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Can anyone stop wide receiver Calvin Johnson?
Capping off what is likely to be the Giants' toughest three-game stretch of the year, New York will travel to Detroit, where it will face Matthew Stafford's Lions. Detroit currently sports a 5-3 record after its heart-stopping victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the final seconds of last week's tilt.
The Lions are on the verge of separating themselves from the NFC's middle-of-the-pack squads. Under head coach Jim Schwartz, the Lions have been up and down, displaying promise one week only to follow it up with disappointment the next. After qualifying for the postseason with a 10-6 record in 2011, the Lions tanked in 2012, winning just four games.
With the Lions, however, there is always one player whom opponents must be wary of: wide receiver Calvin Johnson. He set the single-season receiving yardage record last year with 1,964 yards. You can see him on countless highlight reels snatching improbable passes out of the air despite double and triple coverage.
Who in the league—let alone on the Giants roster—can match up with the physically imposing wideout?
New York will attempt to answer that question in December, when the Giants enter Ford Field in search of a Week 16 win. The game plan must revolve around slowing down Johnson. That should be a challenging change of pace for the Giants defense, which has effectively pinned down opposing offenses by stifling elite running backs, not receivers.
Unlike the relationship that New York has with the Chargers and Seahawks, the Giants' rivalry with the Lions is rich and storied. The two teams have met 41 times, including seven instances from 1930-1933 when the Lions still went by the Portsmouth Spartans. Detroit leads the all-time series, 19-21-1, which includes the Lions' 26-7 victory over the Giants in the 1935 NFL Championship Game.
Since 1976, however, New York has dropped just four contests against Detroit, tallying 10 wins in the process. The last meeting between them was in 2010, when the Giants pulled out a 28-10 victory over the visiting Lions.
If New York can survive back-to-back-to-back games versus San Diego, Seattle and Detroit late in the season—as well as its three remaining divisional contests and a tough Week 11 matchup with the Packers—the Giants will be back in business.
Let's call it wishful thinking.