Giants (1-0) vs Saints (0-1)
Last week In the third quarter, the Raiders were down by 14 points. Later, closing
the gap to five, they went for a two point conversion that failed. So the Raiders
were down by eight when the Saints added a field goal. After scoring a touchdown,
the Raiders two point attempt worked to tie the score. The Saints scored another
touchdown to go up by seven, and then the Raiders scored one of their own. Sticking
by their guns (swords?) they went for two and won the game by one point, 35-34.
The Giants were playing in Dallas and they won their opener for the first
time since 2010. With Tony Romo out, the Cowboys started rookie quarterback Dak
Prescott. He and his offense showed good ball control throughout the game scoring
one touchdown and four field goals. The Giants offense came up with three touchdowns
and had one missed point after attempt. That was enough to give new head coach
Ben McAdoo his first win, 20-19.
On offense the Saints can get things
done and have been getting it done for a number of years. On defense, well not
so much over the past few two years, with the exception of 2013. That's when their
new defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, coached them from last place - 32nd to 4th
in just one year. They've dropped back down and now with Ryan gone, Dennis Allen
moved up to run the defense.
The Saints offense has finished in the top ten
for 11 consecutive seasons and they're off to a great start once again. Quarterback
Drew Brees has been with the team since 2006 and has thrown for more than 4000
yards in every single year (low to high: 4,388 - 5,476 yards).
has been the head coach with the Saints all that time, except for the 2012 season
(Bountygate). His appeal was denied. Payton, who was once demoted from play-calling
by Jim Fassel, recently signed a five-year $45 million contract extension, and
says he hopes to finish his career with the Saints.
week Drew Brees connected with Brandin Cooks for a 98 yard touchdown, the longest
of his career. He threw four touchdowns in all, and with two field goals, the
Saints had 34 points. That should be enough to win a football game with Brees
and his offense gaining 507 total yards, more yards than any other NFL team logged
last week. It looks like once again this year the offense will have to carry their
defense. Last game against the Giants, Brees threw for 505 yards and had 7 touchdown
passes, so he's up to the task if the Giants allow it.
with an offense built for passing, took advantage of the Raiders secondary and
targeted his receivers. Willie Snead caught all nine passes (172 yards, 2nd highest
in week 1) and had 1 touchdown. Brandin Cooks had 2 touchdown catches (143 yards,
3rd highest). The Saints do also run the ball at times. Last week it was 43 passes
and 22 runs. Running back Mark Ingram averaged 4.8 yards on his 12 carries, and
targeted twice, caught both passes for 29 yards. Some criticized the Saints for
not running the ball after they established a big lead over the Raiders in that
Saints defense finished just ahead of the Giants in the rankings last year. Yes,
that's how bad they were, except for points allowed where they were even worse.
The Saints hope to improve over last year's
results with their free agents and draft picks, and it's been only one game, but
so far, not so good. Last week the Saints defense gave up 35 points to the Raiders,
which is actually 3 points higher than their average per game last year.
add to that they lost cornerback Delvin Breaux to a leg injury. Breaux was top
notch last year against most receivers except for Odell Beckham Jr. Now in his
second year, he was likely looking forward to this rematch with the Giants. The
Saints, with their secondary weakened, will probably try more pass rushing and
blitzing. The Giants offensive line looked terrible in preseason, and though they
held up well last week, the Saints will be anxious to test the right side to see
what they can do.
Defensive end Cam Jordan is their best pass rusher, and
their rookie top pick, Sheldon Rankins, chosen for those skills, has been out
since training camp with a broken fibula. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is out again
for this game. Free agent pickup Craig Robertson started and played well, with
one quarterback hit and one pass defensed. Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis
was a great free agent pick up and safety Jairus Byrd is healthy this year. He
has 23 career interceptions, and safety Kenny
Vaccaro can become a top safety the way he's been playing.
Manning passed for 350 yards and six touchdowns last time against the Saints.
One went to Shane Vereen, two to Dwayne Harris, and three to Odell Beckham Jr.
Now Manning has Victor Cruz and rookie Sterling
Shepard at his disposal, and both showed they are more than game ready, each pulling
in touchdowns last week. It's all very tempting with the Saints at a disadvantage
in the secondary, their top cover corner sidelined. The trouble is as soon as
Manning's off the field, Drew Brees is back on, and the Giants were off the field
a lot last week.
control and making first downs was one of their problems. The Giants time of possession
was just 23:17. They ran 54 offensive plays, and that was 21 fewer than the Cowboys.
Do you want to give Brees 21 more plays? Heck no, you want to keep
Brees on the sidelines as much as possible. Last
week Rashad Jennings rushed for 75 yards and Vereen rushed for 38 yards, so there's
a plan. Saying all this, why do I feel like I'll still see a lot of passes being
Despite the fact that the Saints offensive
line let Drew Brees get slammed for a sack fumble on the third play of the opening
game, that was the only sack they allowed. They settled in, and Brees used his
skills to get rid of the ball fast to neutralize the Raiders pass rush. Their
offensive line is not as good as what the Giants faced last week against the Cowboys.
Would you rather face a first ranked offensive line fielding a rookie quarterback
(Dak Prescott) and running back (Ezekiel Elliott),
or an eight ranked line with a great quarterback (Brees) and a top running back
Obviously the Giants get no choice in the matter, and it will be
interesting to see this outcome. They're might see more of running back Mark Ingram
(4.3 career average yards per carry) than they expect to slow down any pass rushing
thoughts. Last year Ingram ran for seven first downs on them.
missed some practice this week because of shoulder problems, but he is expected
to play. Pierre-Paul will team with Olivier Vernon to get pressure on Brees. Safety
Landon Collins and cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and the whole secondary know to
be alert. Last time against the Saints, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had an interception
and he forced one fumble.
Gras may exist in New Orleans, but you know it don't come easy for the Saints
when they're not in the Superdome. This week it's especially so as the Saints
will be without their best cornerback while facing a talented group of receivers.
The Giants offense should find some nice opportunities, and if they play as they
did last week, they should have success.
Both teams defenses finished at the
bottom last season. Last week the Giants showed improvement and the Saints did
not. That said, after one game both are still looking for their first sack and
takeaway. The offenses were getting all the headlines during the week, but the
way these defenses play could have a much bigger impact on the results of this
NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm Saints (0-1) at Giants (1-0).
at 4:25pm Cowboys (0-1) at Redskins (0-1).
Monday at 8:30pm Eagles (1-0) at
The Giants and Redskins are favored to win in these games.
Giants Ben McAdoo will coach
his first home game as the Giants head coach.
Rashad Jennings leads the NFL in rushing yards (507) and runs of 10 yards or more
(15) over the last five regular-season games.
have a chance to start a season at 2-0. Last time was in 2009 when they won the
Giants lost last year to
the Saints 52-49.
Giants and Saints have
played four consecutive games where the winner scored at least 48 points each
time, an NFL record.
Saints have finished 7-9 over
the last two seasons despite having the 1st and 2nd ranked offense.
Drew Brees, 37 years old, is in his 16th season and is the NFL's oldest starting
Saints Drew Brees needs
36 yards this week to move past Marino’s 61,361 yards.
Drew Brees has thrown 432 touchdowns, and been to 7 Pro Bowls and has one Super
Saints running back Mark Ingram's
father (Mark Ingram Sr) was a wide receiver for the Giants for six years.
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Sept 25 - Redskins at Giants.
Oct 3 - Giants at Minnesota.
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