The New York Giants' 5 Keys to Victory Over the Detroit Lions
The New York Giants face a challenge this weekend in that they have a showdown on Monday Night Football in Dallas next weekend looming, and it will be hard to avoid looking ahead and sleeping on the Detroit Lions.
Normally, well-coached and disciplined teams do not falter and take care of business, so the Giants have the opportunity to prove that the first three weeks of the season were a farce and that the past two weeks showed their true identity.
This slideshow will feature five keys to victory that the Giants will use to take care of the Detroit Lions and ensure that they are 4-2 heading into the big divisional game with Dallas.
1. Avoid Making This a Trap Game
The New York Jets had a perfect example of this when they faced Buffalo. Everybody worried that the Jets had the same mentality as last season and could be upset by the Bills again.
They took care of business and beat the Bills 38-14 behind a dominant rushing performance by both LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene.
The Giants cannot look ahead to Dallas because the Lions are coming off their first win, where they absolutely dominated the St. Louis Rams 44-6, so they could ride that momentum and come ready to play.
The game is in New York, so the Giants have the luxury of the fans taking their minds off next week as well as getting in the head of replacement QB Shaun Hill, who has done a great job filling in for Matthew Stafford.
2. Run Run Run
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The best friend to the New York Giants this weekend will be running the football. They still haven't really established the run in any game besides against the Chicago Bears.
They were able to get by against the Texans this weekend because they had the worst pass defense in the NFL, and to be honest they probably could again this weekend with the Lions' 27th-rated pass defense, but it won't be as easy for Eli Manning after playing in a closed roof stadium this past weekend.
The running game will have to be in full force if they want to put the game away early. It will be a good test for the Giants, and by that I mean if they don't dominate, it will be a failure. The Lions have the 26th-ranked run defense.
3. Let the Thoroughbred Out of the Stable: Feed Hakeem Nicks the Ball
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There's an old saying that when you have a thoroughbred, you can't keep him locked up in the stables. Well, the same holds true for your star athlete on a football team: You've got to get him the ball.
You'll find that when a team's star wide receiver gets limited to one or two catches, the offense tends to struggle.
Hakeem Nicks has become one of the premier receivers in the league in just his second season, and when the Giants get him involved, they reap the rewards.
4. Win the Turnover Battle
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I know what you're thinking—isn't this true for every game? Yes it is, but it is especially true for the Giants because not only do they need to win the turnover battle, but they also need to cut down on the number of turnovers.
They have the second most turnovers in the NFL, and their minus-four turnover ratio is tied for third to last in the league. It is amazing that they are 3-2, but in the three wins they won or tied the turnover ratio, and in the two losses they lost the turnover ratio and only forced one turnover combined.
5. Keep Improving on Special Teams
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Besides Matt Dodge, who again had a few questionable punts (I attended the game Sunday; those punts look even worse in person), the special teams were much improved against the Texans.
Kickoff coverage was great for the first time this season; Jason Pierre-Paul and Dave Tollefson were causing problems for the Texans' blockers the entire game.
Whether it was Tom Coughlin or special teams coach Tom Quinn, someone made the call to have backup QB Sage Rosenfels take over the holding duties on field goals. Lawrence Tynes obviously appreciated the move, making two field goals from 45 and 42 yards, as well as making a third from inside 40 yards, but the Texans jumped offsides and gave the Giants a first down.
One thing I will say is that Tynes should have gotten more kickoffs into the end zone in a closed stadium. With no wind he should average around three to four yards deep in the end zone.
Special teams are such a huge part of the game that most people don't talk about, and the kickoff coverage will have to be on their toes; Lions KR Stefan Logan had a 105-yard kick return for a touchdown against the Rams.