Giants vs. Lions Week 16: What to watch on Sunday

US PRESSWIRE

Five things we're watching when the Giants and Lions square off

The New York Giants have never stooped as low as they did following their shutout at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks a week ago. Eli Manning tossed five interceptions as the offense put up a doughnut for the second time this year.

The Detroit Lions were sitting pretty atop the NFC North for most of the season, but they've dropped four of their last five and now trail the Chicago Bears for first place.

Here's five things we're keying in on when the Lions square off vs. the Giants.

Lions' turnovers

Since Week 10, the Lions have turned the ball over 19 times, and not coincidentally that has resulted in four losses compared to two wins. The Lions 5:19 time of possession differential is among the league's worst during that span, and in the past five games they've turned the rock over at least three times.

The Giants defense has forced just four turnovers in their past four games, but perhaps they'll be able to feast on a very turnover-prone Lions' offense.

Reggie Bush in space

Bush has been an incredible addition to the Lions' high-flying aerial attack, as the running back have averaged 128 yards from scrimmage over his last three games.

The Baltimore Ravens held Bush in check, limiting him to 86 yards rushing and just two receptions for 15 yards in the passing game, which should serve as a model for New York.

The Giants defense has been gashed by opposing backs during the most recent skid, surrendering more than 100 yards rushing in five of their past six contests.

Extra opportunities

Both Matthew Stafford and Eli Manning have been throwing interceptions at will this season. Manning has a thrown a league-high 25 interceptions, while Stafford is tied for third with 17.

Manning has tossed eight picks in his past three games; Stafford has nine in his past four.

Given that incredible number, whichever quarterback can avoid the crucial turnovers should put his team in a great position not to cough up a victory.

Penalties

The Lions continue to shoot themselves in the foot this season, and on Monday Night Football vs. the Ravens they committed five defensive penalties, bringing their season total to 48, tied for the most in the NFL.

The personnel matchup between the Lions defenders and Giants offensive pieces will make for an interesting battle in terms of flags. The Giants' line is very susceptible to pressure, so will a defensive linemen -- maybe Ndamukong Suh -- get flagged for a late or illegal hit? Without Victor Cruz, will Rueben Randle and Hakeem Nicks be able to command pass-interference penalties against the Lions' secondary?

Giants' young receivers

Speaking of Cruz's absence, Jerrel Jernigan is expected to make his first start of the year alongside Nicks and Randle, which could be considered a glimpse into what next year's receiving corps may look like -- to a degree.

Nicks is an impending free agent, and based on his lack of production this year it's hard to imagine the Giants will pay a king's ransom to keep him aboard. Then again, given Manning's hardships this year it's hard to imagine Nicks putting together too impressive of a campaign in his contract year.

Randle has stepped up to the challenge this year, though he has teetered off a bit down the stretch. Of course, the entire Giants offense has sputtered during that span.

Jernigan received a lot of praise from offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride in the offseason. The wideout isn't considering this an audition, but there's never been a better time to showcase his skill-set.

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