Saints vs. Giants: Game Is Must-Win for New York to Retain Its Hold on NFC East

Chris Hummer@chris_hummerAnalyst IDecember 8, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 03:  Quarterback Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants runs five-yards for a first down in the third quarter against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on December 3, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Robert Griffin III looked like a Hall of Famer as he led the Washington Redskins down the field in victory against the New York Giants. And with that win, the Giants' hold on the NFC East started to rescind.

Griffin and the Redskins are coming. Five years down the line they'll be a force in the NFL. But even now, they're a threat to New York in the division.

This makes the Giants’ contest against the New Orleans Saints this Sunday all the more important. With a loss and a Redskins win, Washington would jump into a tie for first in the division, with a pillow-soft schedule remaining. Their final three games come against teams with a combined 11-22 overall record.

The Giants, on the other hand, face a much more difficult path to a second straight division championship. They have games remaining against the Ravens and Falcons, and finish off the year against what is likely a motivated Philadelphia team, looking to send Andy Reid out with a victory in his (probable) final game.

None of those games are easy wins, which makes it all the more imperative for the Giants to knock off a Saints team with a porous defense.

New Orleans is last in the NFL in yards allowed per game and 28th in scoring defense. The unit has its moments, but really, the only reason the team is relevant is Drew Brees and the Saints' explosive offense.

But boy is that offense deadly.

The Saints are fifth in the NFL in points per game, and there aren't many quarterbacks better at commanding the huddle and leading their team than Brees. His talents are a big reason this team has stayed afloat in the absence of Sean Payton, who was suspended for the season stemming from the offseason bounty scandal. 

The Giants should be able to slow them down, though. Their pass rush is deadly, and will wear down the Saints offensive line. This will allow the Giants to put pressure in Brees' face late in the game, the only real way to slow down the Saints offense.

The Giants aren’t slouches offensively either. Actually, the two teams average the same number of points per game, 26.8. So, New York should be able to keep up with any offensive outburst from New Orleans.

It's a game that sets up for the Giants to earn a win.

The contest is at home, and New York should be hungry after a tough loss the week prior.

But NFL games are hard to predict. It's why the Rams can defeat the 49ers and the Browns could upset the Steelers.

The Giants better ensure they don't become one of those teams.

RG3 is already coming; the Giants certainly don't want to speed up the process.