New York Giants vs. New Orleans Saints: Week 14 Pick and Preview
The New York Giants and New Orleans Saints present week 14 with one of the most intriguing NFL matchups. Both teams have playoff aspirations and a loss for either team would be a tremendous blow.
At 5-7, the Saints need to basically run the table of their remaining schedule to have a realistic shot. The division has been wrapped up by the powerful Atlanta Falcons so a wild card berth is the best the Saints can do.
The Saints have made easy work of the Giants; playing twice in the 2009 and 2011 seasons. Both of those games were dominant efforts by the Saints offense. QB Drew Brees and the high octane pass-heavy offense put up 48 and 49 points against the Giants in those two contests.
This time around, the Giants defense can expect more of the same pass heavy attack. I’d expect WR Marques Colston and TE Jimmy Graham to be major factors. The Giants have been suspect in the secondary all season and Graham is so tough for any linebacker or cornerback to match up against. The only way New York can neutralize that and limit their production is to get their pass rush going with Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. If the front of the Giants defense can get to Brees, the Giants will be in the game. This will be a key matchup to watch.
When the Giants are on offense, QB Eli Manning will be the ultimate key. The Saints don’t have what would be considered a top defense but they can pose some problems. If Eli can read the Saints defense well in terms of blitzes and coverage, then I think the Giants have a chance to put up points with the Saints and turn it into a shootout.
The Saints can be run on and I’d expect RB Ahmad Bradshaw to get a heavy workload. If Bradshaw gets going and can find holes then I see the Saints being beat. With an established running game the Giants can be lethal with play-action. WR’s Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, along with a rejuvenated TE Martellus Bennett, would have their way in the secondary. If that happens, the Giants are unstoppable.
PREDICTION: As stated, this is a must-win for both teams. I would expect a high scoring shootout and I think the Giants will win by a field goal in the closing seconds. This is definitely a “whoever has the ball last” type of matchup. I think the Giants defensive front is the difference; getting to Brees just enough to cause a turnover or two. Lawrence Tynes wins the game on a 44 yard field goal with 4 seconds to go.