New York Giants Preview: Week 15 vs. Tennessee Titans
The New York Giants have won four of their last five games, and look to earn their sixth win of the year this Sunday against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium.
While the Giants have rather slim playoff chances, they are chances none the less. The division is already out of reach, as the Dallas Cowboys are in the drivers seat to clinch the NFC East as early as this weekend. But with the Giants, it’s all about the final Wild Card, and the remaining competition is rather weak. Yet, their 1-7 start to the season has made the path that much more difficult, and the only way to do so is win-out and hope their competition loses games.
Here is what to look for in this weekend’s matchup against the Titans.
No Odell Again
Wide receiver Odell Beckham’s quadriceps is continuing to give him issues. As a result, head coach Pat Shurmur has ruled out Beckham for the Titans game.
Beckham missed practice throughout the week and visited the Hospital for Special Surgery on Thursday for further evaluation. While he says the injury is getting better, he’s just not 100 percent.
Now, the Giants will have to replicate the magic they performed last week against the Washington Redskins. Running back and third-place Pro Bowl vote-getter Saquon Barkley will be the centerpiece of the Giants offense. As a result, quarterback Eli Manning will not have to do all the heavy lifting. Expect the ball to spread around to Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, Russell Shepard, Corey Coleman, and Bennie Fowler.
However, that will be more difficult on Sunday, as they face a Titans pass defense which has allowed the sixth-fewest air yards per game (219.2).
New York’s m.o. will be to get Barkley going in order to tire out Tennessee’s defense. If they can do that, then it’s entirely possible the Giants pass attack can do some damage as well.
Avoid Making Derrick Henry’s Highlight Reel
The Giants defense is in the middle of the pack when it comes to stopping the run. They have allowed an average of 121.8 yards per game.
This week, New York will have to stop a bulldozer in Derrick Henry. The former Heisman Trophy winner had his own personal highlight reel last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He rushed for four touchdowns, including a now infamous 99-yarder, in which he pushed, shoved, and stiff-armed his way through multiple tacklers.
If anything is to work in the Giants’ favor, it’s that they have forced the fourth-most fumbles against the run this season with seven. That could come as a challenge in the form of Derrick Henry. The last thing they want to do is make his “best of” video.
Which Mariota Will Show Up?
There has been, perhaps, no draft prospect as unpredictable as Marcus Mariota. He shined at Oregon and looked to be part of the next line of generational quarterbacks.
Now, he’s a hot and cold quarterback, with a history of getting bit by the injury bug. This season, he suffered a lingering elbow issue in Week 1, causing him to miss the following game. Through 12 games, Mariota has completed 69.1 percent of his passes for 2,230 yards, 11 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He also has rushed for 339 yards and two scores on 61 carries.
As for the Giants, they have allowed an average of 249 passing yards per game this season (19th in NFL). If they want to win, they have to put pressure on Mariota. For Tennessee, they just lost starting right tackle Jack Conklin for the season due to a knee injury suffered in the Jaguars game. That becomes good news for the Giants, who have found their pass rush in recent weeks, including five against the Redskins. But let’s not forget that Mariota can extend the play with his feet, which is something New York will have to keep an eye on throughout the game.
The Giants-Titans game will kick off at 1:00 p.m. ET live on CBS.
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