The New York Giants will look to get their second win in a row as they take on Drew Brees and the high-powered New Orleans Saints offense.
After playing the last two weeks in Texas, the New York Giants return home this Sunday and will look to get their second-straight victory when they take on the New Orleans Saints (2-1) at MetLife Stadium.
It will be a tough task getting a win over the Saints. They currently possess the second-highest scoring offense in the NFL at 34.7 points per game, and quarterback Drew Brees is playing at an MVP level.
This will, by far and away, be the toughest challenge for James Bettcher’s defense.
On the flip side, the Giants offense should have success against the Saints defense that’s giving up 34.3 points per game which is dead last in the NFL. This could be the game that the Giants finally end their streak of 36 games of not scoring 30 points.
The Giants are hoping they can build off the momentum of last week’s win and win their first home game of the season.
Here are the keys to victory for the Giants:
1. Disrupt Drew Brees
Through three games, Drew Brees is playing arguably the best football of his career. He’s thrown eight touchdowns and zero interceptions and more impressively, he’s completing 80.6 percent of his passes.
If Brees is comfortable in the pocket on Sunday, he’ll crave the Giants defense apart. It’s imperative that the Giants disrupt Brees’s rhythm by pressuring him, knocking him down, and for the front seven to knock down his passes.
The Giants must also get physical with Brees’s number one receiving target Michael Thomas, who is leading the NFL in receptions (38) and receiving yards (398). The task of containing Thomas will be the job of Janoris Jenkins who is the Giants best cornerback.
2. All eyes on Alvin Kamara
Running back Alvin Kamara is only averaging 3.8 yards per carry on the ground, but has been the most productive back in league catching passes out of the backfield. Kamara is second on the Saints in receptions with 30 and second on the team in receiving yards with 289.
One of the concerns of the Giants heading into this season was the ability of their linebackers to cover running backs coming out of the backfield. Last week, they showed improvement as Alec Ogletree intercepted a pass in the end zone that was intended for Lamar Miller.
Ogletree and the rest of the Giants linebackers must be on their game on Sunday and make sure they keep their eyes on Kamara coming out of the backfield.
3. Attack the Saints secondary deep
The Saints secondary hasn’t been able to show that they can stop any offense this year as they’re giving up 337 passing yards a game. They’ve been particularly vulnerable defending the deep ball as they’ve given up four touchdowns of 40 yards or more this season.
Rookie WR Calvin Ridley has exploded! Has 5 catches for 129 yards, 2 TDs. pic.twitter.com/4E1kNeHlnO
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) September 23, 2018
With Chad Wheeler at right tackle and John Greco at center, the offensive line was more stable last week than they were in the previous two games. So, Eli Manning should have time to throw the ball downfield to Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Cody Latimer. Manning should attack the Saints secondary deep early to put them on their heels.
4. Feature Saquon Barkley
So far, Saquon Barkley is living up to the hype. He has over 100 all-purpose yards in each of the Giants three games this season, is averaging 4.7 yards per carry, and is second on the team in receptions with 21.
The Giants need to continue to make Barkley a focal point of their offense to control time of possession and keep the Saints offense off the field. With Evan Engram out due to a sprained knee, the Giants must feature Barkley in their passing game especially when a linebacker is on him. There isn’t a linebacker in this league that can guard Barkley and the Saints linebackers are average at best so the Giants need to exploit this matchup.
5. Convert red zone opportunities into touchdowns
Unlike the last time these two teams met in Week 2 of the 2016 season where the Giants won 16-13, this is expected to be a high scoring affair. So when the Giants get into the red zone they have to make sure they come away with touchdowns instead of field goals.
If the Giants get to the red zone and come away with field goals instead of touchdowns, they won’t be able to keep up with the Saints high powered offense.
The Giants showed improvement in all three phases of the game last week against the Texans. But they face a much stiffer opponent this week in the Saints. The game will be close but the Saints will eke out a win.