Saquon Barkley
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

The New York Giants will look to avoid an 0-2 start for the third consecutive season when they take on the (1-0) Buffalo Bills in their home opener at MetLife Stadium.

Jason Leach

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—After a disastrous start to the season last week in Dallas, when they were trounced by the Cowboys, 35-17, the New York Giants will look to get their first win of the season in the home opener Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

The Bills come into this game with confidence, having won last Sunday at MetLife Stadium when they defeated the Jets, 17-16, despite losing the turnover battle four to one.

But head coach Pat Shurmur is just as confident that his team will rebound after the disappointing Week 1 performance, especially playing in front of their fans.

“We’re expecting them to be loud and very supportive like they always are,” Shurmur proclaimed.

If the Giants don’t want to disappoint their fans and start 0-2 for the third-consecutive season, they’ll need to execute and communicate much better than they did a week ago.

Saquon Barkley needs to have 20 plus touches

Inexplicably, Barkley only touched the ball 15 times last week (11 rushes, four receptions). That simply cannot happen again on Sunday. Barkley is by far the Giants best offensive weapon who has the ability to either get a first down or touchdown from anywhere on the field.

The Bills have one of the best defenses in the league, so the Giants must make sure they get the ball into their best playmakers had at least 20 times if they’re going to have success moving the ball. The more time Barkley gets the ball in his hands, the better the Giants chances are of winning.

New York Giants

Get pressure on Josh Allen

One of the questions coming into this season was, “Would the Giants pass rush be improved after the additions they made in the offseason?” That question is still lingering as the defense failed to register a sack last week and seldom put any pressure on Dak Prescott.

This week they’ll go up against quarterback Josh Allen who was one of the more mobile quarterbacks in the league and also has one of the strongest arms in the league. The defense has to put pressure on Allen and negate him from making plays with his legs and from finding receivers downfield.

The Giants are expecting big things from their edge rushers Lorenzo Carter, Markus Golden and rookie Oshane Ximines. It’s time for them to make their first big impact of the 2019 season.

Don’t get beat deep

The Bills don’t have a potent passing game but they do have a blazing fast receiver in John Brown who torched the Jets secondary last week for seven receptions for 123 yards including the game-winning 38-yard touchdown reception.

Against the Cowboys last week, the Giants secondary allowed four different receivers to have receptions of 25 yards or more. The communication and discipline have to be better this week, especially whoever is matched on Brown.

The new additions to the secondary Antoine Bethea, Jabrill Peppers, DeAndre Baker, Antonio Hamilton and Corey Ballentine must do a better job this week of not allowing Brown and the rest of the Bills receivers to beat them deep.

Move Evan Engram around the formation

With Sterling Shepard out due to a concussion and Cody Latimer questionable with a calf injury, the Giants passing game will once rely heavily on tight end Evan Engram, who set career highs last week in receptions (11) and receiving yards (116). The Bills know Engram will be Eli Manning’s favorite target on Sunday, but they can’t know when Engram is going to be lined up in the formation.

The Giants have to make sure the move Engram around on Sunday by splitting him out wide, having him in tight and maybe even put him in the slot on a few occasions to keep the Bills defense guessing on where he’ll be lined up.

Ball Security

Not turning the ball over is always crucial, especially when going up against an elite defense such as the Bills. The Giants ball carriers and Manning will need to have a clean game and not turn the ball over if they’re going to win on Sunday. 

Prediction:

With the defense wanting to redeem themselves after last week’s performance, and the boost of playing in front of their fans in the home opener, the Giants will eke out a close hard-fought win on Sunday.

Giants 20, Bills 17

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