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Giants-Saints: 5 keys to a fourth straight Giants’ victory

If the Giants do these things, a victory could be within reach

Green Bay Packers v New York Giants Photo by Mike Stobe/2023 Mike Stobe

The New York Giants seek an improbable fourth straight victory on Sunday when they face the New Orleans Saints. Here are five things the Giants need to do in order to have a chance.

Win the turnover battle ... again

Tommy DeVito has not committed a turnover during the Giants’ winning streak. The Giants have taken the ball away 12 times while giving it away just three during that stretch. That is a winning formula.

For the season, the Giants are tied with the Denver Broncos for sixth in the league in takeaway/giveaway ratio at +6.

That is a critical factor in the team’s success. The Giants don’t have a dynamic offense. They don’t have a shut down defense. They have erratic special teams. They need the extra possessions, field position and points generated by turnovers.

Pass protection

DeVito wasn’t sacked last Monday against the Green Bay Packers, the first time all season a Giants’ quarterback has gotten through a game in that manner. The Giants have still allowed the league’s most quarterback sacks, 69. That is 11 more than the Washington Commanders.

The Saints do not possess a great pass rush. They are tied with the Giants for 30th in the league in sacks with 23. They are 25th in the league in pressure percentage, putting heat on the quarterback on just 19.6% of dropbacks.

Provided that left guard Justin Pugh, who is questionable with a quad injury, is able to play, this will mark the fifth consecutive game in which the Giants will be able to start the same five offensive linemen. That, combined with the lack of a dynamic pass rush from the Saints, should allow the Giants to provide DeVito with time when they choose to throw.

Pressure Derek Carr

In Nick Falato’s look at the New Orleans offense, there were some NFL defenders who had unkind things to say about how New Orleans quarterback Derek Carr reacts to pressure. How true are those statements? I don’t know.

Carr’s 64.7 NFL passer rating is 16th among 26 quarterbacks with at least 118 dropbacks this season, per Pro Football Focus. Carr has a 47.9 PFF grade under pressure, 18th overall.

It would, though, behoove the Giants to crank up the heat on Carr and find out if he has the answers.

Run the football

The Saints surrender 131.5 yards rushing per game and 4.6 yards per rushing attempt, both 26th in the league. While they don’t rush the passer well, they are far better in pass defense than run defense.

What’s the best way to take raucous home crowd out of a game? Churn out first downs in the run the game.

The Giants should lean on Saquon Barkley and the running game. The most passes DeVito has thrown in a game is 27, and I’m not sure the Giants want to find themselves in a 35-throw type of game.

Keep the glass slipper on

Undrafted rookie free agent quarterbacks are not supposed to do what DeVito is doing. Victories in three straight starts. Two NFC Offensive Rookie of the Week honors. One NFC Offensive Player of the Week honor. Passer ratings of 103.9 or higher in those three victories. DeVito hasn’t turned the ball over in the last three games.

How long can the ‘Passing Paesan’ continue to wear Cinderella’s slipper? When will it slide off? Or shatter to the floor altogether?

Matt Waldman of The Rookie Scouting Portfolio told Big Blue View recently that it is generally 4-6 weeks before NFL teams get a book on a quarterback and begin to game plan accordingly.

Waldman said:

“This is why, year after year, a backup generates excitement early on but his performance deteriorates as opposing defenses begin applying that scouting intel into game plans bit by bit. In a matter of weeks, those bits add up to a “book” on the quarterback. At this point, the quarterback must show he can either grow beyond his conceptual, physical, or technical limitations or that the amount of limitations is small enough that only a few defenses have the personnel and scheme to limit his game.”

DeVito has reached that stage. He has started the Giants’ last four games and played in the last six. He is no longer a novelty, or an unknown to opposing defenses.

Let’s see where he goes from here.