Arian Foster and the Houston running game present the Giants defense with a different challenge this week. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Don't look for another 10-sack performance this Sunday when the New York Giants face the Houston Texans. The Giants know they will be facing a much different type of offense than they saw against the Chicago Bears.
"This week, they have a tremendously talented running team so it would easy for us to think we’re just going to rush upfield and they’re going to get 300 yards rushing," Justin Tuck said. "Our goal is to put them in third and long situations and then we’ll have opportunities for sacks. This team does a great job of creating third and ones, third and twos. We have to create down and distance where we can get after them," Tuck said.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell echoed Tuck's sentiments.
"This is really a different offense that we're going to face. It's a run type offense. They execute the play action pass, they try to stay on schedule with not putting themselves in long yardage situations, so it's a little bit of a different philosophy going into this football game than last week," Fewell said. "It is definitely the most balanced team we've faced. Solid, solid run game, excellent pass game off the play action, they can drop back and throw it, so it will be a challenge for us, but I think that we can rise to the occasion. I think we can play well against these guys."
The Giants will have to defend the NFL's leading rusher, Arian Foster, and former Giants running back Derrick Ward, without veteran linebacker Keith Bulluck. His turf toe injury has not healed sufficiently to allow him to play.
When Bulluck did not play against the Bears, Deon Grant played most of the game as a third safety. Bulluck's backup at linebacker, Clint Sintim, played just four snaps. Fewell expects an expanded role for Sintim against the more balanced Texans.
"Sintim will play a lot. Yes, he's going to play a lot in this football game," Fewell said. "he's put in an excellent week of practice. We've liked the way he's focused and the way he's taken on the challenge of, hey I'm going to step up and do my part. So we've just got to wait until Sunday to see if he can fulfill that role."
Here are a few more Giants-related notes for your Friday morning.
It seems like everyone is taking shots at the NFC East after the first four games of the season.
Even ESPN's NFC East blogger Matt Mosley is having a hard time defending his turf.
For years, we could turn up our collective nose at the smell coming from the NFC West and AFC West, but now the division that Landry and Gibbs built is in similar shape. How else do you describe a division that has three teams tied for the lead at 2-2, and the Cowboys sitting "pretty" at 1-2. (Yes, I know the Skins are 2-0 in the division, but just work with me folks.) Against my best judgment, I've now seen all four teams in person.
This isn't the first time the NFC East has gone through a lull. The Redskins, Cowboys and Giants all faded in December 2008 while the Eagles made an improbable run to the NFC title game, which forced fans to endure Donovan McNabb for another season. And the Redskins and Giants were both dreadful in 2009. I guess you could say there has been a trend over the past couple of seasons of the division's reputation exceeding its production.
But this is the first time I can remember looking at all four teams and seeing only mediocrity.
Adam Schein of FOX Sports had similar sentiments about the division, and had this to say about the Giants.
The Giants are perplexing. They showed off their talent in Week 1 against Carolina. They embarrassed themselves in every phase against the Colts. The Giants imploded against the Titans, a game marred by too many foolish penalties and turnovers. And the Giants stopped the "bring in Bill Cowher" talk by manhandling the Bears offensive line in the single least aesthetically pleasing game of the 2010 season. And let’s be honest: You can credit the Giants for surviving the slop, but that win was about the Bears offensive line and Mike Martz being totally lost.
Before the season, I thought the Giants would win 10 games and capture the division. I am not so sure they are capable of a run. The offensive line has severely underachieved. They have a tough spot in Houston. And, frankly, it is not worth going through the schedule. The Giants have more talent than the Titans. It’s just a matter of whether Tom Coughlin can get this team focused week to week.
There was lots of wild speculation here Thursday because former Giant offensive lineman Guy Whimper worked out for the team Thursday. Face it, gang, Will Beatty is hurt. Shaun O'Hara is hurt. Until Thursday the Giants weren't sure Adam Koets could play this week. The Giants might need to find a lineman off the street at some point, and checking on Whimper's status is just due diligence by the organization.