As part of our week-to-week coverage of New York Giants games this season we will be doing day-of-game staff picks for each game. The Giants open their season as 6.5-point underdogs to the Detroit Lions on Monday night. So, let's see what your Big Blue View staffers forecast for tonight's outcome.
I just don't like this match-up, at this point in the season, for the Giants. In all honesty, I believe the Giants offensive line could be a good one by the end of season. Now? Not so much. Anyone who tells you they feel good about Weston Richburg, J.D. Walton and John Jerry vs. Ndamukong Suh, Stephen Tulloch and Nick Fairley is lying. The Lions' area mess in the secondary, but will Eli Manning have the time and does he have the weapons to take advantage?
The Giants' secondary is incredibly talented, but can it really neutralize Calvin Johnson & Co.? Can the Giants rush the passer? I will believe both of those things when I see them.
Pick: Lions 27, Giants 17
Lions 23, Giants 17
I believe that the Giants can be a good team this year. I just don't believe that they will start out on the right foot if the preseason is any indication. The Lions are an explosive team. They obviously have Calvin Johnson, but they added a huge upgrade to their No. 2 WR in Golden Tate. Then you have to deal with Reggie Bush. They probably have more mismatches on that offense than anybody in the league. I didn't even mention Eric Ebron, who's slowly being incorporated into the offense. The Giants defense is good, potentially very good, so I think 23 points for their first game is fair.
On the other hand, I think the offense will struggle. It's too early for them to really get things going right off the bat and there are a ton of questions about the interior of that offensive line. That's obviously not good news with the fearsome Lion interior. Detroit has a myriad of issues in the secondary, but to be honest, I don't know that Eli Manning and the Giants are in a position right now to take advantage of that.
My prediction: Giants win! (On an Eli Manning 4th Q comeback, though I won't be so bold as to predict a Corey Washington Special)
I can tell you all now that this is going to be one of those games that winds up keeping me up all night and hating life come Tuesday morning. If the first game of the season can be a must win, then that is what this is for the Giants.
Defensively, I think the Lions will (at least try) to attack the middle of the Giants' defense and move the ball pretty well between the 20's, but the Giants will largely keep them out of the end zone.
Offensively, I think the Giants need to continue the success they had in the pre-season running the ball. In the passing game, I think the pace and "scheme" we saw in pre-season won't be what we see in the regular season. I tweeted during the Thursday Night game that I hope the Giants were taking notes on how Percy Harvin was used, because that is exactly how Jernigan needs to be used. I think the Giants need to use their running game, screens, and quick passes to slow down the the Lions' pass rush and hopefully give Eli time to attack the Lions' weak secondary. I doubt it will be pretty though.
I have a hard time seeing the Giants come out of week one with a win. There are times that you look at the preseason and don't pay any attention to it and then there are times that you look at it and realize this may be how the team will look in the beginning of the season. I think the Giants are in the situation of the latter as Eli Manning and the entire offense looks to be struggling.
The loss of Geoff Schwartz only makes things that much harder for Eli to regain his comfort in the pocket. The additions of Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams may be the key to the Giants getting a rhythm going early in the season, but winning in week one on the road in Detroit will be a tall order. I also don't think the Giants will get much pressure on Stafford and that's not a recipe for success.
All that said, I will be rooting them on!
[From Jesse's complete Week 1 picks against the spread]
This game makes me nervous as a Giants fan. The Giants secondary could neutralize the high-flying passing attack of the Lions, but the Lions terrific defensive line talent will likely give the Giants terrible fits. I don't think the Lions are that much better than the Giants, but I do think they are a bad match-up for the Giants.
Pick: Lions win by more than 5.5 points
When I asked BBV staffers for picks I was hoping the guys would make predictions with objectivity rather than with their hearts. They have, obviously, done so.
Selections (4-1 consensus for the Lions)