MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, NJ)
Television: CBS (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson), Sunday, Sept. 30: 4:25 PM EDT
This is the 30th meeting between the Saints and Giants going back to 1967. The Giants lead the all-time series 16-13, including a 16-13 victory on Sept. 18, 2016 at MetLife Stadium.
Giants: Defeated Houston Texans 27-22
SAINTS INJURY REPORT
OUT: Linebacker Manti Te’o (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: Defensive end Marcus Davenport (hip)
GIANTS INJURY REPORT
WHAT IS ON THE LINE
SAINTS: The Saints are looking to build momentum after last week’s come-from-behind victory in overtime against Atlanta. New Orleans is a team still trying to figure it out. They should have lost in Week 2 to the Cleveland Browns and could have easily blown last week’s game. New Orleans has historically struggled away from the friendly confines of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. They lost their last two games against the Giants in the Meadowlands coming into Week 4.
GIANTS: The Giants are also trying to build momentum after their first win of the season against Houston. The Giants offense operated like a well-oiled machine in the first half. They came through to seal the victory after being stalled for most of the second half and the defense made plays when they had to. Big Blue seeks consecutive victories for the first time since Weeks 14 and 15 of the 2016 season.
Thomas is the NFL’s leading receiver with 38 receptions for 398 yards and three touchdowns through three games. Jenkins had an eye-popping interception of Blake Bortles in the Giants’ Week 1 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Except for getting burned on a 68-yard touchdown by Tavon Austin in the Week 2 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, Jenkins has been the best player in the Giants’ secondary this season.
New Orleans likes to stretch the field with the deep ball. If Jackrabbit can shut down or keep Thomas from being a major contributor, it will help the Giants get a victory.
HOW THE SAINTS WILL WIN THE GAME
The Saints typically go as Drew Brees goes. The NFL’s all-time leader in completions will have to take advantage of a Giants secondary that lacks depth. Alvin Kamara had 16 carries for 66 yards and 15 receptions for 124 yards against Atlanta and will need to do the same for a Saints victory.
If the game turns into a shootout, it will benefit the Saints. Brees had one of the best games of his career when he went 39-of-50 for 505 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions in a 52-49 win at the Superdome in Week 8 of 2015. The Saints won that game because there wasn’t enough time for the Giants to mount a comeback.
The Saints’ front seven will need to keep Saquon Barkley under wraps. Barkley has 353 all purpose yards and two touchdowns in three games. He has shown an ability to make something out of nothing with his elusiveness and power. The Saints will need to take him out of the game and make the Giants offense one-dimensional. So far, the Saints defense have allowed just 84.3 yards rushing per game.
HOW THE GIANTS WILL WIN THE GAME
The offense will have to play like they did in the first half against Houston for four quarters. Eli Manning is coming off one of the best games of his career (25-of-29 for 297 yards and two touchdowns). He will have to make throws on the run and getting rid of the ball quickly to his playmakers (Barkley, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard). The loss of Evan Engram will sting (especially in the red zone) because Rhett Ellison is known more for his blocking than catching. At the same time, Ellison did have a touchdown last week.
Last week, Chad Wheeler started in place of Ereck Flowers. His assignment was containing the dominant J.J. Watt. Wheeler held his own but Watt still had three sacks of Manning. This week he faces Cameron Jordan. Jordan enters the game with four sacks and 13 tackles. For the Giants offense to have success, Jordan needs to be held in check.
The Giants pass rush will need to punish Brees without their best pass rusher (Vernon). They sacked Deshaun Watson three times and hit him 11 times last week and need a similar performance against Brees.
In their last game against the Saints, the Giants defense kept the game close but it was Jenkins who scored the game’s only touchdown when he blocked a field goal and returned 65 yards. If the Giants are able to keep the game from turning into a shootout, a key play on special teams may decide the outcome. Barkley or Beckham could be on kick/punt return duty if Coley isn’t able to go.
WHO WILL WIN THE GAME?
Two NFC quarterbacks who won Super Bowls don’t usually face each other but it will happen Sunday at the Meadowlands. Aside from Thomas vs. Jenkins, the most intriguing matchup will be Brees vs. Manning.
Playing the Saints is always more than just a game to Manning. His father, Archie, was drafted second overall by New Orleans in 1971 and played 10 seasons for them. Manning was born and raised in the Crescent City and is considered part of football royalty there.
In seven games against his father’s old team, Manning is 3-4. Even if he won’t say it or show it visibly, this is a game that will have him fired up.
The Giants’ defense should be able to keep the game close. New Orleans hasn’t done well against the Giants on the road, losing 12 of 16 lifetime games. At the conclusion of Sunday’s action, it will be 13 of 17 lifetime losses on the road against the New York Football Giants.
– Curtis Rawls is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the NFL, the New York Giants, and the NBA. Please like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Twitter. Curtis can be followed on Twitter @CuRawls203.