NY Giants ( 6-3) at Detroit (6-3)

New York Giants Defense
9th Ranked against the Run
9th Ranked against the Pass
New York Giants Offense
6th Ranked in Rushing
20th Ranked in Passing

Detroit Lions Defense
8th Ranked against the Run
30th Ranked against the Pass
Detroit Lions Offense
29th Ranked in Rushing
9th Ranked in Passing

The Giants are a classic NFL formula; a strong running team with a couple of good receivers who can help out on third and long, and a solid defense which has traditionally been the hallmark of championship teams. The Lions are the quasi newer age football team, focused on passing and outscoring their opponents as the primary strategy and rushing to fill in the gaps, but they have also developed a solid rushing defense this year. Thus you would expect New Yorks running game to be balanced by the Lions defensive line, and the Lions powerful passing offense to be controlled by the Giants 9th ranked pass defense.

But when looking at the weaker part of each teams offense, the Giants clearly have a better passing game than Detroit has a running game. In last week’s game between the Giants and Dallas, the Cowboys attention had been trained on Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress. Dallas did contain Burress effectively to stop any long gains, but Giants quarterback Eli Manning found tight end Jeremy Shockey open all day long. Remember also that Manning has 14 touchdown passes putting him in the top ten NFL quarterbacks in that category. By contrast, Detroit’s ground game is in serious trouble. Lions running back Kevin Jones has been bothered by an ankle injury, and last week Detroit turned in the NFL’s worst rushing performance in decades; negative 18 yards on the ground.

The Lions are liable to blitz Manning to interrupt his passing game, and the Detroit secondary which leads the NFL in interceptions will try to keep a lid on Manning as well. All in all however, absent any kind of running threat from Detroit the pressure by the Giants defensive line on Lions QB John Kitna should prove disruptive enough to keep Detroit from running up the score. No team in the NFL has more sacks than the Giants this season, and no quarterback in the league has been sacked more this year than Kitna.

The recent success between Manning and Shockey should give the Giants the confidence to put together a decent short passing game to supplement the run, and using running back Brandon Jacobs New York should be able to grind it out on the ground, keep Kitna off the field and outscore the Lions.

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