Thursday, October 15, 2009

Giants: Saints game notes and observations

Giants defense should not be afraid to use Gerris Wilkerson this week at times and utilize his speed in the pass defense.

Giants should also play a fair amount of nickel this week to defend the pass, even when it's not obvious passing down-and-distance. Webster will be 1-on-1 with Colston often which will free the other DBs to help on Shockey and Bush in the passing game. Giants will need a strong game from Terrell Thomas and Kevin Dockery. Obviously, the safeties have to play well.

Saints are apparently having a little injury difficulty at their LT position. It becomes very important for the Giants to exploit that and get pressure on Brees.

Eli is apparently very excited about playing in his hometown of New Orleans. (Or as excited as he can get.)

Eli jokes that he gets Darren Sharper nominated to the pro bowl every year by inflating his INT numbers. When Sharper gets inducted into the HOF, Eli should introduce him since he will have had so much to do with him getting there. Sharper had 4 INTs against Eli as a member of the Vikings and 2 returned for TDs.

As much as this Saints game is a tough test for the Giants defense, it will equally be a tough test for the Giants offense. You have to figure that even if the Giants defense plays well, the offense will need 28+ points to win the game. The Saints have been playing good defense this year under their new DC, Gregg Williams. By now, there should be enough film on the Saints defense that Gilbride can come up with a decent game plan. Gregg Williams had been the DC at Washington and the Giants played against his defense twice per year when they played the Redskins. I am sure there will be some wrinkles and of course there are different players, but at least it is a defense that the Giants are not completely unfamiliar with.

Realistically, this could be the game where the Giants long list of defensive injuries comes back to bite them. Remember that Canty, Boley, Ross, Phillips and Alford are all out. That is four starters and one player who was slated to get significant playing time and be in the regular DL rotation. Virtually every other defense in the NFL would completely fall apart if they lost close to 1/2 of their starter's playing time minutes. The fact that the Giants defense has not fallen apart is a testament to how good and deep they are but at some point this has to come back and hurt them. Perhaps it's against the powerful offenses and elite teams of the league that the defensive injuries have a negative impact.
Every expert I have seen so far is picking the Saints to win this week. (NFL Network Total Access; NFL Network Playbook; even Phil Simms on SHO network - Inside the NFL). It's hard to bet against it, with the Saints being at home.

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