It has been less than a full calendar year since the last time the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints matched up in the NFL regular season. Their game in New York in Week 2 of the 2016 season follows a game last November that took place on the fast turf in New Orleans. The game last year was quite a statement, though don’t expect similar results this time around.
In 2015, neither the Giants nor the Saints were very good. Each team had an impressively bad defense to boot; the Saints historically so. That made for one of the more exciting football games of the entire season, with a final score of 52-49 in favor of New Orleans.
No quarter produced fewer than 21 points. The fourth quarter saw the team’s combined for 31 points, including three touchdowns from the Giants. Eli Manning threw for 350 yards and six touchdowns and was somehow upstaged! Drew Brees topped 500 yards passing and collected seven touchdowns. It was an all-out air assault from both sides all game long. Neither defense could get a stop without the opposing offense turning the ball over.
In 2016, the rematch looks like it could follow a similar script on the surface. New Orleans enters off a loss but coming off of another great offensive explosion. It collected 34 points against the Oakland Raiders in Week 1, with Brees throwing for 423 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks were responsible for most of the passing yards as Brees looked their ways a combined 18 times and connected 15 of those times.
The interesting thing about the Saints’ Week 1 performance though was how specifically great it was. Snead and Cooks were specifically great (along with Brees obviously). Really no one else on offense for the Saints was. New tight end Coby Fleener was invisible. The running game was ordinary. Michael Thomas had a nice first game in the pros, but it was nothing special. This was a two-man show.
The Giants should have no problem stopping a two-man show on defense. This group is clearly much more talented and much better than the unit that was thrown out in this matchup last season. The newcomers along the defensive line and in the secondary are leaps and bounds better than who New York was forced to turn to in 2015.
NY still has defensive questions, but it is in an area that New Orleans doesn’t look like it will be able to exploit. The linebackers for New York are underwhelming. They could realistically be picked apart by a dominant tight end or devastating receiving back, neither of which NO showed in Week 1. On the other hand, the Giants’ batch of cornerbacks are arguably as good as any in the conference. Just look at what they did to Dez Bryant and the Cowboys in their first game of the season.
Meanwhile, the Saints’ own defense looks just as bad as it did in 2015. It didn’t force a single turnover or register a sack against the Raiders. It also allowed a pretty epic fourth-quarter comeback that withered away the lead its offense had built. With cornerback Delvin Breaux now out with a broken bone in his leg, there is hardly a playmaker on the entire unit outside of Cameron Jordan. The New York Giants, with their new three-headed receiver attack, could run wild yet again on the Saints. Just don’t expect more than 100 combined points. Instead, it’s likely to be a comfortable win for the G-Men with little resistance for their offense and the ability to clamp down on defense to stop what the Saints do well.