The offense has been given a rough time from the media this summer and, in all fairness, they deserve it. New OC Ben McAdoo is having trouble spoon-feeding and force-feeding his new plan to QB Eli Manning and Co and it certainly looks as if they're not ready for prime time. They can solve their problem by taking control of the line of scrimmage and running ball with authority like they did in preseason.
That won't be easy, however. Detroit has perhaps the best DT tandem in the NFL in Ndamakong Suh and Nick Fairley and MLB Stephen Tulloch is a stalwart at the next level. Running up the middle against the Lions looks to be an impossible task. C JD Walton is playing his first regular season game in nearly two years. LG Weston Richburg is a rookie and the RG, Brandon Mosley, has only one career start. If he can't go, John Jerry, nee of BullyGate will. Can anyone say mismatch? No one in their right mind can expect the Giants to rule the trenches on offense tonight.
Dedicating themselves to the run could set up the play action game. But will the Giants have the discipline or the latitude to do that? If they are 2-3 TDs behind, that's all out the window. The Giants may have to mix things up and hope to use the Lions' aggression against them, but with from what we've seen, they haven't been able to get much continuity and therefore have not looked sharp enough to take advantage of the opponents' weaknesses.
McAdoo is very familiar with the Lions having been at Green Bay the last eight years and facing them twice annually. He has said this week he believes the offense is ready to click, so he may surprise us by opening things up a bit, but many feel it's not a wise decision to get into a shootout with the Lions at Ford Field. Establish the run and work from there.
What the Giants need tonight is some legitimate help from their defense and special teams. When you play the Lions, it's all about trying corral Megatron - Calvin Johnson- arguably the best wide receiver in all of football. QB Matthew Stafford will eye him first and foremost, so the Giants must try to get into Stafford's kitchen to get him to check down to another option.
Those other options are almost as deadly: RBs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, WR Golden Tate and TEs Brandon Pettigrew and Joseph Fauria. The defense will have hands full tonight, that is why they must focus on creating turnovers and forcing the Lions into errors. That is how most teams find success against Detroit.
Prediction: Unless the Giants show us a complete 180 degree turnaround on offense and play some shut-down defense in the secondary, they won't win this game. They'll need to match the Lions big play for big play, and that seems hard to envision right now.
I'm taking the Lions here, 24-20. They won't win, but I think they'll keep it close.