3. Sunday’s game has the potential to be the Turnover Bowl considering the rate both offenses give up the football. What needs to change for the Giants to kick that habit?
Unless the Giants retreat into a conservative shell, the turnovers will come. The offensive line is incapable of producing a clean pocket for Eli, and through 14 games he’s been incapable of making prudent decisions — 57.9 QBR — when under heat. While Manning is one cool cat emotionally, he’s undeniably shell-shocked right now. Just waiting for the next pin to drop…
4. With reports surfacing that Victor Cruz may be done for the year, how will the Giants offense be different against the Lions without him?
Opposing defenses have gone to school on Cruz and taken away his comfort spots. He put together three huge efforts in the opening four weeks (surprise vertical attacks), but his effectiveness out of the slot has been vastly diminished. His fill-in, Jerrel Jernigan, caught seven passes for 67 yards in the final 18:51 last week, but it was all underneath stuff against a true prevent look (down 23-0). With Nicks invisible — lost explosion, shaken confidence and frequent loafing — the onus falls on Rueben Randle to make big plays. Randle has been the Giants most dangerous WR after the catch by a wide margin (5.2 YAC per reception).
5. What is your prediction for Sunday’s game?
When facing a predictable running attack, the Giants stuff it. But the Lions present a different challenge with two versatile runners and run/pass offensive balance. I expect the screen game to become a major factor if/when they fall behind early, falling into the trap of uncontrolled aggression. Offensively, I truly worry for Manning’s safety. The Giants aren’t a quick pass, ball control offense, but it’s hard to visualize another feasible alternative. Bottom line: It’s all about Jim Schwartz getting his team mentally prepared six days after a horrendous defeat… if he does, the Lions win comfortably 30-14.
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