Denver Broncos vs. New York Giants: Preview and Prediction
OK, OK, we get it, they're brothers. They share parents and once shared toys and still share DNA and a surname. The novelty has worn off on the Peyton vs. Eli storyline, especially if you're Peyton or Eli. And really, while it'll be somewhat interesting to see if the big brother can go three-for-three in head-to-head matchups with the younger one, this is still a lot more than just Peyton Manning vs. Eli Manning.
It's the New York Giants and the Denver Broncos, and there's a lot on the line, especially for New York. Yes, a lot on the line in mid-September. Behind the eight ball already with a backfield controversy and an 0-1 record, some are already asking if this is a must-win game for the G-Men.
I'm not buying that quite yet, because this is an inter-conference game. Those are the most acceptable losses on a team's schedule. Also, the Giants have resolve and plenty of experience battling back. They started 0-2 in 2007 and went on to win the Super Bowl.
Still, they've been at least 1-1 to kick off every year since and could really use a win against a top-quality opponent in their home opener. Here are some final thoughts on the late-Sunday afternoon matchup, along with a prediction.
What New York must do to win, offensive edition
Set the tempo. Score first at home and get the crowd behind you. With Von Miller and Champ Bailey sidelined, you have to aggressively attack this D from the get-go.
What New York must do to win, defensive edition
Slow down Peyton, which is of course is a trillion times easier said than done. Julius Thomas had a big first week, and the Giants couldn't do much to stop Jason Witten last week. The linebacking corps is thin, and the secondary is a bit of a mess. That pass rush has to step it up if the Giants are going to hang around.
Five most important non-quarterbacks
Jason Pierre-Paul: You could see him start to pick it up as the opener progressed. He has to take another big step forward and cause havoc to save that secondary against Manning Sunday.
Justin Tuck: JPP will need support. Tuck had a decent Week 1 performance. He has to keep building on that.
Corey Webster: This is emphasized if Prince Amukamara doesn't play. Either way, the secondary has to step it up in coverage against Manning.
David Wilson: He can use what happened last week as fuel and be a difference-maker, just like he was last December. If he doesn't, the Giants will have a hard time establishing any sort of balance on offense. No other completely reliable options exist right now.
Injury analysis, Giants edition
While they'll be even thinner than before at linebacker with Dan Connor out, per Michael Eisen of NewYorkGiants.com, at least the Giants should get center David Baas back. And according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN, they might even have Prince Amukamara, who suffered a concussion in Week 1.
It would have been a hell of a task trying to slow down that Denver offense without Prince. And the return of Baas could help in big ways as they go up against a front seven that is without some bite.
Injury analysis, Broncos edition
Who will win Sunday?
The front seven is without bite for obvious reasons. Elvis Dumervil is gone and Von Miller is still suspended. Without their best two pass-rushers from last year, the Broncos still eventually managed to get into a rhythm up front in the opener.
On the actual injury front for Denver, Champ Bailey has been out nearly a month and is a big question mark. That's huge for the New York passing game, because one of those three stud New York receivers could have a chance to do some big things against Tony Carter in coverage.
B/R NFC East blog prediction: Broncos 35, Giants 21
I'm having a tough time doing this, because the Giants outscored their opponents by an average of eight points per home game while posting a home record of 6-2 last season. But the Broncos were also 6-2 on the road, are better rested and are riding a wave.
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