The New York Giants and New Orleans Saints will finish off the NFL's Week 12 schedule tonight from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Let's run down a quick preview of the game with a score prediction to close it out.
Key matchups to watch
Giants linebackers vs. Darren Spoles: Signed this offseason, Sproles has been a key cog in what the Saints do offensively. Sproles has run the ball 51 times for 348 yards and two touchdowns, but he's also caught 60 balls for 448 yards and three scores.
He'll be a tough matchup out of the backfield for the Giants group of linebackers.
Saints pass rush vs. Eli Manning: Manning is in the midst of a career year statistically, but he's still susceptible to turnovers when opponents clutter the pocket. Some of his throws against the Eagles a week ago are the best example of that.
If the Saints can keep Manning guessing when he drops back to pass, they'll have a chance to turn him over.
Giants safeties vs. Drew Brees: Very few quarterbacks can manipulate the back end of coverages like Brees, and the Giants safety tandem of Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips have to be at the top of their respective games tonight. Rolle has been particularly poor at times in his career against top-level quarterbacks.
Giants ends vs. Brees: In reality, it's going to take more than just the safeties playing well for the GIants to have success against Brees. They will need their ends—Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck—to continually collapse the pocket on Brees.
The Saints quarterback will give the ball away just like Manning if the Giants ends are in his face all night.
Final score prediction
Not having Ahmad Bradshaw hurts the Giants on offense, as Brandon Jacobs really lacks the explosiveness that Bradshaw brings. Still, I don't think this game is won by the team who runs it best.
Whoever is more successful in getting after the opposing quarterback will walk away from Week 12 with a win.
In the end, I think that team is the New York Giants. Opponents have gotten to Brees at times this season, and his 11 picks show that he can sloppy with the ball when things break down.
Manning will make one or two fewer mistakes than Brees, and the Giants will beat the Saints going away, 31-27.