I, like you, am excited to see the Giants and Saints square off against each other this Sunday. I would consider this the first actual "measuring stick" game the Giants have to play this year. The game against Dallas in Week 2 was too early on in the season for us to know enough about either team. But I'd like to bring to light some of the stats for us to get a glimpse of the Giants team and the Saints team thus far.
The opponent winning percentage against the Giants this year is an abysmal .240; in other words, the opponents haven't won 25% of the games they played, coming out to being about 1-4. Compare that with New Orleans strength of schedule thus far, and you will find that theirs hasn't been that much more difficult: .420. Their competition still has a winning percentage under .500, coming out to about 2-3.
On defense, the Giants have a slight advantage. Giants are 2nd in the league in average points against with 14.2 and 1st in the league in yardage allowed with only 210.6 average yards per game. Granted, going against some of the worst offenses in the league (TB: 26, KC: 30, OAK: 32) in consecutive weeks does help their cause. New Orleans has competed against some mediocre competition as well (DET: 21, BUF: 25, NYJ: 24), and put up some nice numbers. They are 7th in the league in average points allowed with 16.5 and 6th in the league in average yards allowed with 295.3 yards allowed.
Both teams have gone against one elite offense this year with the Giants facing #1 ranked Dallas and the Saints going up against a #7 ranked Eagles team. It is important to note, however, that the Eagles were minus the starting QB, Donovan McNabb, and Kevin Kolb put up almost 400 yards against them. He did get intercepted 3 times but Eli Manning won't be making mistakes like Kolb, forcing a ball into coverage on multiple occasions, the way he is playing this year. On defense, the edge goes to the Giants.
On offense, the Giants have earned an average of 30.2 points per game, good enough for 4th in the league. Drew Brees and the Saints, truly an elite NFL offense, average an astounding 36 points per game. The impressive part of this for the Big Easy is that they scored their highest point total of the season against the Eagles' 3rd ranked defense. This tells us that they can do whatever they need to in order to win. They can win games both on the ground (2nd) and through the air (12th), just like the Giants (4th and 10th, respectively). The Giants average just a bit more yards per game (almost a moot point, based on what was already stated) with 417.3 (2nd), versus the Saints 414.3 (3rd).
This could be the most highly regarded Giants game this season, depending on how the Broncos fair in the coming weeks. I am looking forward to this match up because this will be a REAL battle; a true test of class in the NFC. The story lines have been nice, too, talking about how this is a sort of homecoming for Eli. Of course, we cannot forget Jeremy Shockey wanting to stick it to the organization who traded him after their Super Bowl win without him, most likely considering it an addition by subtraction roster move.
Here's to an instant classic...or the Giants beating the garbage out of them for 60 minutes. That would be nice, too.