David Roth, The Wall Street Journal: The Giants are wracked by injuries along the offensive line and at wide receiver, swapping out the explosive but fumble-prone Ahmad Bradshaw for the enigmatic Brandon Jacobs at running back and coming off a pair of frustrating, mistake-filled losses. Whether this means they’re primed for a bounce-back against a just-good-enough Jacksonville squad or ready for a second-half swoon is hard to know, although your more fatalistic Giants fans are already making “They were never that good” noises. This less-fatalistic Giants fan doesn’t know quite what type of noise to make, although I suspect I’ll know better after this week. As division leaders go, the Jaguars don’t seem all that intimidating. With the exception of an October win over the Colts, they haven’t beaten a single winning team en route to their 6-4 record. They run the ball hard and control the clock well, but Jacksonville is also yielding 27 points and a whopping 376.8 yards per game. So I’ll go with “primed for a bounce-back,” even while my inner fatalist fan’s noises grow louder.
Mike Tanier, NY Times: While you wrap your brain around the fact that the Jaguars are in first place, reflect for a moment upon the Giants’ short-lived reign as the best team in the N.F.C. Back-to-back divisional losses exposed major weaknesses: a secondary that allows receivers to get open over the middle too easily and an offense that thinks it needs to commit a minimum of three turnovers to have its parking validated. It’s a good thing the Giants’ defense is stingy on third down (opponents are 7 of 43 on conversions in the last four games) and in the red zone (allowing just two touchdowns in the last 10 trips); otherwise, they would give up over 30 points per game. An injury rash at wide receiver had the team kicking tires on every irregulars-rack wideout from Michael Clayton (signed midweek) to Kevin Curtis. Phil McConkey was seen running extra hard on a treadmill recently, but that may just have been a coincidence. The Jaguars have rushed for over 145 yards in each of their last three games. Receiver Mike Sims-Walker is injured, but David Garrard has been spreading the ball to other targets efficiently. That easy win you circled when the schedule was released no longer looks very easy, though it should still be a win.
USA TODAY: Giants RB Brandon Jacobs has five TDs in his last seven games and starts in place of fumble-prone Ahmad Bradshaw. Jacobs will get the majority of the work facing a reinvigorated Jaguars run defense, albeit one consistently blitzing to fill running lanes. If the blitz is picked up, QB Eli Manning could dice up Jacksonville's secondary even with Mario Manningham the No. 1 receiver minus injured Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith. The Jaguars are putting up 26 points a game on the road. That won't happen if they don't help their offensive tackles stave off the Giants' front four (17 sacks in five home games). RB Maurice Jones-Drew goes for a fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game, and the Giants allowed 5.7 yards per carry last week.