Diary of a Giants Fan: Giants – Bills Preview
Admittedly folks, I'm still getting over the Seahawks game - even though I kind of saw it coming. I mean, how do you lose to that complete dumpster fire of an organization? But I come to you today with a renewed sense of defiance. Why? Because the 4-1 Buffalo Bills invade the Swamps of Jersey this week, and isn't this the type of game the Giants just get up for? Follow me on Twitter @JoeBianchino.
Let's face it. Last week sucked. A lot. I mean last week was disgusting. Awful. We were hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray, run amok...just flat beaten down. But hope springs eternal, my friends. Each Sunday in this great league brings a new game, a new opponent and a new chance at redemption - Except you St. Louis, have fun with Green Bay this weekend. Anyway, the Giants' shot at a sorely needed dose of redemption will come in the form of the Buffalo Bills, who have ridden their Harvard QB and former Sioux City Bandit RB to a shocking 4-1 record.
The Bills come into the game off of a win in which they survived the late charge of the Philadelphia Underachievers. Their 4-1 record would be the feel-good story of the NFL season, if not for the Detroit Lions who are doing their best to resurrect an entire city. Fred Jackson has become the star of Western New York as he is rapidly becoming a top running back in the league and the main weapon in this fourth rated rushing attack. Ryan Fitzpatrick and his band of "Who is that?" wide receivers are no slouches, however, as they've become a formidable threat through the air. Much of the late game success the Bills have found, including dramatic wins over the Patriots, Eagles and Raiders, have come from this part of their game.
This will be their first serious road test, however, as each of their big wins has come within the friendly confines of Orchard Park. For this first big road test the Bills could not have drawn more of a Rubix Cube of a team. The Giants, true to their history, have been up and down all season. I'm not sure the Giants have played a consistent set of downs yet this year, let alone strung together a few uniform games. Hopefully this won't be the first time they play consistent games. Translation? Let's hope they don't lose in crushingly disappointing fashion again this week.
If the Giants are to rally off of the boot that was last week they'll need to do a number of things. First? Find some continuity on offense. Anyone who watches any amount of football knows that as an offense you want to have an identity. Well do me a favor, tell me what the Giants' identity is? Go ahead, think about it...I'll wait.
Nothing? Yeah. Me neither, and between the two of us I'm supposed to be the one who knows this sort of thing. In years past the Giants have been touted as a "pound the ball via the ground game and use that to set up the play action pass" team. Well that's just not true anymore. It seems to me that the Giants' offensive strategy is to pass first, with really poor protection, then run the ball whenever Kevin Gilbride remembers that he has running backs on his team. Then, when in the inevitable third and long situation, throw a screen pass to Bradshaw and punt.
This has to be the game where the Giants change all of that. The Bills simply aren't a great defense. They're 26th, 30th and 30th in pass, run and total defense, respectively. The Giants have a real opportunity, against a quality opponent, to find their feet, if you will, as an offense. And find their feet they must (I love puns). It's time for the Giants to get back to running the ball. It is, to me, the only way that they can be a successful offense in the long run. Let's face it, that offensive line couldn't protect Eli Manning against the pass rush from "Air Bud: Golden Receiver." They have however, I truly believe, showed some promise in opening up holes for the running backs, when Gilbride commits to actually letting Bradshaw and Jacobs earn their pay checks.
The Giants have to get back to running the ball and use that to set up the pass. With safeties creeping up to stop the run Nicks and Cruz may find enough room down the field to turn in some real big plays. They may even be open enough that it won't matter if Nicks runs the wrong route, which will happen at least once. You hear that Gilbride? Run, then pass. That's the way you spell "success."
Defensively, the Giants need to stay the course. The unit, which began the season looking about as strong as the plot of "Air Bud: Golden Receiver" (we're really to believe that the dog can play football?) has improved in each game. Overall, they really didn't play that poor a game last week against the Seahawks - he says while highlights of Charlie Whitehurst and his glorious porn-stache dissecting the Giants defense plays in his mind. The pass rush has to continue to abuse the opposing quarterback and the secondary, which has still been underwhelming, has to continue to improve at trying to cover wide receivers. If the offense and defense can do these things the Giants have a real chance to get the win.
Will they do these things? Who knows. Despite my vigorous pleas, I doubt Gilbride will devote enough time to running the ball, and the defense is facing an exponentially better offense than they were last week. As I write this there's no real news to report on the Giants injuries. Jacobs, Tuck and Snee missed practice, though their status for Sunday is not certain. Each will be missed if they can't go, Snee the most because his absence forces an inferior lineman to play on this already tissue paper line...not good. Tuck would be a tremendous help, though the defensive line has shown that they can get by without one of their stars. Though the D-line will be down tackle Jimmy Kennedy who was suspended four games for violating the league's performance enhancing drugs policy.
Good God, we had people on steroids playing D last week and couldn't stop Charlie Whitehurst? This loss just got worse! Anyway, as of the beginning of this sentence I still haven't decided who I think will win the game. On paper, advantage Bills. They've got three quality wins on the year already, while the Giants, who have beaten the Eagles, have racked up wins while looking mediocre against the Cardinals and Rams. There's not a lot to love about the G-men right now, and yet? This just feels like the type of game that the Giants will play well in. Coming off a horrible loss, at home, with no reason to really believe in the team, I just look for them to have a big game.
I see a very close contest which will come right down to the end. In that situation, while the Bills have looked great in close games this year, I choose to ride the back of the man that I've called one of the best two minute quarterbacks in the league. I - Do I really want to do this?...Yeah, I think I will - think that Manning will lead the Giants one some big fourth quarter drives and they'll ultimately get a huge win. I could see the game going either way, but the Giants know that their schedule gets insanely hard after their week seven bye, I look for an inspired game from Big Blue, and a big win, 28-24.
Follow me on Twitter @JoeBianchino and check back here for my wrap up following the game, and as always, Go Giants!