New York played a well-rounded game against Washington on Monday Night Football, but its inability to score touchdowns ultimately doomed the G-Men, as they fell to the Redskins 17-16 in Week 13.
With playoff implications on the line, here's your guide to this NFC battle between the Saints and the Giants.
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
When: Sunday, Dec. 9 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Game Rewind
Betting Line: Giants (-5) Over/Under: 53 (via Bet Online)
The early line on this game has the G-Men favored by five points at home, and with that, I'm rolling with the Saints.
Both offenses looked less than stellar last week, but the odds of Brees having back-to-back terrible games are very slim.
The Giants defense can be susceptible to big plays, and with guys like Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston, there's always an opportunity for a big play against New Orleans.
I like the Saints with the spread.
As far as the over/under, I like the under here. Despite the Saints and Giants owning high-scoring offenses, the total has gone under in four of the Saints' last six games and six of the last seven games for the Giants (h/t Bovada).
We were projected to see a barn burner in Washington on Monday Night Football in Week 13, but the Giants and Redskins combined for just 33 points, which fell well under the projected over/under.
Take the under.
What's At Stake?
For the Giants, they need a win this Sunday to remain leaders of the NFC East division. A Giants loss and a Redskins win would see a tie atop the division and put New York's hopes of winning the division to a halt.
Saints Injury Report (via USA Today):
TE David Thomas—Knee—QST
Giants Injury Report (via USA Today):
CB Jayron Hosley—Shoulder—QST
WR Domenik Hixon—Ankle—QST
LB Jacquian Williams—Knee—QST
ESPN New York also reports that Sean Locklear will be placed on the IR following an injury sustained against Washington.
Sean Locklear of New York Giants needs surgery, expected to be placed on IR dlvr.it/2Zy9Pz— ESPN New York (@ESPNNewYork) December 5, 2012
Fantasy Start 'Em, Sit 'Em and Sleeper
Start 'Em: Victor Cruz
Cruz didn't find the end zone against the Redskins last weekend but he did go over 100 yards receiving for the fourth time this season, catching five passes for 104 yards in the Giants' loss.
Facing a dismal Saints defense that has allowed 23 receiving touchdowns, Cruz appears poised for a big game now that Hakeem Nicks looks to be healthier and returning to old form.
Look no further than Cruz's monster game against the Saints last season for further evidence, as he went for nine receptions, 157 yards and two TDs against New Orleans last season.
Look for Cruz to get behind that Saints secondary and make some plays for the Giants and your fantasy squad.
Sit 'Em: Lance Moore
Lance Moore submitted a solid performance against the Falcons in Week 13, but he's too inconsistent to start on a regular basis.
The Atlanta game marked just the third time Moore has gone over the 100-yard mark and he also has eight scoreless games this season.
With weapons like Graham and Colston for Brees to use, you're better off staying away from Moore as a fantasy option this week.
Sleeper: Martellus Bennett
Bennett has very quietly had himself a solid season playing for New York.
He ranks second on the Giants in touchdowns (four) and third in terms of receptions (44) and receiving yards (537).
He's not on Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski's level, but Bennett has been a consistent contributor to the Giants' passing offense and has seen plenty of looks from his quarterback.
Playing against the Saints defense, you can confidently start Bennett on Sunday—just ask Tony Gonzalez owners.
What They're Saying
Clearly upset after Monday night's loss to the Redskins, Coughlin told reporters that the Giants need to win four in a row, according to ESPN New York's Ohm Youngmisuk:
"Knowing full well it's a four-game season, we have to win, literally, every one of our games. That's how I look at it."
This is around the time of the season when New York kicks it into high gear in order to make a postseason run, which is exactly what Coughlin is referring to.
Coughlin also wasn't pleased with the Giants' sloppy play against Washington, as evident by Youngmisuk's tweet:
Tom Coughlin called the increase in penalties for Giants "shocking" and "sloppy" and "careless" play on Giants' part.— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) December 4, 2012
Saints Player To Watch: Jimmy Graham
The Saints tight end has now had two back-to-back weeks of uncharacteristic play, as Graham has combined for eight receptions, 92 yards and zero touchdowns the past two weeks.
The Giants defense is surely a team he can get back on track against, as New York has allowed 19 receiving touchdowns and ranks No. 22 against the pass.
Graham lit the G-Men up last season to the tune of five receptions, 84 yards and two touchdowns and we'll see what he has in store for Big Blue in Week 14.
Giants Player To Watch: Jason Pierre-Paul
JPP is learning that it's hard to mirror a 16.5-sack season.
New York's DE has 6.5 sacks this season and has now gone three games straight without recording a sack, which isn't something the third-year defender is used to.
As arguably the most athletic and powerful defender the Giants have, Pierre-Paul will have to be active against a deadly QB like Brees on Sunday for the Giants to win the game.
Key Matchup: Drew Brees vs. Giants Defense
Following his five interceptions against the Falcons, Brees will be tested again against New York.
While the Giants are no stranger to allowing chunks of yardage through the air, they do rank second in the NFL with 18 defensive interceptions and 10th in sacks, with 30.
New York's pass defense has improved—they kept Robert Griffin III and Aaron Rodgers in check in the passing game—but they'll be put to the ultimate test on Sunday afternoon when Brees brings his high-octane passing offense into MetLife Stadium.
The key to this game for the Giants will be stopping Brees and getting their defense off the field so that Manning can go to work.
Prediction: Saints 21, Giants 24
This is the time of the year when the Giants start rolling and pick it up defensively, which is what I see happening in Week 14.
Look for the Giants to get some pressure on Brees and force some turnovers, leading to three Manning touchdown passes in a G-Men win.
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