Another week, another win?
Maybe and maybe not. But if the Detroit Lions win in New York against the Giants I don't imagine the reaction will be nearly so casual.
Still, it's good to get that OWEN tag off the team again this year. On a related note, those trolls calling for the Lions to go 0-16 again this year are now 38-point favorites to shut their mouths.
So what are the chances the Lions can make it 2-for-2 heading into the bye week?
Why not ask a Giants fan? Particularly a very confident one like Benjamin C. Klein?
Dean Holden: The Giants seem to be rolling lately with decisive wins over the Bears and Texans. What are the biggest contributors to their resurgence after some were (prematurely) calling them dead a few weeks ago?
Benjamin C. Klein: Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks on offense, and on defense the entire defensive line, middle linebacker Jonathan Goff and safety Antrel Rolle.
Also I think this team is just starting to have fun. Considering that a lot of players are coming back from injuries or are free agent additions who are adjusting to new coaching, I think having a good time really accelerates the process of building team chemistry.
DH: Both QB Matthew Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson are battling injuries coming into this game. How does the Giants’ defensive game plan differ if those two are unable to go?
BK: Not as much of an adjustment as a lot of people think. I believe that is why the Giants probably believe that they can dominate the Lions’ offensive line with their defensive line straight up.
Given those conditions I expect the Giants defense to almost be recklessly aggressive with their blitz schemes against the Lions. And that is regardless of whom is behind center or if Johnson is on the edge.
DH: How safe is Tom Coughlin’s job right now? Before the Bears and Texans games, it seemed like his seat was getting hot. Will the outcome of this game affect his future in New York, or is he in for the long haul regardless?
BK: Tom Coughlin’s job status is tenuous at best. He and everyone else understand that this season is win or go home for him, playoffs or fired.
But while a lot of coaches would panic and lose their team in a situation like the one Coughlin is currently in, the last time he faced similar circumstances in 2007 the Giants went and won the Super Bowl.
DH: QB Shaun Hill has put up increasingly strong numbers in every game he’s played with the Lions this year, even pulling votes for last week’s FedEx Air Player of the Week. What does he need to watch out for against the Giants? Are there any areas he can pick on?
BK: The Giants’ defense has played exceptionally well the past two weeks and the Lions offense may be running into the proverbial band saw. However Scott Linehan is an exceptional offensive coordinator.
What he and QB Shaun Hill should do is keep a very close eye on the personal groupings the Giants use. When they see three defensive backs with cornerback Aaron Ross playing linebacker, they need to run the ball. Basically they need to confuse the Giants into using the wrong personnel groupings.
Also this is a zone defense with a pass rushing defensive line, so in the passing game they need to go for small piece gains not big chunk bombs. Watch the five to seven step drops.
Also they should utilize Jahvid Best a lot in the passing game.
DH: We haven’t heard Eli Manning’s name too much ever since the Week 2 “Manning Bowl.” Is he playing up to expectations in New York? Does he have the tools he needs to be successful right now?
BK: While a lot of detractors currently point to Eli’s high number of interceptions—eight— half of them were perfect throws bobbled by wide receivers or running backs and then intercepted. Eli is currently playing lights out football. However he is still capable of short spurts of really dumb play. During these moments he can turn the ball over like no other.
However when Eli is on, he can unconsciously pick apart a defense. And with budding superstar Hakeem Nicks on the edge Manning is just getting better.
The main things teams need to do to disrupt him is to apply consistent pressure, gut pressure especially disturbs him.
You can find my answers to Benjamin's five questions here.