It’s been a horrendous season for the New York Giants, but they will try to give their fans an early Christmas present and win their third game of the year.
The New York Giants have played the last two weeks under interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo but haven’t been able to come away with a victory just yet. They’ll try to put together four solid quarters of football and get Spags his first win as Giants head coach before Santa Claus stops by.
Both teams come into this matchup with several key players banged up. Both teams will need to execute their game plan to perfection in order to come away with a win.
— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) December 22, 2017
So here we go! Let’s take a look at some keys to victory for these Giants heading into Week 16.
1. Feature Evan Engram
Last week the Giants leading receiver was Sterling Shepard, who snagged 11 receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown. It’s unlikely Shepard will have the same type of production this week as he’ll be blanketed by Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson.
Engram has lived up to being drafted in the first round as he leads all rookie tight ends in receptions, yards and touchdowns. He also leads the Giants in all of those categories as well.
None of the Cardinals linebackers, including Karlos Dansby, have the speed to properly cover Engram and their safeties don’t have the size to match up with him. Last week Engram caught eight passes on 13 targets for 87 yards. Look for him to have even a busier afternoon on Sunday.
2. Slow down the Cardinals running game
The Cardinals running game has come to life over the past four games, averaging 125 yards on the ground. Kerwynn Williams has become the Cardinals workhorse back, and you can expect the Cardinals to feature him against the Giants 31st ranked run defense.
Slowing down the Cardinals ground game won’t be easy especially, with linebacker B.J. Goodson already ruled out of the competition. So the task of slowing down the ground game will fall largely on Damon Harrison and the rest of the Giants’ front four.
If the Giants can’t slow down the Cardinals rushing attack they have no chance of emerging victorious.
3. Limit the number of mistakes
Last week the Giants outgained the Eagles 504 to 341, but Eli Manning had a momentum-changing interception, and Bobby Hart had a costly false start penalty in the final moments that did the Giants in.
If not for those two plays, the Giants would have came away with a home victory against the NFC East champions.
The Giants aren’t good enough to overcome mistakes as their 2-12 record indicates. They can’t afford to have costly turnovers or penalties and expect to win. Both teams are -4 in turnover differential for the season, so whoever does a better job of playing mistake-free football will come away with the win.
The Giants came thisclose to beating the impressive Eagles last week. Can they pull out their third win of the season at the Cardinals?