a row since 2008, and in order for the Giants to win on Sunday, they’re going to need to play their best game of the season.
Here are the keys to victory for the Giants when they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.
1. Mix up coverages
The Giants will face, perhaps, the best quarterback-receiver duo in the NFL in Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie have been great all season in man to man coverage. But against the Steelers, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo needs to mix up coverages by occasionally having a safety help and playing some zone, instead of having one of his corners locked man to man with Brown the entire game.
The best way to disrupt the Roethlisberger to Brown connection is to offer up different looks and mix up the coverages.
2. All eyes on Le’Veon Bell
Le’Veon Bell is the most versatile running back in the NFL and is averaging 141 all-purpose yards a game. Sometimes, he’ll even lineup as a wide receiver to create mismatches in the passing game. The Giants must pay attention to Bell at all times as he will be the focal point of the Steelers offense. Linebackers Jonathan Casillas and Keenan Robinson will play an integral part in stopping Bell.
3. Throw the ball downfield
The Steelers defense is vulnerable to giving up big plays, and this is something Eli Manning and the Giants offense can exploit on Sunday. Manning has connected on 25 passes of 20 yards or more to Odell Beckham Jr, Victor Cruz, and Sterling Shepard. The Giants need test the Steelers secondary deep early and often on Sunday to create scoring opportunities.
4. Bring down Big Ben
The Giants pass rush has been outstanding of late sacking opposing quarterbacks 14 times of the past three games. Ben Roethlisberger is only sacked on 3.6 percent of his drop backs, which is fifth lowest in the NFL. If the Giants can sack Roethlisberger the way they’ve been sacking other quarterbacks, it increases their chances of winning.
5. Have Odell Beckham Jr. return punts
This might make some Giants fans nervous, but Beckham is the Giants most dynamic play maker, by far, and anytime he gets the ball, good things happen. He would have scored on a punt return last week if not for a holding penalty. The Steelers will have Antonio Brown return punts, so it only makes sense to have Beckham do it as well in a game that’s important to both teams.
Matchups between two evenly matched teams is sometimes decided by specials teams, and having Beckham return punts gives the Giants the best chance of winning this phase of the game.