Predicting the New York Giants has proven to be a fool’s errand through the first three weeks of the 2016 season.
First it was predicted that the Giants’ defense would take a while to gel and the Dallas Cowboys’ fearsome offensive line and highly-drafted running back would run all over the Giants. Over the last two games the Cowboys have the second ranked rushing attack has racked up 176 and 172 yards respectively. They only got 98 yards as a team in the season opener against New York.
Next the experts predicted another offensive explosion when the Giants met the New Orleans Saints in week two. Instead of obliterating any “over/under” anyone would reasonably predict, the two teams combined for 29 points, less than either team scored when the two met in 2015.
So here are some predictions that may or may not happen.
The Giants’ Defense Will Get A Pair Of Interceptions
The Giants’ secondary might be in shambles, but the front 7 is relatively healthy. They are facing a Vikings’ offensive line that is injured and has struggled to open running lanes or protect their quarterback. Sam Bradford may very well find the game placed squarely on his right arm behind shaky protection. The Giants’ front has not been producing sacks — only two of them through the first three games -- but Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon both rank near the top of the league in pressures. The Giants’ defense, which has been so close yet too far from a number of turnovers this year, could finally come up with those turnovers if the pressure gets to Bradford.
The Giants Will Rush For 100 Yards
The Minnesota Vikings have one if the top defenses in the NFL, but the Giants' offense presents an interesting match-up. Minnesota features larger cornerbacks who match up well with bigger receivers like those of the Carolina Panthers. The Giants' offense, however, is unique in that it features three "Z" receivers — Smaller receivers who create separation with their quickness and route running. The Vikings corners very well could struggle to stay with those receivers in and out of their breaks. The Giants feature their three receiver set as much as, if not more than, any team in the league, forcing defenses to spread out. If the Giants can stick with their running game, using their power game to stress a light front, their stable of backs could eclipse the 100-yard mark.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa Will Get A Sack
The Giants' defensive front features a favorable matchup against Minnesota, and if Owa gets more consistent snaps than in the first three weeks, he could benefit. Steve Spagnuolo said earlier this week that while it is difficult as it is to take any of the starting four of JPP, Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Johnathan Hankins out of the game, they need to do a better job of working their depth into games. If the Giants have struggled to convert pressure into sacks, then more Owa could help. No Giants defender is as explosively athletic as the defensive end from UCLA. What he lacks in technical refinement, he should make up for with his physical abilities. If the Giants give him enough snaps, over time he can overwhelm blockers.
Eli Manning Will Have An Efficient Game
Much has been made of Eli's history playing the Vikings. What gets left out is that most of his meetings with the Vikings happened with Kevin Gilbride as offensive coordinator. While Gilbride's offense could be almost unstoppable, it was also slow and made efficiency next to impossible. Last year when Manning faced Minnesota, he did so without Odell Beckham Jr, making Rueben Randle his No. 1 receiver, Myles White his No. 2, and Dwayne Harris his No. 3. This year Manning has his full compliment of receivers, all three of whom are on pace for 1,000-yard seasons. The loss of Shane Vereen and the athleticism of the Vikings' linebackers, combined with the match-ups in the secondary, could lead Manning to lean on those receivers, with whom he has been very efficient.