How will the New York Giants fare Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals? The 0-1 Giants are 1.5-point underdogs in their own building, meaning oddsmakers expect Big Blue to fall to 0-2. What do Big Blue View staff members think? Let's look at this week's Big Blue View staff picks to find out.
This week, we've got another match-up that doesn't seem to favor the Giants. The Cardinals have been hit with a lot of defensive injuries and suspensions, but they are still a formidable group. Calais Campbell is one of the most under-rated players in the league and I have a feeling he's going to give Justin Pugh all he can handle, as Justin struggles against pure power guys. I don't fear the Cardinal pass rush as much as I did the Detroit Lion rush, but they are stout against the run with Dan Williams in the middle. Their secondary is one of the strongest in the league and with the Giants struggling against the Detroit ragtag group, it will be difficult to see them succeeding here. The best strategy the Giants could have against this power front is a lot of screens. With Daryl Washington, Karlos Dansby, and John Abraham not there anymore, the middle of that defense appears to be the weak link, so we should hope for a heavy dose of Larry Donnell and Rashad Jennings and they need to make that LB corps pay. If they don't, it's going to be the same story all over again.
On the flip side, they have a nasty group of pass catchers with Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, and a stable of efficient tight ends. Don't overlook rookie John Brown either, who has made waves in Arizona this offseason. The Arizona offensive line is decent with the tackles Jared Veldheer and Bobby Massie doing well. The interior is a bit more soft. If the Giants are going to put any pressure on Carson Palmer, Cullen Jenkins and Johnathan Hankins will have to get through there. Don't expect a lot of blitzing by Perry Fewell, because the matchup X-factor is Andre Ellington, a shifty back with tons of speed, so the Giants will want to keep their LBs back. It's going to be a tough group to face, but if the Giants are to succeed, Carson Palmer needs to get hit early and often.
Will they be able to do what they need to do? At this point, I'm not sure. Cardinals 28, Giants 21.
The Cardinals have a hot quarterback in Carson Palmer and have one of the most formidable wide receiving corps in the league. Michael Floyd has taken over as the number one big-play wide receiver for Larry Fitzgerald and it will be interesting if the Giants put DRC on Floyd or Larry Fitzgerald. The way to stop the Cardinals is to pressure Palmer and force turnovers, which the Giants front four looked ill-prepared to do in week one against the Lions. If Palmer has time, he has the weapons to score points.
The Giants offense failed miserably trying to run the ball on the road in Detroit and now face a Cardinals team that is as good as it gets against the run. Even though the Cardinals lost some major contributors to injury and to suspension they looked as stout as ever Monday night against San Diego. If they blitz the Giants as often as they blitzed the Chargers, the Giants will have to make them pay with big passing plays. There are just too many ifs right now with the Giants offense to think they can beat a very good Cardinals team, even though the Giants will be playing at home. Cardinals 24, Giants 20
Aww ... You're making us do this again!? Alright then: honestly, I have no clue, I can see this game going either way.
I'm very concerned about the match-up of Dan Williams and Calais Campbell against J.D. Walton and Weston Richburg. Also the Giants desperately need Rueben Randle to play up to his talent level and for Cruz to play like he's pissed off at the ball again. In other words, Eli needs his weapons to show up.
Defensively, the Giants need to get pressure on Palmer, and play with some discipline and communication in the secondary (and not hand the Cardinals yards and points on a silver platter).
On the other hand, the Cardinals are dealing with a ton of injuries. They will be without Darnell Dockett, John Abraham, Daryl Washington, Frostee Rucker, and maybe Tyrann Mathieu. That's most of their defensive play-makers. If the offensive line can show improvement, that means they will have to blitz to generate pressure, which should open up opportunities for the Giants to move the ball. Even if they don't blitz, the Giants should have opportunities over the middle.
This should be a winnable game for the Giants ... I just don't know if they will be able to get enough together to capitalize.
Since you're pinning us down: Cardinals
[From Jesse's Week 2 picks against the spread]
I hope I'm wrong about this one but the only thing I like about this game in the Giants favor are the 1 p.m. ET start time and Arizona playing on the road. Cardinals receivers overall might be more talented then the Lions from a depth perspective. The defense is better than the Lions, too. Pick: Cardinals
I saved my pick for last on purpose. This week I'm going to be the only Big Blue View staff member to climb out on the 'Giants will win Sunday' ledge. Why am I going to do that? Well, that's a good question. Let me try to answer it.
Arizona is the betting favorite in this game, and deserves to be coming off a 10-win season. I believe, though, that the Cardinals come in to Sunday's game vulnerable.
The Cardinals played after the Giants did on Monday and are traveling across the country for a 1 p.m. ET start, 10 a.m. Arizona time, traditionally very difficult for teams coming from the west coast.
Injuries also leave Arizona vulnerable on Sunday. The Cardinals have lost their best pass rusher, veteran linebacker John Abraham, who has left the team and may have seen his career end due to another in a series of concussions. They were already without linebacker Daryl Washington Starting defensive end Frostee Rucker (calf) is out Sunday, as is Abraham's backup at linebacker, Alex Okafor (thigh). Offensively, quarterback Carson Palmer (shoulder) and No. 1 running back Andre Ellington (foot) have been limited all week and are questionable. The Cardinals expect both to play.
The Giants, quite honestly, did not give anyone reason to be optimistic about their 2014 season during Monday's awful loss to the Detroit Lions. The 2014 Giants have a much more talented roster than the 2013 Giants did, however, and it's hard to believe they won't play better this Sunday. I would be especially surprised if the defense and the running game don't look better than they did on Monday.
Arizona is a good team, but not a juggernaut. This is a winnable game for the Giants and I think they buy themselves a little time and find a way to get that done. Pick: Giants
[Record picking Giants' games in parenthesis]
'Invictus' (1-0): Cards
Dennis (1-0): Cards
'Raptor' (0-1): Cards
Jesse (1-0): Cards
Ed (1-0): Giants
Like last week, that is 4-1 against the Giants from your Big Blue View staff. You certainly can't accuse anyone around here of being a 'homer' when it comes to making these picks.