With a showdown against the undefeated Chicago Bears looming, the New York Giants sit in third place in the NFC East at 1-2 in need of a win tonight.
In order to keep pace with their division rivals, Tom Coughlin's group needs to perform up to par coming off two blowout losses to the Colts and Titans in the past two weeks. The Giants seemed to have lost the swagger that saw them win the Super Bowl and go 14-2 in consecutive seasons from '07-'08.
Since Week 16 of last year, the Giants have gone 1-4 with all four losses coming by an average of 28 points game. The G-Men have not beaten a solid NFL team since their Week 13 victory against a Dallas team that lost in the divisional round of the 2009 Playoffs.
Despite Washington's victory against Philadelphia this afternoon, which saw Michael Vick leave the game because of a rib injury, all four NFC East teams face question marks heading forward this year. Tonight can be a great starting point for the Giants to lay claim atop the NFC East, especially with an explosive Houston team, who has scored over thirty points in each of its three wins, lying ahead next week.
For New York to win tonight, the battle starts and end at the line of scrimmage. With Julius Peppers playing at an elite level once again, it seemed as if he was involved in every defensive play Sunday Night against Green Bay, the Giants offensive line will need to recover from a forgetful performance last weekend.
Peppers will need to be accounted for on every play as he has been moving around the defensive line, forcing mismatches up front.
Kareem Mckenzie will be a major question mark at right tackle tonight, as he needs to keep his cool this week after racking up two personal foul penalties last Sunday, before being benched by Head Coach Tom Coughlin.
On offense, the Giants need to dictate the tempo of the game, using a variety of formations to open up lanes for Ahmad Bradshaw to run the ball effectively. If the G-Men can establish the running game and force Chicago to bring an extra defender in the box, they would be able to open up the passing game with play-action passes and deep throws.
The Giants need to win the turnover battle against the Bears, something that they have only done once this season, as they currently have a minus-5 turnover differential on the season. Bradshaw's fumble at the goal line last week is just one example of the Giants taking points off the board because of carelessness with the ball.
New York needs to stop the Bears offense early in the game, and set the tone on both sides of the ball. If the Giants could put together extended drives, they can wear down the Chicago defense with their power running attack and possession-oriented style.