Offensive Numbers Good For Giants

While the Giants don't look like a Super Bowl contender this year, their strengths would appear to match up against the Vikings' weaknesses. It will be up to Willie Shaw to scheme to stop the New York passing attack.

At first appearance, the New York Giants aren't the type of team that would put fear in the minds of most NFL teams, but the way the numbers look they could be more scary for the Vikings. Why? Because the Giants are actually a pretty decent passing team and the Vikings not only are downright terrible against the pass, there are also injury concerns.

First, the numbers on New York Football Giants. They rank second in the NFC in passing yardage. Yep, that is the ever-improving Kerry Collins leading that attack.

So how about their rushing attack? Well, Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne are leading the 12th-ranked rushing attack, but Barber is still very dangerous. He has 545 yards rushing and 389 yards receiving — both areas where he leads the team.

With those kinds of numbers you might think the Giants are a high-scoring team, but that's not really the case. They have been held to 10 or fewer points in four games this season, although last week they put together a 24-17 win on Sunday night. For the season, they have scored only 113 points. Another reason for the lower scores is also found in Collins' statistics. He leads the conference with a 2,041 yards, but he has only six touchdown passes and eight interceptions.

So maybe the Vikings can live with giving up some big yardage if they can just stop the Giants from getting in the end zone too much or they can come up with the elusive turnover while Minnesota is on defense.

Speaking of defense, the .500 Giants still have that as well. They are ranked fourth in yardage and points allowed, so it could be a low-scoring game. At least in that case, Daunte Culpepper might not press for the big play so much.

As for the main injury that could affect the Vikings' pass coverage, free safety Ronnie Bradford is expected to start after suffering a concussion in Tampa last Sunday, but he isn't 100 percent. With rookie strong safety Willie Offord expected back in the starting lineup after a two-week benching, the Vikings may not even have Offord's replacement, Brian Russell, active. That is so they could have their backup free safeties, Jason Perry and Jack Brewer, ready if Bradford can't make it a whole game.

* Former Vikings wide receiver Cris Carter is out of the Miami Dolphins lineup indefinitely after the medical staff discovered some abnormalities in his kidney functions. It isn't clear at this point exactly what is happening, so Carter will continue to undergo tests. Carter only played in the Dolphins' last Monday night game, the first in his comeback attempt. * While many people are complaining about the Randy Ratio, Moss is on pace to catch 106 passes, which would be a career high. But his 1,128 yards and six touchdowns would each be career lows in those categories.
* Of the eight touchdowns passes the Vikings have this season, they have gone to six different players and nobody except Moss has more than one.
* The Vikings are 4-1 all-time at home vs. the Giants, but last year's win was the first time the teams had met in the Metrodome since 1986.
* The Giants are 2-2 on the road with wins over St and Dallas.
* Sunday marks the first time this season that the Vikings have been a home underdog – most Las Vegas lines have the Giants as a 2-point favorite. You may want to mark this date, because it will be the second straight week the Vikings have been an underdog and, with games coming up vs. Green Bay twice, New England, Atlanta, New Orleans and Miami, the Vikings may not be a point-spread favorite the rest of the year.
* Randy Moss has just one touchdown reception since Week 2.
* Weakside linebacker Henri Crockett is expected to start, but if his hip flexor gets too irritating Lemanski Hall could see extended time today.

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