Monday, November 28, 2011

InReeseWeTrust: New York Giants vs. New Orleans Saints Week 12 Game Preview

New York Giants (6-4) at New Orleans Saints (7-3) on Monday Night Football at the Superdome in New Orleans
By Ben Kelly - 11/28/11
What happened last week
New Orleans had the week off with a bye, during which Sean Payton gave his players eight days off before beginning prep for the Giants on Monday. New Orleans’ last game was played on the road in Atlanta, where the Saints were aided by a gutsy overtime call by Falcons coach Mike Smith that backfired. Smith’s Falcons failed to convert a 4th and inches from their own 29-yard line and watched John Kasay kick a chip shot to give the Saints a 26-23 victory against their division rival.
The Jimmy, Pierre and Darren Show
The Saints present a nightmare matchup for New York’s young linebackers. Rookies Mark Herzlich and Greg Jones, along with Mathias Kiwanuka, are tasked with covering the Saints’ tight ends and backfield options- assignments the Giants have handled poorly the past two weeks. In the Philadelphia loss, LeSean McCoy was mostly held in check until a 60-yard run in the final two minutes put the game on ice. Philadelphia tight end Brent Celek caught six passes for 60 yards, and 6'3" target Riley Cooper had a breakout performance with five catches for 75 yards and a score. The week prior New York yielded 109 yards on nine catches to San Francisco’s tight ends. Enter New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham, the NFL leader in receptions and yardage for tight ends. The second-year player is fifth overall in receiving yardage among all players, to go along with six touchdowns and another league-best 47 first down conversions. Not bad for a guy with only one year of college football under his belt. The former Miami basketball player stands at 6'6", 260 pounds, and would be covered by the speedy Michael Boley if he weren’t injured. Giants linebackers will also have their hands full with running backs Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles, both in the LeSean McCoy-mold of being strong receiving threats. Like McCoy, the Saints backs have gashed opponents for big gains; Sproles with three rushes over 30 yards and two receptions over 20 this season, and Thomas with a 33-yard rush in week nine and a 57 yard completion against Indianapolis this season.
New York offensive line takes a hit...
But this will be the week the Giants’ run game redeems itself. After posting two uninspiring rushing totals in the past two weeks (18 carries/55 yards for Brandon Jacobs in San Fran, 29 total rush yards at home against Philly), reshuffling on the offensive line will provide a spark in the run game. Will Beatty is out with an eye injury and coaches decided to shift David Diehl to left tackle and promote Kevin Boothe to left guard. With Diehl and Boothe in, the Giants offensive line has a new look without losing its veteran presence. Diehl returns to the position he started the past four seasons and Boothe has made three starts at guard this season- two of which the Giants rushed for over 100 yards and won (Buffalo and New England). The Giants are 4-0 when rushing for over 100 yards this season. Now they face a Saints defense that ranks last in the NFL in yards per attempt at 5.2 and has held opponents under 100 yards on the ground only twice in ten games. The matchup between Saints defensive line versus Diehl and company tilts in New York’s favor, especially when Diehl had this to say this week: “We had two days off. Guys were in here watching film. Guys were in here lifting. It was actually good to see everybody in that little pissed-off attitude, getting ready to get back on the field. Since we’ve started, since we prepared this week, guys are fired up. Guys are flying around on the practice field. Guys are holding each other accountable. I know this, I know that we’re going to go out and fight on Monday night.” If the line performs the way he says it will, New York will impose its will against New Orleans’ front four.
Every trend in this game points toward an offensive shootout. In two of New Orleans’ losses they outgained their opponent, gaining more than 450 yards in Green Bay and Tampa Bay. The Saints’ offense has been slowed only once this season... to familiar face Steve Spagnuolo and the St. Louis Rams. Undoubtedly, the fact that the Saints only losses are to teams from two-name cities- St. Louis and the Bays- will be the deciding factor on Monday night. But if the Saints are to overcome that trend, they will have to do a better job in the turnover battle. The Saints haven’t taken more than one in a game this season while posting a paltry minus-5 turnover ratio. For the Giants to stay in the playoff hunt, they have to match New Orleans with early scores and win the turnover battle. To slow down Drew Brees, New York has to hope they can soak up the spirit of Spagnuolo from St. Louis for a night. In a packed Superdome on Monday Night Football it still might not be enough. Saints win, 30-27.

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By Michael Eisen - 11/28/11

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By Dan Salomone - 11/28/11

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Dottino: Giants At Saints Preview
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Giants glad they held on to versatile Kevin Boothe
David Diehl (66) and Kevin Boothe (77) go at each other in practice back in training camp.By Mike Garafolo - Star Ledger 11/28/11

NY Giants say they must beat Saints as they try to avoid another late-season collapse

Eli Manning, David Diehl and rest of Giants say they need victory Monday night over Saints to avoid another collapse. Photo by AP
Charles Krupa/AP

David Diel (l.) embraces Eli Manning and steep challenge against Saints in New Orleans.
By Ebenezer Samuel - NY Dailynews 11/28/11

NY Giants are talking tough but true test will come against New Orleans Saints on Monday night

New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle (26) talks to the media before practice at Timex Field.
Theodorakis, Andrew/Theodorakis, Andrew
 Antrel Rolle gives passionate pep talk to his teammates, but even he says he's not sure how Giants will respond.
By Ralph Vacchiano - NY Dailynews 11/28/11

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The Coughlin Corner,’s exclusive weekly interview with head coach Tom Coughlin.

By Michael Eisen - 11/28/11

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Al Bello/Getty Images
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Chris Greythen/Getty Images
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By Paul Schwartz - NY Post 11/28/11

Season-saving win would be playoff-making statement

STONE col’ KILLER: Former Hofstra star Marques Colston is coming off his best game of the season with eight catches for 113 yards against the Falcons.
By Mike Vaccaro - NY Post 11/28/11

Pro Football Talk