Diary of a Giants Fan: Cardinals – Giants Preview
Well Giants fandome, the G-men are 2-1 after a surprising win in Philly last week. Sunday they'll travel to the desert to take on the rather low-flying Arizona Cardinals. The Cards come into the game 1-2 after a "You've got to be kidding me" loss to the Seattle Seahawks and their should-be CFL quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. At first glance it seems the G-men should win easily. Not so fast my friends. Not so fast.
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First. This is the Giants. No win is easy. No win. So throw that out the window. Secondly, and admittedly, I'm still a little wrapped up in the Giants' win last Sunday. The more I reflect on the game the more I'm impressed with it. This was a gutsy, spirited win for the G-men who went into Philadelphia and for the most part, dominated the Eagles physically. It was certainly an intense, impressive and emotional win on Sunday to say nothing of surprising. Looking to repeat the performance Big Blue will fly cross-country to take on what looks to be an inferior opponent, which makes me think one thing:
Yip. I've gone all Ackbar on you, folks. IT'S A TRAP! Now don't get me wrong, the Giants are a better team than the Cardinals, I don't think you can say otherwise - and I'll still be picking Tom Coughlin's team to win -but this is a classic trap game. The Giants are coming off an emotional, dynamic win and traveling cross-country to a face an inferior foe. That sounds like a recipe for underperformance. If the Giants aren't wary, there's a chance that they could waltz into Arizona taking this Cardinals team lightly. The coaches will need to do some good work this week in impressing on the team the importance of the game.
As far as actual gameplay goes, I think the Giants hold a lot of advantages. Eli Manning's offense, which has improved each game this year, should put up some numbers on this Cardinal defense. I mean come on! USC's triple-A team, The Seattle Seahawks, put up thirteen points, surely the Giants can muster at least twenty. I expect the Giants to run the ball well with both Jacobs and Bradshaw, again, and use that success to open up the passing game via the play action. Look for Nicks to have a good game. They might even hit one of those roll-out deep passes to Cruz or Manningham for once.
Defensively, the issue is complicated slightly. Despite the emergence of Aaron Ross last week, the Giants don't have a single player on their team who can cover Larry Fitzgerald - and I'm not just saying that because he's a member of my fantasy team, The Playa Haters, for the second straight year - Dude can ball. I don't think there's any one man in that maligned G-men secondary who can run with or jump with the former Pitt Panther. So what's the answer to the question he poses? Don't try and run or jump with him. You'll just end up embarrassed. Perry Fewell (genius) needs to commit his forces to stopping the run and rushing the passer.
Big Blue was inexplicably gashed by LeSean McCoy and the Eagles poor offensive line last week. That can't happen again, and it shouldn't. Let's be honest. Beanie Wells? Not exactly Shady McCoy. The Giants need to use their emerging linebackers and above average defensive line (with Osi? Please?) to make the Cardinals one-dimensional. If they can have early success with this, the Giants pass rush can pin their ears back and rush the...underwhelming(?) Kevin Kolb and shut down their passing game that way.
You shouldn't go into this game thinking that the Giants are going to completely shut down the Cardinals offense, though. Our (yeah I said our. Big whoop, want to fight about it?!) secondary just isn't good enough to completely stop Fitzgerald and company. But if they can find it within themselves to play the type of game they played against the vastly superior Eagles offense last week, the Giants should be fine, especially when you take into account how good the Giants have looked in the red zone the past two weeks. Bottom line, it may be a big day for the Cardinal's kicker...As long as the Gents guard against complacency. I fear that there's a real chance the Giants will underperform this week.
Still. The Giants are superior, they've got great coaching - GREAT COACHING, STOP HATING - in Tom Coughlin and they should be fine. I think there will be somewhat of a hangover, how could there not be, but I expect them to move the ball on offense - through the ground then the air - and play well defensively. If they don't come out woefully flat, which you'll see right away, I think the G-men will stroll into stadium in which they won Super Bol XLII and take this one 24-13.
Follow me on Twitter @JoeBianchino for some live thoughts during the game and look for my review of it after right here on 1045theteam.com. Go Giants!