The 3-2 New York Giants host the 4-1 Buffalo Bills Sunday at MetLife Stadium. With a bye coming up, and a brutal schedule after it, this is a game the Giants very much need to win. A 4-2 record at the bye will look, and feel, much different than 3-3.
Here is a look at five things to watch.
1. Can The Giants -- Finally -- Run The Football?: Chris Snee (concussion), Brandon Jacobs (knee) and fullback Henry Hynoski (neck) are not playing. That makes no difference. If the Giants can't run the football against the Bills, ranked 29th in the league in run defense and giving up 5.5 yards per carry, there probably isn't a team remaining on their schedule that they can run it against. Oh, and if they can't run it Sunday there is another problem.
2. Can The Giants Protect The Football?: If they can't run it, that means Eli Manning will be airing it out 40 or so times on Sunday. Which brings us to that not-so-small issue of turnovers. The Giants had five of them last week in their embarrassing loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and the Bilsl are +11 in takeaway/giveaway ratio this season, with 12 interceptions. If the Giants don't run the ball successfully, there will more than likely be some Manning tosses heading in the wrong direction.
3. Does The Defense Know What It's Doing?: Sort of embarrassing that I even have to ask that question. With defensive coordinator Perry Fewell talking about issuing wristbands so guys can figure out the play calls and admitting that his unit -- in Week 6 -- still has to "learn how to play together" there should be alarm bells going off.
4. The Victor Cruz Show -- Amazing catches. Spectacular blunders. You get them both with the emerging young wide receiver, who is turning out to be pretty much worth the price of admission all by himself. He can make you jump for joy one second and reach for another cold one to drown your sorrows the next. What will it be this week? Probably a little of both.
5. Tight End Extravaganza -- Jake Ballard will be starting at tight end for the Giants. Scott Chandler will be starting for the Bills. Bear Pascoe will be playing fullback for the Giants. What's the big deal? A season ago all three of these guys were in Giants' camp -- and all three got cut. The Giants got Pascoe and Balard back, while Chandler has emerged as a key player for Buffalo.