The New York Giants will travel to take on the Denver Broncos on Sunday Night Football a depleted team, and a team that’s in turmoil.By now, everyone knows that Giants wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Dwayne Harris were all put on season-ending injured reserve this week. But that only begins to touch on the injuries that have decimated Big Blue’s roster.
#NYGvsDEN Injury Report:
(OUT) – LB Casillas, DE Okwara, RB Perkins, C Richburg, WR Shepard, DE Vernon
(QUESTIONABLE) – S Collins
— New York Giants (@Giants) October 13, 2017
Five starters: linebacker Jonathan Casillas, running back Paul Perkins, center Weston Richburg, wide receiver Sterling Shepard and defensive end Olivier Vernon have all been ruled out of Sunday’s contest.
On top of that, defensive end Romeo Okwara will also miss the game, while safety Landon Collins is questionable.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that one of their best defensive players, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, has been suspended indefinitely.
This is the worst possible time for the Giants to face the Broncos, one of the NFL’s best teams and a well-rested bunch who are coming off a bye week. Denver boasts the NFL’s top-ranked defense, giving up just 260 yards per game.
So the outlook is grim for the Giants, which is why they’re nearly 12-point underdogs. The odds are stacked against the team getting its first win of the year. But you can never say never.
Here’s how the Giants can pull off a huge upset.
Get Running Backs Involved Often
Although the Broncos have the NFL’s top-ranked run defense, with the Giants receiving corps depleted and going up against the secondary in the league, the Giants need to feature their running backs on Sunday night.
After struggling to run the ball for the first three weeks of the season, the Giants running game has shown signs of life over the past two weeks, averaging 121 yards on the ground.
Even if the ground game is struggling to start the game, the Giants must stay committed to the run. Not only will it help them to win the time of possession battle, but it will keep the defense off the field as they deal with the thin mile-high air.
This will also limit the number of times that Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart have to try and stop Von Miller in pass protection.
Wayne Gallman and Orleans Darkwa should each get at least 15 carries each, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the Giants went with the hot hand should one get going.
When the Giants do throw the ball, Eli Manning needs to look to rookie tight end Evan Engram—especially when he’s matched up against a linebacker or safety.
Broncos cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr. will have the advantage when matched up against Roger Lewis and the other inexperienced Giants receivers, so Engram needs to get around 10 targets if the Giants are going to have any success through the air.
Defense Must Force Turnovers
The Broncos are the better and healthier team, so if the Giants are going to win the defense is going to have to force some turnovers. But Denver also has a fairly inexperienced quarterback in Trevor Siemian. Big Blue’s veteran defense needs to force him into making poor decisions.
So far, the Giants defense has forced just three turnovers in 2017. They’re going to need nearly that many from Denver to have any chance of winning this game.