Team Giants


Giants - Lions
Game 1 preview
Mon Sept 8, 7:10 PM - Giants at Detroit

Giants (0-0) vs Lions (0-0)
The Giants and Lions both finished up last season with 7-9 records. For whatever reason both these teams are playing in the opening prime time Monday night slot of our 2014 NFL season. You'll go back to 2011 to find when the Lions and Giants were last in the playoffs.
The Lions lost their wildcard game and the Giants won theirs and went on to win it all, but there's been nothing to spark any real national prime time excitement since then for either team. Maybe the NFL is trying to pump some life into these two underachievers by featuring them in the spotlight of Monday Night Football.

Detroit Lions
This was a beleaguered team with zero wins in 2008 when they hired on a new head coach, Jim Schwartz. He was the Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator from 2002 until getting his first shot at this head coaching position. Schwartz picked up two and then six wins in the following years and then finished up with a 10-6 record in 2011 to earn the Lions a wild card shot against the Saints, which they lost. Still, it was the first time since 1999 that the Detroit fans got to see their home team in a postseason game.
The team slumped to a 4-12 record the following year when by the end of the season nine starters were on injured reserve and three others were unable to play. Last season the Lions started out 6–3, but then dropped six of their next seven games to end the year at 7–9. That was it for Schwartz and he is now the defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills.
The Lions hired Jim Caldwell who was previously head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2009-11. He has recent Super Bowl experience and knows how to work with quarterbacks. Caldwell worked three seasons as quarterbacks coach before becoming assistant head coach. He's worked with Peyton Manning and Joe Flacco. Coach Caldwell feels that Matthew Stafford has what it takes to bring a championship to Detroit.

NY Giants
The Giants had their worst start since 1976 going 0-6 in 2013, but finished up by winning seven of the next ten games they played. They were 5-0 in preseason this year. So what are you worried about? Maybe it's what you saw watching the starters on the field working on the new West Coast offense. If what you see is what you get, then there are reasons for concerns. It's unlikely that the Lions will agree to switch to the second stringers if the Giants request it during regular season play.
To help themselves in the offseason the Giants took on a boat load of free agents. Unlike the Lions they kept the same head coach and during the draft selected mainly players who were team leaders in the college ranks. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride retired and was replaced by Ben McAdoo who coached tight ends and was the quarterbacks coach the last two seasons in Green Bay. The Giants also replaced longtime tight ends coach Michael Pope and Jerald Ingram, the running backs coach.

Detroit Lions Offense
Matthew Stafford had his best year in 2011 when he threw for over 5000 yards and 41 touchdowns. Last season Reggie Bush and Joique Bell certainly did their parts for the running game as well as providing nice targets for Stafford. Bush had over 1000 yards and he and Bell became the first pair of running backs in NFL history to gain more than 500 yards rushing and receiving. If that's not enough, they used their first round pick on pass catching tight end Eric Ebron to work with Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria.
Calvin Johnson is a top NFL receiver who averaged over 17 yards-per-catch last season. They also signed Golden Tate coming off a great season playing for the Super Bowl champion Seahawks. Caldwell and new quarterbacks coach Jim Bob Cooter worked with Peyton Manning and want to impart some of that before the snap decision making capability to Stafford. The line provides great blocking and protection and this offense should have another great year, especially if Stafford exercises proper judgment late in games.

Detroit Lions Defense
They are very good at stopping the run and bringing quarterback pressure, but that's where it ends. This defense is ranked below average in forcing turnovers and even worse at getting sacks. Jim Caldwell has brought in a new defensive coordinator. Teryl Austin coached the Baltimore Ravens secondary and that is where the Lions need the most improvement. However, the talent just might not be there.
Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and Ziggy Ansah will be working under a new defensive system and this could improve some inconsistencies up front, especially as the Lions seemed inclined in preseason to include some others as blitzers. All this will make it easier on their secondary. They signed James Ihedigbo as a strong safety which will allow Glover Quin to play free safety more. Veteran Rashean Mathis and Darius Slay, coming off his rookie year, should be the starting cornerbacks.

Giants offense.
The starting offensive line is still not settled and did not look particularly good in preseason play. They picked up Geoff Schwartz to start at guard, but he'll be out for a number of weeks. The tight end situation was never really addressed. Eli Manning could really use his number one draft pick on the field for this game, but receiver Odell Beckham Jr won't be playing. It would be nice to distract defenders from smothering Victor Cruz by presenting them with more challenges and that task will go to Rueben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan.
Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams will run the ball and they have looked good, but the Lions rushing defense was tough on running backs last year, actually ranking sixth in that area. This will be something that has to work for the Giants. The key in this game will be for the line to block, enabling Jennings and Williams to keep it coming, slowing down thoughts of a pass rush on Manning.

Giants defense.
Can these guys get to Matthew Stafford in this game? It seems doubtful as they're about as bad at that as their counterparts and the best man at that job, Justin Tuck, who had 11 of their 34 sacks last season, is no longer with the team. We've heard that Jason Pierre-Paul (2 sacks) is now one hundred percent healthy, and he believes in himself, and all that. Things would be better if linebacker Jon Beason hadn't missed all the preseason games because of his foot injury, but he is expected to play in the opener.
If the front guys can't deliver quarterback pressure then the secondary will be very busy. The good thing is that they might be up to the task, especially with the addition of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Prince Amukamara easily holds his own, as well as safety Antrel Rolle and Stevie Brown. Stafford will have to think twice even if he has time.

The Giants and Lions played each other in Detroit as recently as the next to last game of the 2013 season. The game went into overtime and the Giants came away with a 23-20 victory that mathematically eliminated any chance the Lions had of obtaining a playoff shot. The Lions, because of their losing ways over so many years, have had high draft picks pulled onto their roster. There's lots of talent on the team that will now be guided by a head coach and two coordinators who have had Super Bowl experience.
Both teams feel their quarterbacks will be better because of new coaching additions. Giant fans can look to the fact that the Giants held Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson in check the last time they played and now there's an improved defense. The Giants offensive line strength is just about the same as before, but the running game will be better. If Eli can avoid mistakes, then why can't they win this game?

NFC East
The Eagles will start their season at home playing against the Jaguars at 1pm Sunday, the same time that the Redskins play their away game in Houston with the Texans. Later at 4:25pm the Cowboys will host the 49ers. On Monday the Giants start at 7:10pm in Detroit against the Lions. The Eagles are the only NFC East team favored to win in these four match ups. Check out.
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Giants Eli Manning leads the league in interceptions (58) over the past three seasons.

Giants last year finished with their first losing season since going 6-10 in Tom Coughlin's first year (2004).

Giants former coach Mike Pope was the only coach to participate in each of the Giants’ five Super Bowls.

Lions Matthew Stafford is tied for second in the NFL in interceptions (52) over the past three seasons

Lions Matthew Stafford is second in the NFL in completions (1,227) over the past three seasons

Lions Matthew Stafford is second in the NFL in passing yards (14,655) over the past three seasons.

Lions last prime time season opener was Sunday Night Football in 1991. They lost to the Redskins 45-0.
Next Games
Sept 14- Cardinals at Giants.
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Sept 21- Texans at Giants.
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