Team Giants


Giants - Lions
Game 14 preview
Sunday Dec 18, 1:00 PM - Lions at Giants

Giants (9-4) vs Lions (9-4)
It was another come from behind win for the Lions in their game with the Bears last Sunday. Detroit has now won their last 5 games in a row with that 20-17 score over the Bears.
The Cowboys had lost just one game this year, and it was to the Giants in the season opener. They built up an impressive 11-1 record, but the Giants took them down again in the rematch, winning with a 10-7 score.
Giants - Cowboys Wrap-Up

Detroit Lions
Jim Caldwell had been the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2009-11. Caldwell worked three seasons as a quarterbacks coach before becoming an assistant head coach, and has worked with Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco, and now Matthew Stafford for three years. Caldwell became the head coach of the Lions in 2014, and got the team off an 11-5 record in his first year, and into the playoffs as a wildcard, but they were one and done.
Last year they were struggling with a 1-7 record, but things changed when they promoted Jim Bob Cooter, the team’s quarterbacks coach, to offensive coordinator. With Cooter calling the plays they went 6-2 over their last eight games. If not for a 20-13 loss to the Houston Texans a few weeks back, they would currently be on a nine game win streak. The Lions currently have the lead in the NFC North division with three games left to play.

Detroit Lions Offense
Matthew Stafford suffered torn ligaments and a dislocated middle finger on his throwing hand in the first quarter of the Bears game last Sunday. He's had one week of practice to determine the effects of the injury and how to adjust to it. Stafford threw two interceptions while trying to play through the injury last week, and when faced with a 2nd and goal at the Bears 7 yard line, he opted to run the ball into the endzone for their go ahead score. Whatever style protective glove he chooses to use, the passing game should be affected, at least for the deeper throws.
That won't stop Stafford from trying to get the ball in the hands of his favorite target, Golden Tate, who leads the league with his 516 yards after the catch. Anquan Boldin is the next leading receiver, followed by running back Theo Riddick. They were without Riddick last week against the Bears, with wrist and ankle injuries, and he is listed as doubtful on the injury report. Another running back, Zach Zenner, is returning from a concussion and is questionable. That leaves rookie Dwayne Washington, who ran for a career-high 64 yards last week.

Detroit Lions Defense
This unit can get pressure on a quarterback, and their best at it is defensive end Ziggy Ansah. Actually getting to him for a sack has been their problem. Last year they had 43, and that tied them for second. So far, they have just 22, putting them second-to-last in the league. Kerry Hyder leads the team with eight of those sacks, and was a nice surprise for the Lions. After being on the Jets practice squad in 2014, and doing the same for the Lions in 2015, he's played in every game this season. Tackle Haloti Ngata is their big run stopper, and the Lions haven't allowed a team to top 100 yards rushing this season, except for their loss in Week 8 to the Texans.
In the secondary they are aware that without a big pass rush they have to be alert. Darius Slay is their top cornerback and will keep an eye on Odell Beckham Jr. At free safety, Glover Quin is one of the best at preventing deep throws. The Lions have allowed only six passing plays of 40 yards or more, to help hold teams to less than 21 points a game.
Overall this defense will give you some yards, but they buckle down when it comes to points, and they have had six interceptions in the final two minutes of games this season.

Giants offense
Left guard Justin Pugh will be back for this game, coming off of a knee injury that had him missing the last five. The Giants offensive line can use some help, as they are slumping in total yardage, especially in the running area, where they average less than 80 yards a game. Last week the rushing game averaged only 2.8 yards per carry, and Manning continues to look totally uncomfortable in the pocket. He threw an interception and lost two fumbles. The passing yardage is sinking, and Manning hasn't thrown for over 200 yards in the last three games. Ereck Flowers might catch a break this week. Lions defensive end Ezekiel Ansah had 14.5 sacks in 2015, but is still looking for his first, after dealing with a lingering ankle injury, and now a shoulder sting he suffered last week.
Running back Rashad Jennings leads the team with 459 yards rushing, and Shane Vereen was cleared from his concussion protocol and is expected to play against the Lions. Having Vereen on the field is a big help, especially with Manning having problems getting the ball to Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard. Of course they'll be calling on Odell Beckham Jr. to do the heavy lifting. He leads the league with six catches of at least 40 yards or more. The offense will move Beckham into the slot and to both sidelines to find the best matchups for missed coverages.

Giants defense
Jason Pierre-Paul will be out for the rest of the regular season, and undrafted rookie Romeo Okwara stepped in as his replacement, and did a fine job. Okwara recorded eight tackles, three quarterback hits, one sack, and one pass defensed. They did well against the Cowboys and quarterback Dak Prescott, who they sacked three times. Overall they forced three turnovers and held Dallas to 260 total yards.
The Giants are the NFL's eighth-ranked rushing defense, and this week they're up against the Lions, with a poor running game even when they are healthy. Lions receivers Golden Tate, Anquan Boldin and tight end Eric Ebron always present a challenge, and Marvin Jones, averaging better than 17 yards a reception, is a deep threat, but with Stafford playing with a hampered throwing hand, it's hard to imagine many plays going his way.

Winning the division is a long shot, but it all starts with the Giants beating Detroit. If the Cowboys don't continue to falter, winning here still puts them in good contention for a playoff spot. Matthew Stafford won't be playing at a hundred percent with his throwing hand issues. You also can't forget that he's the third leading rusher in yardage on his team. It's hard to imagine him being anxious to take any additional hits in his current condition. The Giants defense has been playing strongly, and they should win in their last regular season home game on Sunday.

NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm Eagles (5-8) at Ravens (7-6)
Sunday at 1:00pm Lions (9-4) at Giants (9-4)
Sunday at 8:30pm Buccaneers (8-5) at Cowboys (11-2)
Monday at 8:30pm Panthers (5-8) at Redskins (7-5-1)
The Giants, Redskins and Cowboys are the NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
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Dec 22 - Giants at Eagles.
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Jan 1 Giants at Redskins.
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