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Giants - Lions
Game 2 preview
Monday Sept 18, 8:30 PM - Lions at Giants

Giants (0-1) vs Lions (1-0)
Last week the Lions treated their opening day fans to a comeback victory over the Cardinals. Down 10-0 at the start, the Lions, trailing by 2 going into the fourth quarter, scored three touchdowns for a 35-23 win.
The Giants couldn't get their act together and managed to score just 3 points in their season opener. The final score was a disappointing 19-3 loss to the Cowboys.
Giants - Cowboys Wrap-Up

Detroit Lions
Late last year the Lions were on their way to winning their first division championship in 23 years. They were on a five game winning streak, and held a two game lead in the NFC North with just three games left to play. The Lions lost each one starting with the Giants, then Dallas and Green Bay. Their nine wins still earned them a wild card shot, but they were no match for Seattle who beat them 26-6.
Since last season the Lions fans have been on the edge of their seats watching their team play. In eight of their nine wins last season the Lions trailed in the fourth quarter. They picked up right where they left off in the opener last week with a come from behind victory against Arizona. A lot of that comes from having Matthew Stafford as their quarterback, and just before the season started, Stafford became the highest paid player in NFL history with the Lions signing him to a five year deal.

Detroit Lions Offense
Matthew Stafford was hampered the last time he faced the Giants. He had suffered torn ligaments and a dislocated middle finger on his throwing hand in his previous game with the Bears. Stafford played in the game with the Giants while wearing a modified glove. His top running back at the time with Ameer Abdullah out, was Theo Riddick who was also out with a wrist injury. The Giants won't be so lucky this time. In fact the Lions have a new addition, third-round pick Kenny Golladay. The rookie had a very impressive first game with Stafford throwing two touchdown passes to him in the fourth quarter.
Detroit's top receiver for three years running, Golden Tate, was no slouch either, pulling in 10 catches for 107 yards. Running back Riddick was used mostly as a receiver, and he had 1 touchdown catch. The Lions passing game looks intact, and like the Giants, their weakness now for a few years running is on the ground. Last Sunday running back Ameer Abdullah averaged just 2 yards a carry on 15 attempts, and the team finished with a total of 82 yards for the game.

Detroit Lions Defense
The defense got off to a great start last week. They returned to top form, holding the Cardinals to just 45 yards on the ground. Cardinals running back David Johnson rushed for just 23 yards on 11 carries before having to leave the game with a wrist injury. The Lions had been the top team in run defense in 2014, but then slipped to below average for the past two years. They may be back.
The same could be said for interceptions. They were near the top in 2014, and dropped closer to the bottom after that. They picked off Carson Palmer three times, returning one for a score. Three different players in the secondary were responsible for those interceptions, Glover Quin, Tavon Wilson, and Miles Killebrew. They are playing heads up football. Along that line I have to mention that second year defensive end Anthony Zette came up real strong with his gameplay, and he had the one sack for the team on the day.

Giants Offense
The Giants offense was a big letdown last week, and we found out later that right tackle Bobby Hart was hurt early on during the game. The news this week on Hart, and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. has not been encouraging. Will Eli Manning have enough protection and options available if they both don't play or are on the field playing at half speed? More to the point, last week Manning was unable to make a meaningful connection with new receiver Brandon Marshall. Even with Beckham off the field, Marshall was targeted only four times in the game, and he had one 10-yard meaningless catch as time expired. That can't continue to happen if the Giants expect to put points up on the board.
Most of Manning's passes went to Shane Vereen (10) and Sterling Shepard (8), and though they caught 16 of them the average was just under 6 yards a catch. In his first outing, tight end rookie Evan Engram had four catches for 44 yards, taking one for 31 yards. Running backs Paul Perkins and Orleans Darkwa carried the ball just 10 times for 30 yards, that thanks only to one 12-yard breakout by Darkwa. The only thing this offense has going for it is the one learning experience from last week, and maybe getting to play an easier up front defense this week.

Giants Defense
The unit shook off a lot of offseason rust with the amount of playing time they had on the field last week. The Giants offense gave them very few breaks and partially due to that, middle linebacker B.J. Goodson had 18 total tackles in his first NFL start to lead the league for the week. This defense is capable of bottling up the run, even though the stats will show that Ezekiel Elliott, with an inordinate amount of playing time, hit them for 104 yards on the ground.
The bigger problem is Matthew Stafford being efficient with his passes no matter who he throws to. Golden Tate sees a lot coming his way, and he had to have his left ring finger in a splint following his productive game last week, but watch out if he catches the ball. Tate's yards after the catch for the past few years has had hiim at the top in the NFL. C
ornerbacks Eli Apple and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and safety Landon Collins will have to play at their best to contain this group.

Overall
Last week all the teams took to the field for the first time to start off the 2017 season. It can be tricky to face real competition as many of those teams found out. The Lions got off to a slow start on offense, but they improved as the game progressed and finished strong. The Giants offense on the other hand, got off to a slow start and played that way for the entire game. The Giants defense played tough enough to show they are still the real deal.
The Giants playing in this first home game of the season, where they will be celebrating the anniversary of the 2007 winning Super Bowl team with some members present, don't dare to lose. I'm an analyst first and a fan second, but I have to flip that this week and pick the Giants to win over Detroit.

NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm Eagles (1-0) at Chiefs (1-0)
Sunday at 4:25pm Cowboys (1-0) at Broncos (1-0)
Sunday at 4:25pm Redskins (0-1) at Rams (1-0)
Monday at 8:30pm Lions (1-0) at Giants (0-1)
The Giants and Cowboys are the NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
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Notes.
Giants at halftime will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the 2007 team that won Super Bowl XLII.

Giants have won four of the past five games with the Lions.

Lions 8 fourth-quarter comeback wins in 2016 were the most by a team in a single season in NFL history.

Lions Golden Tate is one of four NFL players who have caught 90-plus passes each of the past 3 seasons.

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Next Games
Sept 24 - Giants at Eagles.
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Oct 1 Giants at Tampa Bay.
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