Behind Enemy Lines: New York Giants

Jets reporter Chris Nimbley goes behind enemy lines to ask The Giants Beat's Josh Fyffe five burning questions about the Giants.

Chris Nimbley | Jets Reporter

 

1 - ODB... But who else?

 

Josh Fyffe | TheGiantsBeat.com

Of course the matchup everyone will want to talk about will be between ODB (I know he hates that nickname but I will never not call him that and I say that with respect) and Darrelle Revis. But it doesn't look like Revis will play this week as he still hasn't passed the first stage of the concussion protocol from the concussion he suffered two weeks ago against the Texans. This would obviously take away a phenomenal matchup but it would only shift the discussion squarely onto Beckham's shoulders.

Making matters worse for the Jets Marcus Williams, who replaced Revis last week and got his fifth interception of the season despite not getting many starters reps, hurt his knee against the Dolphins and is considered day-to-day. 

 

The entire football world is aware of just how good ODB is, but who else do the Giants have that could possibly scare the Jets? Victor Cruz is out, it just never clicked for Rueben Randle, the tight end situation with the Giants somehow appears worse than with the Jets and while Shane Vereen remains a solid receiver out of the backfield it doesn't seem, at least from afar, that's he's had the impact the Giants were hoping for.

Chris Nimbley | Jets Reporter

 

So, if the Jets roll their coverage to take away ODB who else can Eli possibly rely on to get open and catch the ball?

 

Odell Beckham Jr. is without a doubt the Giants best offensive weapon however there have been active contributors around him throughout the season.  While Randle hasn’t been able to emerge as a dominant number two wide receiver this season, he has still notched over 500 yards and 4 touchdowns but the expectations were higher for the LSU alum coming into 2015.


One player who has exceed their expectations is Dwayne Harris. Aside from being an impactful force on special teams, the fifth year pro has already almost doubled his career receiving yardage this season alone and is currently second on the team in TD’s score. Despite a drop last week that led into an early game reception against the Redskins, Harris should be back on his feet this week ready go in the slot.

 

Shane Vereen also has been a consistent offensive contributor for the Giants in 2015, accumulating over 500 yards of offense on the season. However the Giants are orienting this week’s game plan of maintaining a balanced offense, so despite the Jets top ranked rush defense, don’t expect Manning to try to win it just with his arm.

Chris Nimbley | Jets Reporter

 

2 - OL

 

What is going on with the Giants offensive line? Obviously injuries are taking their toll but the unit seems to be in absolute despair right now. I know they might get some guys backs this week but can the Giants realistically have any confidence in the line they'll trot out Sunday to be able to handle the Jets defensive front?

Josh Fyffe | TheGiantsBeat.com

 

Also the Giants are the 28th rushing attack in the league, running for only 89.4 yards per game at 3.7 yards per attempt, how much of those struggles fall on the offensive line problems and how much blame goes to the running backs? 

 

Both left guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg are looking to return to action this week against the Jets and both are having pro bowl caliber seasons when they have been healthy. However right tackle Marshall Newhouse is still now a questionable according to offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and will be a game time decision.

 

The injuries accumulated over the course of the season have been debilitating for the Giants in 2015, however the organization has fully embodied a next man up mentality. McAdoo even stated “you go with who’s healthy and you go out and play at the highest level of the five guys up front. If two of them happen to be rookies and they happen to be side by side, we’ll go play.” McAdoo isn’t averse and has full confidence playing inexperienced players on the line if he believes they are the best players available.

 

Regarding the rushing woes, while the line is easy to blame as a prominent scape goat, an equal amount of blame should be shouldered by the Giants’ running backs. For the Giants offense to fully click, they need to get the ground game churning and it has been an emphasis in practice throughout the week. Don’t expect the Giants to shy away from the run even if they are only getting minimal gains.

 

3 - JPP

Chris Nimbley | Jets Reporter

 

Fourth of July fireworks and missing appendages led to loss of a lot of money and a Giants defense sorely missing their best defensive player for most of the season, but how much impact has he had since his return? How has he played, specifically, but also has there been a tangible improvement in the defense as a whole since he returned?

 

JPP adds depth to the defensive line and improves the play of everyone around him. JPP has yet to record a fully registered sack (he did get to Brady but it was called back on a penalty), but has garnered an ample amount of double teams freeing up others on the offensive line to get pressure on opposing QBs.

 

JPP’s presence can be better felt an indirect impact, however he is still not the same player that won the super bowl in 2011. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said in a press conference that he believes that JPP can still return to his peak form, and he has seen growth in his game each week since his debut three games ago.

 

The Giants haven’t recorded an increase in sacks since the star defensive ends return, but they are a deeper unit with his presence and basically held the Patriots to 20 points just two weeks ago.

Chris Nimbley | Jets Reporter

 

4 - More troubling, stopping the run or the pass?

 

Aside from creating turnovers (Giants are tied with the Jets for second most forced turnovers at 22) the Giants defense has not been good. They rank 19th in rushing defense, allowing 110.5 yards per game on 4.0 yards per carry and rank dead last against the pass allowing 309 yards per game on 7.9 yards per attempt. Going into a game against the Jets, what should worry the Giants the most? Stopping Chris Ivory and the running game or getting beat downfield by Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker?

Josh Fyffe | TheGiantsBeat.com

 

Will the Giants do what every other team the Jets have played the past few months and stack the box to stop the run? Or will they shy away from doing that because they have the 32nd ranked pass defense in the NFL?

Chris Nimbley | Jets Reporter

 

ODB will get all the attention and the hype, deservingly so, but can the Giants stop Marshall? Will they stick DRC on him one-on-one or give him help? Or will they put DRC on Decker and give Prince safety help on Marshall? Can the Giants figure out a way to limit Marshall (who has the same amount of touchdowns, only one less catch and 74 less yards than ODB on the season)? And if they do, can the possibly stop him AND Decker?

Josh Fyffe | TheGiantsBeat.com

 

Spagnuolo also expressed in his press conference this week that he has full confidence in his top two corners, DRC and Amukamara, to keep Marshall and Decker at bay but intends to mix coverage. Because of the recent injury to their defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins, I expect Spagnuolo to start the game loading the box and making sure that Chris Ivory is contained and doesn’t start running over the Giants.

 

The dead-last pass yards against ranking is a culmination of accrued injuries, second half leads and of course sloppy coverages Prince Amukamara missed five weeks already this season, keeping the Giants without their second best corner for half of the season. The Giants have also stockpiled many leads in the second half this season, forcing opponents to abandon the run and have a sharply high amount of pass attempts, inflating their yards against numbers.

 

Going back to Marshall and Decker, the Giants don’t intend to spill their hand before game day, but Spagnuolo did say that similarly to how the Giants handled Gronkowski, they will mix and max coverages on the two talented wide outs to try to confuse Fitzpatrick. I would assume that Giants will take away Marshall over Decker in the passing game because he is a more intimidating receiver to opposing defenses and a tougher matchup for the Giants.

Chris Nimbley | Jets Reporter 

5 - Eli 

 

Eli has mostly looked sharp this season, but clearly having to play behind a banged up offensive line, pedestrian running game and only having one real threat to throw to has caught up to him at time (like last week against Washington). Can the Giants have confidence that he'll be able to step up against the Jets defense just because he's Eli and the Giants are the "big brothers" or is there something tangible they can point to hang their confidence on? 

Josh Fyffe | TheGiantsBeat.com

 

Hanging with the world champion Patriots in a down to the wire matchup before the team’s bye week was a large confidence booster for the Giants as it showed that they are capable of hanging with any team in the league. Eli got an $84 million contract extension at the start of the season, and Giants wouldn’t hand out that type of money if they don’t think the 12 year veteran could win a game without perfect conditions.

That being said this team would have a lot more potential with an elite running back and a healthy offensive line, but the Giants still have their chins up; they are playing for the lead in their volatile division each and every week and have looked sharp all week in practice.

With Revis out, I fully expect Manning to have a bounce back week against the Jets, and he will certainly be targeting ODJ, who received 18 targets last week, to try to give the two year pro his fifth consecutive 100 yard game. 


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