I didn't like last weeks matchup. The weakness of the defense didn't match up well against the offensive attack of the Texans. The special teams weren't competent enough to take away the dominant field position that Matt Schaub would use to wear down the Giants defense.
It turns out I was completely wrong. How was I supposed to know that Tom Quinn could actually do something right on special teams?
Let's be fair here: special teams improved the most this week. Matt Dodge was able to actually punt the ball down the field. Sure, he didn't get any hang time on a couple of kicks, but he was much improved this week. The coverage was good enough to keep Houston behind their own 30 most of the time, and while that's not saying a whole heck of a lot it's a huge improvement over the 40 yard line average we had the previous weeks.
I just gave Tom Quinn credit? I ... I don't understand life anymore. Well, I guess I could nit-pick the special teams play, after all they had a couple of muffed balls, the return blocking is still atrocious, and the penalties are just so insane; but, Chase Blackburn is awesome on special teams, and the overall play was so improved over the last few weeks that I just have to bite my tongue for this week.
I also have to bite my tongue on defense. Yes, there are some nit-picky things I could talk about, but when you put together two back to back performances that ranks you as the number 1 overall defense in the league, there's just not a whole heck of a lot to complain about. From Perry Fewell all the way on down, the defense has been fantastic.
How dominant was the defense this week?
- The Houston Texans were 2 for 11 on third downs - that is, 18% of the time, the Texans were able to convert for a first down.
- The Texans are the 5th ranked team in total rushing yards, with an average of 142.4 yards per game. The Giants held them to 24 total rushing yards.
- With 23.6 points per game average, the Giants held the 9th ranked Texans offense to only 10 points.
- Arian Foster - the guy who has been averaging 120 yards per game - was held to 25 total yards.
- Take a look at those numbers again: 25 yards rushing for Arian Foster, 24 total yards of rushing offense for the team. Yes, the Giants defense was dominant enough to hold the rest of the Texans team to a net of -1 yards rushing.
The offense didn't slack off either, putting up 414 total yards, 117 on the ground and 297 in the air. 4 touchdowns, 2 field goals, 34 total points, and a 38:51 time of possession. That leaves a meager 21:09 for Houston's time of possession.
Quite frankly, it was complete and utter domination of a good team. Now they go up against a team that can be pretty good on offense, but isn't so good on defense. Will we see a repeat performance against the Detroit Lions?
If you're paying attention to the mainstream media, then don't hold your breath - they're expecting the Giants to talk away with this one and simply brush off the lesser Detroit opponent. While the stats heavily favor the Giants, the Lions are a scrappy team, and they have the uncanny ability to find the weakness in your defense and exploit it. They put up 32 points against the Philadelphia Eagles and 26 points against the Green Bay Packers. They also put up 44 points on the Steve Spagnulolo-led St. Louis Rams.
Unfortunately for the Lions, they're 1-4, winning only the St. Louis game. The reason? They're a very unbalanced team. On offense they can light it up with Jahvid Best, Brandon Pettigrew, Calvin Johnson, and Tony Scheffler - all of whom have over 200 yards receiving.
On rushing the Lions are pretty much limited to Jahvid Best, who has 241 yards rushing, and all 4 of the teams rushing touchdowns. The next top rusher is their Quarterback Shaun Hill.
While they have a very nice passing attack, the Lions defense ain't so good. They're ranked 23rd or lower in every defensive category, including points allowed (22.4 - 23rd), yards allowed (368.6 - 25th), passing yards (235.4 - 24th), and rushing yards (133.2 - 26th).
To put it another way: while they're much improved from their 0-16 year, the Lions are not an 8-8 team. The Giants, on the other hand, are playing like they're a 12-4 team, and they've got an important divisional game coming up the week after.
This is the classic trap game.
However, the Giants won't falter. Not this week, at least. Why? Tom Coughlin.
Sure the head coach of the New York Giants isn't loved by the media or Tiki Barber, and he may not be known for his personable approach to the game, but if there's one thing he's good at it's getting his team prepared for that weeks football game. The Giants players aren't being prepared for the Dallas Cowboys right now, they're watching film on Jahvid Best and figuring out the best way to stop him. They're looking at the deep game and figuring out ways to slow down the four real threats Detroit has. Perry Fewell is telling his players how they can rattle Shaun Hill's cage and cause him to make bad passes.
Don't even pay attention to the media hype about this being a trap game. Unless there is a colossal preparation failure on the part of the coaches, this game shouldn't even be competitive. With a defense that is on a roll and an offense that is finally starting to gel, I'm looking for the New York Giants to use the Detroit Lions as an excuse to keep winning this week.
Boasting aside, why are the Giants going to win? They can absolutely command the time of possession. Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs should have a field day eating up the clock. Add in a mix of some short passes with some decent yards after the catch to Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, and Kevin Boss, and you've got yourself a game where the Giants could potentially hold the ball for 40+ minutes.
20 minutes is just not enough time for the Lions offense to do anything against the Giants defense. The run defense has been shored up considerably from the first few weeks, and the pass defense has suddenly sprung to life.
I am worried about the passing game, though. Detroit has four receives over 200 yards and each one of them has at least 1 TD (Calvin Johnson has 4). Jahvid Best manages to find holes in the middle of the field and he's a real problem for defenders to tackle in the run. Basically, Best is the closest thing to a star the Detroit Lions have seen in a very long time.
That's the bad new. The good news is that if you shut down Jahvid Best, as Chicago and Minnesota did, you shut down Detroit's offense.
As long as the Giants don't shoot themselves in the foot, like Green Bay did, this game should be a fun one to watch. I have a ton of confidence that Tom Coughlin will have this team focused on Detroit and not Dallas, and after watching what this defense did against Arian Foster, I'm confident that we can slow down the Detroit running game enough that they'll be forced to throw it in the air - letting us sit on the pass in the second half of the game.
Should be a fun one to watch. I've got the Giants winning this one. Not by a lot, mind you - I think they'll win it on time of possession, in a low scoring affair.