Giants At Saints: Five Things To Watch

New York Giants vs. New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, with the reality of the situation probably being that if the Giants don't find some way to upset the Saints they can probably kiss the playoffs goodbye for a third straight season.


SB Nation New York: Scouting The Saints


Unbeaten Green Bay and two match-ups with the Dallas Cowboys loom on the horizon, but none of that will probably matter a whole lot if the Giants can't work a little magic in New Orleans this evening. Let's take a look at our 'Five Things To Watch' if the Giants aim to do just that.

1. Will Perry Fewell Finally Release The Kraken? I wrote earlier about the need for Fewell to stop holding back the Giants best defensive weapon. If the Giants don't commit to pressuring Fewell consistently no matter what it takes, they have no chance to slow the high-flying New Orleans offense. They simply have to get after Brees, who has thrown 11 interceptions this season, and not give him the opportunity to carve their secondary to pieces.

2. Can The Giants Run The Ball? Seems like we ask this question every week, and it is again at the forefront. New Orleans surrenders 5.2 yards per running play, 31st in the league. The Superdome can be a rocking place when things are going well for New Orleans. Brees can put up points in a hurry when he has the ball. The running game and winning the time of possession battle are the Giants best weapons against that -- at least theoretically, since the running game has been non-existent all season.

3. Can The Revamped Offensive Line Hold Up? Does anybody feel good about David Diehl playing left tackle? Anybody besides Diehl and his mom, I mean? I thought not. Well, the bright side is Kevin Boothe might actually be better at left guard than Diehl. And Chris Snee probably won't have food poisoning this week. So maybe, just maybe, this unit will do OK if Diehl doesn't get Eli Manning killed.

4. Will The Giants Have 'Poise In The Noise'? Coach Tom Coughlin busted out that phrase again this week -- it is one of his favorites when playing in difficult circumstances on the road. Thing is, the Giants have displayed a lack of poise too often during the past couple of seasons -- including last week when they got involved in a bunch of silly, distracting skirmishes with the Philadelphia Eagles. Stupid penalties and lack of concentration will kill the Giants if they happen in the Superdome.

5. Can The Giants Contain Darren Sproles? Of all the weapons Drew Brees has, Sproles might be the guy the Giants need to worry about most. He averages 6.8 yards per carry running the ball, has 60 pass receptions in 10 games, averages 26.5 yards per kickoff return and 9.6 yards per punt return. He presents a huge challenge for the Giants coverage teams, and for their young linebackers.

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