The New York Giants (7-5) need a victory Sunday against the 5-7 New Orleans Saints to stop the bleeding from losing three of their last four games. With the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys entering the day just one game back of the Giants a victory is critical.
Let's take a look at what you need to know before kickoff.
The Basic Stuff
Game: Giants (7-5) vs. Saints (5-7)
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium
Line: Giants -5
1. Drew Brees -- Torched the Giants for 363 yards passing and four touchdowns last season. The Giants need to figure out a way to make the Brees who threw five interceptions last week show up rather than the one they faced a year ago.
2. Jimmy Graham -- Jason Witten of the Dallas Cowboys caught 18 passes in a game against the Giants earlier this season. Graham has 59 catches and 8 touchdowns, and slowing him down will be a critical part of what the Giants need to do on Sunday.
3. Steve Spagnuolo -- Yeah, I know. Not a player. Spagnuolo, though, is the former very popular and successful Giants' defensive coordinator. Since he is currently running the Saints' defense it will be interesting to see what he throws at Eli Manning, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and the rest of the Giants' offense.
1. Eli Manning -- Manning is pretty much always on this list. The Saints have a total of 97 points the last two times the teams have played. Even if the Giants slow down New Orleans somewhat it figures that the Giants are going to have to put up a large number of points to win this one. Which means Manning will need to be sharp.
2. Jason Pierre-Paul -- JPP says the Giants have been "soft" on defense. Well, he could be talking about himself. He has only 6.5 sacks on the season after having 16 during an All-Pro season last year, and has none in the past three weeks. He needs to be a force.
3. Jacquian Williams -- After not playing since Week 6 it sounds like the second-year linebacker expects to play on Sunday. The Giants will need Williams' speed and athleticism against New Orleans' tight end Jimmy Graham, especially with starting safety Kenny Phillips (knee) doubtful and backup safety Tyler Sash already listed as out with a hamstring injury. How much, and how well, can Williams play?
You know this stuff already, but let's go through it. The Giants have put themselves in a precarious playoff predicament, letting their once comfortable NFC East lead over the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins shrink to one measly game. Tom Coughlin says the Giants need to win out, which may or may not be true depending on the Cowboys and Redskins, but certainly would be nice. They definitely need to beat the 5-7 Saints.
New Orleans is scuffling through a year filled with distractions of their own making, and hanging onto playoff hopes by a thread. Still, this is a scary opponent for the Giants. The Saints dropped 49 points on the Giants last season, and 48 in 2009. That's absurd, and the Giants can't let it happen again.
Mike Farley, Big Blue View -- Giants 37, Saints 34
Jared Smith, SB Nation New York -- Giants 37, Saints 34
Funny fellas, Mike and Jared. I wonder if they made these picks together.
"I think we look soft. I think we’ll get there, man. We haven’t played our best game this year. I know, for a fact, we haven’t played that game. ... We’re all not playing together. When you’re on a team, in a position like this, you have to play together as one. Otherwise, you’ll keep going downhill."
-- Jason Pierre-Paul on the Giants' defense
This choice because the unpredictable Giants have squandered some opportunities this season and definitely arrived at a fork in the road.
Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) [Official Music Video] (via greenday)
NEW YORK GIANTS
TE Travis Beckum - Knee (DNP)
S Tyler Sash - Hamstring (DNP)
S Kenny Phillips - Knee (DNP)
WR Hakeem Nicks - Knee (LP)
C David Baas - Shoulder (FP)
LB Chase Blackburn - Ankle (FP)
LB Michael Boley - Shoulder (FP)
RB Ahmad Bradshaw - Foot (LP)
WR Domenik Hixon - Ankle (FP)
DE Jason Pierre-Paul - Back (FP)
LB Jacquian Williams - Knee (FP)
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
T Charles Brown - Knee (DNP)
CB Corey White - Knee (DNP)
S Isa Abdul-Quddus - Concussion (FP)
DE Junior Galette - Ankle (FP)
S Roman Harper - Rib (FP)
DT Tom Johnson - Back (FP)
CB Johnny Patrick - Illness (FP)
WR Courtney Roby - Hamstring (FP)
T Zach Strief - Groin (FP)
TE David Thomas - Knee (FP)
DE Martez Wilson - Toe (FP)