The 3-8 New York Giants aim to end their six-game losing streak Sunday when they travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. Let's look quickly at how the teams match up.
When The Giants Have The Ball
Giants' Offense (14th overall) -- Rushing (21st, 99.3 yards per game); Passing (12th, 249.6 yards per game)
Jacksonville Defense (30th overall) -- Rushing (27th, 130.6 yards per game); Passing (27th, 257.5 yards per game)
During their six-game losing streak the Giants have been unable to run the ball with any consistency, getting 486 yards rushing on 139 attempts. That works out to 3.5 yards per carry and only 81 yards per game. Leading rusher Rashad Jennings missed four of those games, but has rushed for only 111 yards on 37 carries (3.0 yards per carry) in two games since returning.
If the Giants are ever going to get their running game going this season, Sunday against the Jaguars would seem like the time to do it.
If they can't do that, they could always just throw the ball to the sensational rookie Odell Beckham, who is coming off his 10-catch, 146-yard, catch of a lifetime game vs. the Dallas Cowboys. To do that, though, the Giants will have to control the Jacksonville pass rush. The Jaguars, led by defensive ends Chris Clemons (7) and Ryan Davis (5.5) and defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (5), are third in the league with 33 quarterback sacks.
No word yet on whether right tackle Justin Pugh, who missed last week's game with a quad injury, will play. So, we will have to wait and see how the Giants offensive line, which featured Geoff Schwartz at right tackle and Adam Snyder at left guard last week, will be aligned this week.
When The Jaguars Have The Ball
Giants' Defense (31st overall) -- Rushing (30th, 142.6 yards per game); Passing (24th, 253.9 yards per game)
Jacksonville Offense (31st overall) -- Rushing (31st, 96.5 yards per game); Passing (27th, 207.6 yards per game)
The Jacksonville offense hasn't been very good this season. The Jaguars have a struggling rookie quarterback in Blake Bortles. Their leading rusher is a guy who used to be a college quarterback (Denard Robinson). Their best receiver, rookie Allen Robinson, is now on IR with a stress fracture in his right foot.
Problem is, the Giants' defense has been just as bad -- or worse -- than the Jacksonville offense.
Can the Giants put enough pressure on Bortles to make him look like a rookie? Shoot, can they put any pressure on him at all? Jacksonville quarterbacks have been sacked a league-worst 43 times this year, but that doesn't mean the Giants (26th in the league with 19 sacks) can get to Bortles. Can they play with some discipline? Can they get through a game without busting coverages, blitzes and their own chance to win a game?
The Giants have been their own worst enemy defensively all season. There is no reason at this point to think that will change. Do the Jaguars have the ability to take advantage of the mistakes the Giants will inevitably make?
OK, so here comes the jinx. The Giants have been much-improved on special teams in recent weeks. Preston Parker average 24.8 yards last Sunday on four returns, with only an aborted 5-yard return on a kick that pinned him to the sideline preventing him from having a spectacular day. Beckham has given the punt return team a boost. Steve Weatherford is getting healthier, punting more consistently, and as a result the punt coverage has been better. Josh Brown is still a perfect 10-for-10 on field-goal attempts.
For Jacksonville, Jordan Todman has been a dangerous kickoff returner, averaging 26.3 yards on 27 returns. Ace Sanders averages 6.9 yards on 22 punt returns. Placekicker Josh Scobee is 11-of-15, with two of his misses from outside 50 yards. Punter Bryan Anger averages 46.5 yards per kick, with a net of 39.3 yards.