One more observation about the Texans game is that the ST play was better than it had been all year. This was the first game that the Giants did not give up a long KO or punt return and put the defense in a serious disadvantage. The KO coverage was very good and Texans have good team speed and good return men, so this was a good accomplishment. There are a few reasons for the improved kick coverage. First, Blackburn came back from injury and he is one of the best ST players the Giants have. Second, JPP is starting to understand the ST coverage lanes and responsibilities, which is very important since he can be an absolute killer on ST with his great size, speed and athleticism. Third, the ST coach must have had a fire lit under him by the poor play up until now (the midseason firing of the Miami ST coach after the disaster there a few weeks ago was probably a great motivator). The coach was able to sell this motivation to the players. (Speaking of poor ST coaches - did you see what happened to the Chargers last week - they had a bunch of kicks blocked and it cost them the game.) Finally, it looks to me like the Giants used a few starters on ST - better athletes means better coverage. I thought I saw Boley and Grant on ST - it is hard to tell on TV.
Dodge was replaced by Rosenfels as holder, which was recommended right here on this blog last week. Rosenfels did well, pulling down one high snap and always getting the laces out (just as Lawrence Tynes and Ray Finkel prefer). Dodge did a little better with his punts, but still missed too many to make me feel confident. he does have a big leg, so when he gets into one, it really sails. But this is not baseball - 1 for 3 is not good enough. My analogy is to a shooting guard in basketball. I don't want a shooting guard who can make a really amazing loooooong 3 point shot as the buzzer expires, once every 4 or 5 games. I want a point guard that will hit 80% of his open 17 foot jump shots. It's nice to have punter than can nail a 60 yarder every so often, but I would rather have someone get 40-45 with good hang time every time
The Lions will not be the pushover that everyone thinks they will be or as indicated by the 10 point spread. The Lions have been in every game this year despite being 1-4. They have a great, speedy RB in Jahvid Best and a freak of an athlete at WR in Calvin Johnson. They also have a great kick returner and we know that the Giants have been weak at ST much of the season. Their offense is really good, even though they have a somewhat shaky OL. If the Giants can take advantage of their OL, they can keep the Lions strong skill position players in check. But if not, the Lions could put some points up on the board. The Lions do have a shaky defense, so the Giants should be productive on offense. But the new DT the Lions drafted, Suh, is apparently everything that was predicted of him. Look for the Giants to double team him in the middle, run outside a bit more than usual and challenge the Lions with their passing game.