The New York Giants were thoroughly beaten in New Orleans to the tune of 48-27. This game featured seven different Saints reaching the end zone, several big plays of more than 25 yards and nearly 500 yards of offense. To sum it up, the Giants defense was embarrassed.
Is this game a warning sign of future problems or is this an aberration? Let's take a closer look.
Giants Defensive Line
To beat the Giants is to control their front four. The Giants new that getting to Drew Brees would be tough. The Giants needed huge games from the tackle spots as the Saints game plan was to focus their efforts on the defensive ends.
Brees is a "short" quarterback and the Giants should have been able to tip or bat down more balls than they did. This is a game where Chris Canty at the tackle spot would have been valuable.
The Giants fared better against the run with a couple of nice stops, including a key stuff on a goalline fourth and one with the game still in doubt at the end of the first half.
Worry Index: 3
The Giants linebackers bit hard on play-action all afternoon. This is where the game was lost. The depth of the linebackers when in zone was really terrible. When third and 17 becomes an easy completion, you know that the positioning of your defense is an issue.
For me, the problems are the overall lack of team speed at the position. Pierce and Clark were mismatched against former Jeremy Shockey and over the middle on intermediate crosses by Lance Moore. Chase Blackburn, the speedster of the group, looked physically overmatched on more than a couple of plays.
The return of Michael Boley in a couple of weeks will help, but this is an area that will continue to be a concern. Could Clint Stintum start earning some playing time at the strong side position? The more I watch the Giants, the more I think that this will be Antonio Pierce's final season.
Worry Index: 8
I would not want to be Safety CC Brown on the ride home tonight. Of all the Giants players, he was most exposed in the game against the Saints. Three of the five touchdowns in the air were his responsibility. In particular, the second quarter TD pass to Robert Meachem where Brown had superior positioning was awful.
Corey Webster's missed interception in the early moments of the first quarter was perhaps the defining play of the game. Would the outcome of the game been much different with an early pick?
With no pressure on Brees, the secondary was going to be in trouble. What should concern the Giants is that the secondary was physically outmatched for much of the game. The unit also appeared out of sync for much of the game with a lot of communication breakdowns. Two touchdowns were to wide open players (Brown's fault from my take).
The return of a healthy Aaron Ross improves the unit's depth and allows Thomas to move into that third cornerback slot. The return of a pass rush would do more.
Worry Index: 10 (Brown), 5 (rest of unit)
I do not expect another day like today. The Giants will make the necessary adjustments and come out fired up to play the Cardinals at home. The front four will make their presence known and that pressure will mask the deficiencies in the rest of the unit.