In what might be Eli Manning’s last game, the New York Giants will look to end their nine-game losing streak against the Miami Dolphins Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ—There are only three games remaining in the New York Giants’ disastrous 2019 season. Few, if any, predicted the Giants would make the playoffs, but no one could have envisioned the team would go close to three-full months without a victory.
Major changes are in store for Big Blue in the offseason. But for the final three games of the season, Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch want their team to play four quarters of solid football.
Here’s what the Giants will need to do to win on Sunday against the Dolphins:
Get out to a quick start
They’ll be more energy at MetLife Stadium than it was in the Giants’ previous home game against the Green Bay Packers, as the fans will look forward to seeing Eli Manning play in what may be his final home start.
The Giants will need to get off to a quick start and get a lead early to maintain the energy from their fans that could help guide them to a victory.
Keep the defensive scheme simple
With Janoris Jenkins no longer on the team, the Giants secondary is very young with rookies Deandre Baker, Corey Ballentine, Julian Love and second-year cornerback Sam Beal. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will look to exploit the Giants’ young secondary by attacking them with his favorite receiver, DeVante Parker.
The secondary has struggled all season and this was with their best player, Jenkins. So they’ll be even more vulnerable on Sunday, due to their inexperience.
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher must shy away from his complicated schemes and keep a simple game plan to help prevent his players from being confused. It’s led to blown coverages all season.
Take chances downfield
Manning proved he can still hum the ball downfield when he connected with Darius Slayton on a 55-yard touchdown last week. The Dolphins secondary is giving up 256.6 passing yards a game and has given up 31 touchdowns this season.
— New York Giants (@Giants) December 10, 2019
The Dolphins defense only has 17 sacks on the season, so Manning should have time to find Slayton and the rest of his receivers downfield for huge gains.
Establish the run
If there were ever a time for Saquon Barkley to have his first 100-yard rushing performance since Week 2, this is the week. The Dolphins are tied for 30th in run defense, giving up 141.1 yards per game on the ground.
It’s imperative that the offensive line wins their one-on-one battles and open holes for Barkley. In addition, Shurmur needs to call plays for Barkley to run off-tackle, where he’s at his best.
Win the turnover battle
This is a close matchup between two bad teams that could come down to who does a better job of ball security. Last week, for the first time all season, the Giants did not commit a turnover and they almost pulled off the upset. If they don’t turn the ball over against the Dolphins, they should win.
The enthusiasm of Manning making possibly his final home start as a Giant, and the fact that the team should be able to move the ball consistently against the Dolphins, will be enough for them to eke a close win.