Pressure Drew Brees
The Saints’ offensive line is allowing one sack per game, which is one of the reason Drew Brees has a 108.4 quarterback rating. The Giants’ defense is built around pressuring the quarterback, averaging about three sacks per game.
If the Saints line gives Brees time, he can pick apart any secondary. But if the Giants can give him constant pressure, he can be thrown off his game. With the injuries the Giants have suffered in their secondary, the best way to make sure Brees doesn’t beat you is with constant pressure.
Cover Jeremy Shockey
Former Giant Jeremy Shockey is still upset that the Giants asked him to watch the Super Bowl from a luxury box and not on the sideline. He feels that he was not treated right during his time in New York, and he wants to show the Giants they made the wrong choice, even though he forced them to trade him.
The Giants are without safety Kenny Phillips and their best coverage linebacker (Michael Boley) is out for at least three more games leaving a hole in the middle of the field. Without Boley, the Giants gave up a handful of “big” plays to Raiders tight end Zach Miller, who caught four passes for 69 yards. Jeremy Shockey is more explosive and athletic than Miller, and the Giants’ defensive backfield will have their hands full with Hofstra Alum Marques Colston and the Saints’ receiving core.
The Giants’ ability to find a way to cover Shockey, whether it be with a linebacker like Chase Blackburn or a defensive back, could determine how well the Saints move the ball, especially in the red zone.
The Saints have a league-high ten interceptions, including five by Darren Sharper (who has returned two for touchdowns). Darren Sharper has picked off four Eli Manning passes in his career, returning two for touchdowns. For whatever reason, Sharper has Manning’s number.
The Saints defense has been opportunistic, and they are one of the top blitzing teams in the league. For these reasons, it is imperative that Eli Manning does not make mistakes.
Balance Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw
Ahmad Bradshaw has been the Giants’ most productive running back this season, with 375 yards, two touchdowns and a 6.5 yards per carry. But by no means should the Giants abandon their workhorse Brandon Jacobs.
Jacobs has come under fire this season for his inability to hit the holes and blow up opposing defenders. But unless he is hiding an injury, I see no reason why he cannot be the same back he was last season.
The Giants need to keep giving Jacobs a chance to establish himself this season. But at the same time, they need to keep the hot hand on the field. Their ability to rotate between Jacobs and Bradshaw, playing the right guy at the right time, will be key.
Convert In Red Zone
The Giants cannot keep up with the Saints by kicking field goals. The red zone offense has been much improved over the past three weeks, but that has a lot to do with the competition. The Saints defense is better than the Raiders, Chiefs or Bucs, but they can be beaten.
If the Giants can maintain their momentum in the red zone, they should win the game. They’ve done a great job of spreading the ball around between Steve Smith, Mario Manningham, Hakeem Nicks, Jacobs and Bradshaw in the red zone.
But if they go back to the way they were playing in the first two weeks and settle for field goals on their trips to the red zone, they’ll have very little chance of keeping up with the Saints’ majestic offensive attack.