In a game that means a ton to a 2-1 team, the New York Giants look to take down the Minnesota Vikings. The 3-0 Vikings await the Giants, a team coming off of a bad week 3 performances. After demolishing the Carolina Panthers last week on the road, the Vikings have good reason to be eager to play the Giants. On top of last week’s results, the Vikings seem to always give Eli Manning a tough time as Manning holds a 2-5 record against the Vikings over the course of his career. Regardless of what history may indicate, the Giants are a talented team that, based on how they looked in weeks 1 and 2, have a realistic chance to give the Vikings a tough time on Monday night.
You have to start with the better team here, and that team is clearly the Vikings. After sacking Cam Newton a miraculous eight times last week, the viscous Vikings front seven must be giving Manning some nightmares leading up to the game. Behind the front seven stands one of the best secondaries in the league highlighted by Harrison Smith, Xavier Rhodes and Terrance Newman. On the offensive side of the ball, Sam Bradford and Stefon Diggs have established great chemistry. The Vikings offensive line, weakened by injuries, will need to play at a higher level this week with the Giants having a very good defensive line. Finally, with the absence of Adrian Peterson, Jerrick McKinnon is in line to start in what will be a tough matchup against the Giants run-defense.
As for the Giants, they will need to erase last week’s game from their memory and remember how they played in weeks one and two. Eli Manning, barring another horrendous performance like last week, will give the Vikings’ secondary a challenge like any veteran starting quarterback would. More specifically, with Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz as Manning’s targets, the Giants only way to win this game will be excelling in the passing game. The offensive line, which has far exceeded its expectations from before the season, must protect Eli Manning against what may just be the best front seven in the NFL. On the other side of the ball, the Giants defensive line must, for the first time this season, get to the quarterback the way a defensive line being paid as much as they are should. That task won’t be too difficult considering the Vikings offensive line is plagued by injuries. The linebackers, like the offensive line, have exceeded expectations with Jonathan Casillas, the captain of the defense, playing at an extremely high-level. Finally, the secondary is in big trouble. Eli Apple, Darian Thompson, and Nat Berhe will all likely be inactive. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is also nursing a groin injury. The Giants are at the point that Dwayne Harris was taking reps at safety in practice on Friday. The Giants need to somehow become healthy before Monday or else a game that they are already very unlikely to win will become even more of a challenge.
Last season, the Vikings demolished the Giants on primetime television. Granted, Beckham Jr was inactive, but that doesn’t excuse the 33 point win by the Vikings. In 2011 and 2013, the Giants actually defeated the Vikings with a combined score of 44-10. Anyhow, with the Vikings being the heavy favorite to win Monday’s game, the Giants now have an opportunity to prove that they are a better team than they are being made out to be.