Week two concludes tonight as the Detroit Lions travel to New York to face the Giants. Last week, these teams looked like they were on complete opposite sides of the spectrum. The Lions “shocked” a lot of people as they beat the Arizona Cardinals 35-23 in Detroit. The Lions’ defense looked better than most expected. They forced five turnovers, held the Cardinals to less than 275 yards passing and less than 50 yards on the ground. On the other hand, the Giants’ offense looked awful last week. They only amassed 256 total yards against a Cowboys’ defense that was torn about by the Broncos yesterday. The Giants’ offensive line looked horrendous as Eli Manning had absolutely no time and there was no holes for the running backs to hit.
Keys for the Giants:
1. Odell Beckham Jr.
As mentioned, the Giants’ offense looked atrocious last week. However, they were without their superstar, Odell Beckham Jr. He missed last week’s game with a high ankle sprain that he suffered in week 3 of the preseason. The question now becomes, does he play tonight? Reports up to this point (10:30 AM, September 18) are that he is questionable, but they sound more encouraging than last week. Last week showed how much Beckham actually does mean to this offense. The Cowboys were fearless in blitzing Eli as they knew they were not going to get beat deep by any of the Giants’ receivers. That changes when Beckham plays as he has big play potential anytime he is on the field. The Giants need him if they want to get their first win tonight.
2. Offensive Line
The offensive line was the biggest problem coming into the season for the Giants, but the problem seemed to be an even bigger issue. The Giants made Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence look like an All-Pro player last week. He recorded two sacks on Eli and was hitting him all game long. On one play against the Cowboys, THREE players got through the line untouched. And no, it was not a screen play or a designed play in which the offensive line vacated. The line just looked that bad. To go along with that, the Giants only had 36 rushing yards last week. The Giants’ running backs are not world beaters, but they are serviceable enough to get the job done. However, when there are no holes to hit, there is nothing they can do. The offensive line needs to create holes for the running backs today, which in return will open up the pass game. Giving Eli some time will be a huge factor in this game.
3. Stopping the Pass
Like the Giants, the Lions struggled running the ball last week. They totaled 85 yards on the ground with 31 of those coming from non-running backs. Ameer Abdullah, Dwayne Washington and Theo Riddick struggled mightily. This is nothing new for the Lions. They struggled running the ball last year as well. They are a very one-dimensional offense, but Matthew Stafford is a very good quarterback with some very solid weapons at his disposal. The Giants’ pass defense will have their hands full this week. Janoris Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Landon Collins and Eli Apple will need to be on their A games if they want to shut down this passing attack. Last week, Golden Tate had 10 receptions for over 100 yards, Marvin Jones Jr. had a touchdown, Theo Riddick had a touchdown out of the backfield, and rookie Kenny Golladay hauled in two TDs. The Giants did contain the Lions’ passing attack last year, as they held them without a touchdown on the game. If they can repeat that performance, they should see a similar result today.
PREDICTION: Giants 20, Lions 13