Diary of a Giants Fan: Giants – Saints Preview
Looking to rally off their woeful showing last week against the Eagles, the Giants will take on the Drew Brees and the Saints at the Superdome. It's as tough a task as their is, but it's not an impossible one...Unless they play like last week.
Last week was one of the most pitiful displays of football that I've ever seen. Poor play, poor effort, poor result. In the interest of my sanity, though, I refuse to discuss it any more, it's just too damn frustrating. So, let's jump right into it and take a look at this week:
And boy is it an ominous view. The Saints are very, very good. They're first in the league in offense - first in passing and thirteenth in rushing. Drew Brees is, once again, carving up secondaries with his seemingly endless array of receivers. Seriously. How many roster spots on the Saints are receivers whose names you barely know? Watching Drew Brees play is a study in spreading the ball around. It's also a study in reading defenses without the benefit of seeing over an offensive line. The man is listed at 6'0, and that's a dirty lie. Still, he gets it done. Make no mistake, this passing game is the Saints' bread and butter and it is nothing short of elite. Defensively the Saints are a little more suspect. They're twentieth in the league in defense and are simply not the same ball-hawking, opportunistic squad that won the Super Bowl a few years ago. Whatever, though. A 40-33 win is still a win.
For the Giants to get a win this week they'll first need to actually show up to the game. I know that that should be a given with professional players but...did you see last week? So assuming that the Giants come out with a pulse, they'll need to play a huge game defensively to beat the Saints. That starts up front. This is a make it or break it game for the Defensive Line. Despite the high praise they receive, this squad really hasn't played that well this season. They have yet to take over and dominate a game the way they are capable of doing. Some of this has to do simply with poor play, though some of it falls on Perry Fewell, who steadfastly refuses to bring pressure. Fewell still seems to occupy the dream land in which dropping more and more people into coverage will keep receivers from running wild. You can't blame him there, I mean it's the law of averages, right? Just put enough guys back there and at least one of them will have to end up near a receiver, right? Wrong. WRONG. Please, Perry. Blitz. For the sweet love of God, blitz! It doesn't matter if you drop all eleven, your team couldn't cover me right now, and my forty-time could be clocked with a sun-dial. So instead of trying to play that hole-a-plenty zone defense they run so well, the Giants should try to jam the Saints receivers and get pressure on Brees. Like so many dynamic passing offenses, the Saints rely on timing. Disrupting this timing is the only way to be anywhere near the lead in the fourth quarter. Time to get after it D-Line. Secondary? Just try to be in the picture when the Saint receivers catch the balls.
Offensively, I think success hinges largely on the shoulders of the offensive line. If Baas and company stand up before the game and once again stubbornly proclaim "We will block no one!" then this will be a long day. But if they manage to give Eli some time, and give Bradshaw, who hopes to be back, some cutback lanes then this Giants offense should move the ball. The Saints are mediocre in both pass and rush defense, so a good mix of run and pass should get the job done. I can't expect the O-line to have that horrific performance again so I think whatever running back plays - please God not Jacobs, I can't take Jacobs - to have some holes to run through and there's no reason to think that Eli won't continue to find the success he has found this season. They'll have to be extremely careful with the ball, though. This Saints team isn't too far removed from one that was freakishly good at forcing turn overs.
Look, this is a tough game to pick the Giants to win. Coming off of that dreadful game against a team that's not nearly as good as the Saints, and against a quarterback that couldn't carry Drew Brees' clipboard, they've given me no reason to like them. The Superdome is one of the hardest places to play in the NFL and these Sean Peyton lead Saints simply don't lose there. The Saints are a great team everywhere, but they're dynamic in their own building. There is literally no reason to think that the Giants will even be competitive on Monday...
And yet? Maybe I'm crazy - in fact, yeah. I'm crazy - but I've just got a feeling. The Giants are coming off an awful loss, at home, to an inferior opponent. They're going on the road, into an impossible situation, against a better team. True. But doesn't that just sound like one of those games where the Giants band together and play out of their minds? All this team has heard this week is how bad they looked, how they might just be a mediocre team. To me, this is when the Giants always seem to play some truly inspired football. The same way the Giants have a history of losing to teams like the Seahawks, they have a history of playing damn well in games like this. It's a monumentally huge moment for Big Blue, a moment I just can't expect them to shrink from. I've been saying all week, "The Giants will either win by four, or lose by forty." They won't lose by forty. They'll be ready for this game. The Giants have given me no reason to suggest this, but I think they'll come out and play well right from the opening kick. Manning will have that offense moving on the Saints D. I expect a Patriot game-esq performance from the defense and in the end, defiant as ever, I'm calling for a 28-24 Giants upset.
Check back here after the game to see if I was right. Go Giants!