Giants vs. Saints: What We Learned from New Orleans' Win over New York on MNF
For the second week in a row, the Giants showed up with half a team, and they got smashed by the New Orleans Saints 49-24. The defensive secondary was picked apart by Drew Brees. Brees threw for four touchdowns and ran for one in this one-sided affair.
The offense, which missed several chances to put up points in the first half, tried to keep the Giants in the game when they scored on their first drive to open the second half. By then, it was too little too late and pretty much out of Eli Manning's hands.
The loss, their third straight, dropped the Giants to 6-5. Now out of first place in the division and out of the playoffs if the season ended tonight, the Giants will need to regroup against the undefeated, defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
Here is what I learned from the game.
Catch the Football
The Giants have a good set of wide receivers. The one problem is they can't catch the ball. Against the Saints, I counted at least six dropped passes from Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Jake Ballard and company.
That needs to stop. With a struggling running game, the receivers need to make the simple play to avoid second and third-and-longs.
Nicks also needs to do a better job on the sideline as well. Stepping out on a third-and-long cost the Giants a first down early in the third quarter. Knowing where you are on the field is something Mario Manningham and Nicks should have learned already.
One Player Cares on Defense
Jason Pierre-Paul is an All-Pro in the making. Already with 10.5 sacks on the season, JPP has a motor that doesn't stop. The play on the fake field goal should have been something to inspire this team, but unfortunately didn't do anything of the sort.
Justin Tuck showed flashes of being his old self, but with him not at 100 percent, it makes the Giants pass rush a non-factor. But, at least he is out there.
Where is Antrel Rolle? Where is anything from Osi Umenyiora? This team needs a spark on defense.
SOMEONE HAS GOT TO STEP UP AND MAKE A PLAY!
Perry Fewell's defense was shredded. The game plan was poor, and no adjustments were made to stop the bleeding.
Yes, injuries are hurting this team, but the Saints gained over 500 yards in total offense, including 205 on the ground. That can't happen. That shouldn't happen with a team that has four former Pro Bowlers on the field.
Since the Patriots win, the Giants defense has not gotten to the QB. Perry needs to find ways to get to the QB because this secondary has a hard time covering. Corey Webster had a bad game again against Marcus Colston. After getting torched by DeSean Jackson, Colston had his way with him.
Deon Grant is playing his way to the bench. He can't cover anyone, yet alone tackle someone in space.
The "U" duo of Phillips and Rolle are nowhere to be found. Rolle was supposed to be a playmaking safety, but is making no plays. Phillips has had better games than this one against the Saints.
The trio needs to be a disruptive force.
Aaron Ross should not be returning punts. He simply can't hang onto the ball without putting it on the turf once a game. Even when he does catch it, the returns don't go anywhere. Put Victor Cruz or Devin Thomas back there.
Steve Weatherford is starting to remind me of Matt Dodge. What was he thinking on that fake punt? What happened to the directional punting? Weatherford has had some good games, but as we saw in key games last year with the New York Jets, he doesn't get the job done.
Forget the Running Game, Give Eli the Ball
Simple sight adjustments at the line can lead to quick throws to Cruz or Nicks to advance the football and keep the Giants out of long yardage situations.
Eli Manning has already won four games by himself. Just give him the ball, and let him decide what play to run.
Eli is playing great football and should not be forced to hand the ball off to Jacobs or Ware when the Giants offensive line can't get the job done on the ground. You can sprinkle in some runs when the defense is playing the pass.
If and when Ahmad Bradshaw comes back, the Giants should stay the course and keep giving Eli the ball. He is playing great football and is the only reason right now that the Giants have a shot at making the playoffs. In Eli we trust.
Primer for Packers
Drew Brees threw for over 300 yards and had all day, so what does Aaron Rodgers do against the same defense?
It will be a long day on defense if the Giants front four disappears yet again for the fourth straight game. Tuck and company will need to show up against the Super Bowl champs, or they can kiss their season goodbye.
The possible return of Michael Boley on Sunday should help, but if not, the Giants will need someone besides Jason Pierre-Paul to be a force.
The Packers have an offense that is on par with, if not better than, the Saints offense. Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley will do the same damage the Saints did if Rodgers has time to throw.
This is a must-win for the Giants. No doubt about it. A win will put the Giants back on pace for a playoff spot. A loss would require the Giants to run the table against the Cowboys, Redskins and Jets. Easier said than done.