Giants secondary vs. Lions receivers
Despite a 4-0 record, the Giants’ preseason wasn’t always pretty. One bright spot, however, was the play of the team’s secondary. The unit has been seriously revamped between the end of the 2013 campaign and now. The additions of Dominqiue Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond help form a deep and athletic unit that has the ability to keep the Giants in this game even if the offense continues to struggle.
On the other hand, even the best defensive backs have trouble with Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, who is widely considered the best receiver in the game today. With top-end speed, leaping ability, and ball skills, Johnson is usually more than any defender can handle one-on-one. The Giants will probably double team Johnson whenever possible and take their chances with Golden Tate and Ryan Broyles in one-on-one situations.
Can the offense get back on track?
The Giants did get some impressive quarterback play in the preseason, but most of that came from backup Ryan Nassib. Eli Manning, on the other hand, had trouble getting on track. Whether Manning’s struggles were due to issues with the new Ben McAdoo offense or just the same communication problems that plagued last year’s squad is not certain. What we do know is that the Giants’ offense will be in trouble if Manning and the receivers do not improve their play starting on Monday night against a Lions team that is known to be vulnerable through the air.
Who gets the carries?
Even if the passing game does get on track, the Giants aren’t a team that wants to throw the ball all the time. Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams both looked solid in the preseason, so how will the carries be shared when the games start to count? Jennings is clearly the guy the Giants want on the field in passing situations, but Williams could get more of a burst on first and second down. Right now, Jennings is the starter, but he could be shifted into more of a third-down role if the veteran struggles with early down work.