The Giants will look to rebound after last week’s disappointment, as they take on the surprising 4-1 Bills. Can they do it?
OUT: Chris Snee (concussion), Justin Tuck (neck/groin), Henry Hynoski (neck), Brandon Jacobs (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: David Baas (neck), Zak DeOssie (concussion)
PROBABLE: Osi Umenyiora (knee), Michael Boley (knee)
OUT: LB Shawne Merriman (shoulder/achilles), LT Demetrius Bell (shoulder), CB Aaron Williams (chest), LB Chris Kelsay (calf)
QUESTIONABLE: DT Kyle Williams (foot), S Da’Norris Searcy (ankle)
Where to begin? The offense was really up and down last week. I thought the passing game was pretty decent (other than the interception at the end, of course). Victor Cruz is proving himself to be an exciting playmaker, and is taking advantage of the double teams on Hakeem Nicks. Jake Ballard is starting to assert himself as a pass catcher. But, not all is peachy. The running game, with a banged up line, and without Brandon Jacobs, just isn’t good. No explosion, no threat of a big play. That might not change this week, with Snee and Jacobs out. Kevin Boothe is just not a capable starter. Mario Manningham has been really disappointing this whole year. Cruz stepping up has softened the blow, but if Manningham were to get going, it would help a whole lot. I think this week, get the ball out of Eli’s hands quickly, and into guys like Nicks, Ballard and Cruz. If the run isn’t working, abandon it. I think you have to rely on the pass.
What do the Giants struggle with? Short passes. What do the Bills excel in? Short passes. An awesome stat from the awesome Pro Football Focus:
Inside 20 yards, [Ryan Fitzpatrick’s] completed 109 of 149 passes (73%), for 1100 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Bills will be doing a lot of those inside routes for 6-7 yard gains, just moving the chains. And, if not that isn’t enough, Fred Jackson will look to contribute to his already MVP type season. Bills offense is really good. I think the Giants have to get pressure on Fitzpatrick. Yes, it’s a quick hitch offense, but maybe send some guys off the edge. The Bills are going to look to exploit Deon Grant and Jaicquan Williams in the passing game, and then when that’s working well enough, hit them with the run. Tough challenge.
Hey, don’t look now, but the Bills are for real. They have an opportunistic defense, an explosive offense, and an underdog mentality. A dangerous trio. The Bills are sporting fantastic seasons from Fitzpatrick and Jackson, and a bunch of no name receivers. Nick Barnett has been fantastic for them on defense. I think the Bills are going to come in and put up points (start Fitzpatrick in fantasy, if you have him). I think their offense matches up well with our defense, and I think our lack of a running game is going to hurt. The Bills are going to run right at this line that doesn’t have its best run defender in Justin Tuck. I don’t think it will be a blowout. But it might not be pretty.
I’ll be blunt: The Bills are playing better football. That’s not to say the Giants can’t win. They can. But with the way they played last week, and the matchup, it’s going to be rough. I think, unless they pressure Fitzpatrick heavily, it might be a long day. FINAL SCORE: Bills 35, Giants 17
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