As many of you who have followed Full Press Coverage for a while know, I am very new to this website. The content for the Saints page is evolving right now while I figure out what you all want to read here. So taking some of the feedback that I have received from you all, I’m changing up this a little bit this week.
The New York Giants are visiting our Saints this week, a battle that should be fierce. The Giants are 1-2, coming off their first win of the season on the road against the Houston Texans, knocking them down to 0-3. A couple fun facts before we start this film study:
- The Saints are 3-2 the last five times these teams have matched up, outscoring the Giants 189-168.
- The home team has won eight of the last ten match-ups between these two teams, including the last five.
- The team with the better record has won four of the last five games between the two teams.
- The Giants lead the all-time series 16-13.
- The Giants have scored 55 points all season long, 27th in the league. The Saints have allowed 103, dead last in the league.
Now, let’s look at some game film.
The Giants Passing Offense
This is the biggest challenge that the Saints will have to face all game. As everyone knows, the Saints secondary has been hot garbage so far this season. On the opposite side of Marcus Lattimore, the Saints are searching for the guy who can help hold down the fort, and both PJ Williams and Ken Crawley have struggled mightily to do so.
The Giants may have a 37 year old quarterback in Eli Manning, but last week against the Texans, he looked really sharp. The Giants opened up their scheme a little bit and got weapons open with play-calls instead of natural talent. Let’s go over their arsenal before we begin.
The Giants receivers
13 WR Odell Beckham Jr- Odell has hands made of glue, and can catch almost anything in his wingspan radius. He’s physical going down the field, likes to take chances and plays aggressive to the football. Odell is a top five receiver in the NFL. He’s snagged 24 balls through three games for 271 yards. He’s looking for his first score of the season.
87 WR Sterling Shepard– Shepard is the slot guy. A speedster from Oklahoma, Shepard likes to use his speed and quickness to create openings on his routes, and thrives in space. Has 14 catches for 152 yards this season and a score late against Houston last week.
12 WR Cody Latimer– The third receiver in this scheme, Latimer has seen limited playing time so far this season. His workload should increase against the Saints with the injury to tight end Evan Engram and the Giants trying to keep the Saints in a nickel look all game. Fast and physical. Has just 3 catches so far this season for 56 yards, and has seen time on kick-offs as well.
85 TE Rhett Ellison– Ellison is now the starting guy with Evan Engram presumed to be out. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem as the Giants have started both tight ends in all three games. Ellison is more of a blocker then a receiver, but burned the Texans a couple of times last week with his sneaky speed and fullback type bruising style. Has caught all 6 targets this season for 60 yards.
26 RB Saquan Barkley- The rookie out of Penn State, second overall pick in the NFL Draft, Barkley has been utilized as a receiver in this offense. Whether Manning has used him as a check down option or as a priority receiver, Barkley has stepped up, catching 21 passes for 137 yards this season, including a franchise record 14 catches against the Cowboys week two.
The Giants struggled heavily the first two games, playing against pretty tough pass defenses the first couple of games. The Giants knew that they were going to continue to struggle against the Texans, who have a pretty good pass defense themselves, and a fierce pass rush. So they started doing things to get players open quick.
The Bootleg Action
Look at this play really quick. The Giants line up in a power single back formation, two tight ends to the right of the formation. They’re on the right hash, so it appears as if they are going to run right. The safety, Tyrann Mathieu, recognizes this and tries to cheat up to defend the weak side and stop Barkley from bouncing it outside to the left.
Only, this isn’t a run play. It’s a play-action bootleg. Manning fakes the hand-off to Barkley and rolls right. Sterling Shepard comes all the way across the formation on a deep drag route. Manning knows that he has cover three from the Texans defense, and Tyrann Mathieu is out of place. Shepard has blown past him and no defender is guarding the middle of the field.
Manning puts the ball in between the zones, giving Shepard a chance after the catch. The corner realized what was going on and did a good job making the tackle, but the play action did it’s job. Shepard is open and Manning hits him in stride for the first down.
The Giants like to keep the looks coming. They send Barkley out wide to the left (Bottom of the screen, highlighted), and the Texans put a linebacker on him. Now, the Giants know that they have man coverage. Because that linebacker has gone wide to cover Barkley, the Giants have opened up the middle of the field and they attack it.
This was Cody Latimer’s catch of the day. He takes the short route, attacking directly that place where the linebacker would have normally lined up. Sterling Shepard goes a level above him, attacking that same zone but deeper. The Texans can’t defend this because the spread concept moved the players that could stop this play away from the ball.
Manning hits Latimer in space, and that’s all there is to it. The problem for the Saints with this is that their pass defense is already very weak. It’s actually 30th in the league. The Saints are going to have to play smart, play well and handle being spread out better then they have so far. That’s going to be hard to do.
The Giants Biggest Weakness
The Giants defense looked very strong the first couple of weeks in the season. Last week, Houston exposed a weakness in the Giants secondary that we all know Drew Brees will exploit terribly. The Giants are weak in the seams when they are in man to man coverage.
The Texans are going to run a verticals concept here. The idea of verticals is much like the previous play we broke down with the Giants offense. It forces the defense to spread out and gives the quarterback time to find his receiver. The only difference here is that the play attacks the seams, or the holes, of the defense.
The Giants corners struggle on the intermediate to deep routes while playing man. Don’t believe me? Here’s another example.
The Texans go three wide, and the Giants are in man coverage, at least so it appears. Will Fuller attacks the seam on a go, Hopkins on the right (top of the screen) runs a post. What’s going to happen is that cornerback sitting there covering Fuller isn’t a cornerback. He’s the free safety, Curtis Riley, and he takes off running to cover another part of the field, thinking Landon Collins had him.
Collins comes up to undercut Hopkins, and Fuller is suddenly by himself. The Giants secondary makes a huge error here and Deshaun Watson makes them pay for it.
What to expect on Sunday
Both secondaries are vulnerable. Both quarterbacks have a ton of weapons to attack each secondary with, so it will probably end up being another shoot out. Tomorrow, the full preview will be released here to get you completely ready for the game. In the meantime, get your shopping done and get ready to party! It’s going to be a great game.