Sunday's NFL Week 14 match-up between the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans is a historic one. Historically bad, that is. The 3-9 Giants have lost seven straight. The 2-10 Titans have lost six straight. This marks the first Giants game in which each team has lost at least six consecutive games since Nov. 21, 1994, when the Giants faced the Houston Oilers -- who are now the Titans.
Let's take brief look at how the teams match up.
When The Giants Have The Ball
Giants Offense: 15th overall; Rushing (22nd, 100.7 yards per game); Passing (15th, 246.6 yards per game)
Tennessee Defense: 30th overall; Rushing (32nd, 141.5 yards per game); Passing (18th, 243.8 yards per game)
The biggest question for the Giants when they have the ball is whether or not they can get out of their own way. When they can, they do things like complete 19-play, 91-yard scoring drives like the one they had last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. When they can't, they implode in a sea of turnovers and mistakes, doing things like giving the Jaguars 14 points off fumbles returned for scores.
The biggest question is always whether or not they can block anybody. The Giants get right tackle Justin Pugh, who has missed the last two games with a quad injury, back this week. Of course, since nothing can ever be perfect, they placed Geoff Schwartz an dAdam Snyder on season-ending IR. That means the Giants will use the same Will Beatty-Weston Richburg-J.D. Walton-John Jerry-Pugh offensive line that hasn't been good enough most of the season.
The Giants have struggled to run-block consistently and haven't handled pass-rushing stunts or blitzes well. Head coach Tom Coughlin referred to the Titans, an overall porous defense, as "an outstanding pressure football team."
Defensive end Jurrell Casey leads the Titans with five sacks. Linebackers Derrick Morgan (3.5 sacks) and Avery Williamson (3.0) help provide the pass rush. Free safety Michael Griffin also has three sacks.
For the Giants, the status of running back Rashad Jennings (ankle) is uncertain. He did not practice on Wednesday.
When The Titans Have The Ball
Giants Defense: 29th overall; Rushing (31st, 140.6 yards per game); Passing (19th, 244.4 yards per game)
Tennessee Offense: 27th overall; Rushing (26th, 88.3 yards per game); Passing (20th, 220.1 yards per game)
For the Titans, everything on offense revolves around the development of rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger, expected to make his sixth start Sunday despite suffering a shoulder injury last week against the Houston Texans. Mettenberger, who used to throw passes to Odell Beckham at LSU, is 93-of-155 (60 percent) for 1,287 yards, eight touchdowns, six interceptions and a passer rating of 87.8. The best news for the Giants? Mettenberger has run the ball only four times, so the read option that kills the Giants week-in and week-out is probably not part of the Tennessee arsenal -- unless backup Jake Locker gets in the game.
For the Giants, the problems with their 29th-ranked defense have been obvious all season. Those are lack of discipline and lack of a consistent pass rush. The injuries in the secondary compound those issues. Second-year man Damontre Moore will get a much-anticipated increase in playing time with Mathias Kiwanuka and Robert Ayers having been placed on IR this week.
Dexter McCluster (7.4 yards per return) is Tennessee's primary punt returner. Leon Washington (23.5 per return) is the kickoff return man. Placekicker Ryan Succop is 13-of-15 in field-goal attempts. Punter Brett Kern averages 46.1 yards per punt with an impressive net of 40.4 yards per punt.