The Giants’ Week 3 win in Houston gave them life, but backing it up with a win over a Super Bowl contender in the New Orleans Saints this Sunday at MetLife Stadium will be a tall task.
Here are three keys to Pat Shurmur’s Giants team “stacking” — as this team’s coaches and players like to say — a second straight win on top.
RUN THE BALL, KEEP THE BALL
Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense are averaging 34.7 points and 428 yards per game compared to the Giants’ 18.3 points and 319.3 yards per outing under Eli Manning. The Giants offense needs to help its defense by running the ball, maintaining possession and scoring to keep Brees off the field and under pressure. The Giants set a physical tone in Houston in Week 3 with five rushes for 39 yards on their first drive, capped by a 15-yard Saquon Barkley TD run. They’ll need to start just as well this Sunday and maintain that ground game throughout.
LIMIT THE BIG PLAYS ON ‘D’
Brees is an all-time great. Saints top back Alvin Kamara and receiver Michael Thomas have combined for 828 yards and six touchdowns through three weeks. Thomas led the league in receiving after three weeks (398 yards). Kamara caught 15 of 20 targets in a Week 3 overtime road win in Atlanta. They’re going to move the ball; the Giants’ defense simply has to keep plays in front of them. They can’t get beaten deep. The Texans had three 30-plus yard pass plays against the Giants in Week 3 and seven plus-20 yard pass completions. That won’t fly on Sunday. Also keep an eye on dual-threat backup QB Taysom Hill, who has three rushes for 39 yards. The Giants struggled against read-option QB rushes in Weeks 1 and 2 against the Jaguars’ Blake Bortles and the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott, respectively.
SCORE 30 POINTS, MAYBE?
Odds are, based on the Saints’ scoring average, the Giants will need to score at least 30 points to win this game. And they haven’t done that in 36 games, dating back to Week 17 of the 2015 NFL season under Tom Coughlin (against a Philadelphia Eagles team coached by interim HC Pat Shurmur who’d replaced the fired Chip Kelly). The Giants had 20 points at halftime in last week’s 27-22 win in Houston. They have the firepower. And the Saints defense is ripe for the taking, surrendering 34.3 points and 421 yards per game. It’s time to cash in.