The game between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants was moved to tonight in Detroit because the dome roof collapsed in Minnesota. The teams, particularly the Giants were forced to adjust their schedules and travel plans accordingly. Maybe the unfamiliar schedule will help New York end a four game losing streak against Minnesota.
Don’t expect the game time decision of Vikings quarterback Brett Favre being a major factor. The New York defense should be able to do their job against Favre or backup Tarvaris Jackson. It’s Eli Manning and the Giants offense that must play better against the Vikings.
New York has lost their previous four games against Minnesota and some have not been pretty. The Giants have been outscored 129-64 in those games. The highest scoring output the Giants were able to get in those four games was back in 2005 when they scored 21 points.
Last season, the Giants disappointing year came to an official end after the Vikings handed them an embarrasing 44-7 defeat. New York must come out determined to give a better performance and it starts with Manning.
Minnesota has been solid against the run this season, ranked fifth in the NFL. They have given up an average of just 92 rushing yards per game this season. Big lanes may be hard to come by for Giants running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.
Manning will need to be on target with his passes. His receivers must also be good with their hands and catch the balls thrown their way. To many times this season we have seen Manning’s passes picked off by defenders. Sure some have been the result of Giants receivers inability to catch the ball, but Manning must hit his targets.
The possible return of Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks should help. Smith may be limited in what he can do however because he will be wearing a protective harness. There have been conflicting reports on whether or not Nicks is actually returning tonight.
Minnesota is 13th in the league agains the pass, giving up 210.2 yards per game threw the air. Overall the Vikings defense ranks 6th in the NFL.
Despite their success on defense, the Vikings have not made the big plays. Minnesota does not rank higher than 20th out of 32 teams in interceptions, fumble recoveries, sacks, or pass deflections. This tells you, if the Giants can find a way to continuously grind out drives, they can get past the Vikings defense without turning the ball over.
Again, I stress, Manning must be on his game, hitting his targets and leading the Giants drives. In the past four games against Minnesota, Manning has thrown a total of two touchdown passes. He has thrown nine interceptions, six of which have been returned for touchdowns. Manning’s QB rating in the last four games against the Vikings is a horrendous 47.8.
With the Philadelphia Eagles pulling out a win over the Dallas Cowboys last night, this game is huge for New York. The Giants will be looking to keep pace with the Eagles and set up a big time showdown at home against Philadelphia next week.
The pressure is on Eli Manning tonight. He has stepped up in big games before, but he has also faultered in some. Which Manning will the Giants get tonight? The answer will go a long way in determining the outcome of this game as well as the New York Giants push toward the playoffs.
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