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Week 2: Giants vs Lions by Vincent Zahler


After a rather miserable but unfortunately not so forgettable Week 1 performance against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants have set their sights on their upcoming matchup with the 1-0 Detroit Lions. While the season is still very much in its infancy, the Giants, with a daunting schedule looking, already have a sense of urgency. It is far from a death sentence, but the notion of starting 0-2 and then having to head to Philadelphia is enough to make this week feel like a "must win". Lately, the oft-mentioned statistic of the Giants has been that they haven't scored 20 points in either of their last 7 games(including playoffs). Coming off a performance that featured an inept offensive showing, the Giants have only confirmed the concerns of many while proving that the offense is indeed still Beckham or bust. Paul Perkins has yet to separate himself from the rest of the pack of mid level running backs while not much came from the much talked about receiving corp. Of course, the much maligned offensive line has rightfully been the focus of the criticism and there's little to suggest that there will be significant improvements prior to Monday Night Football. The good news is that the main catalyst of the offense, Odell Beckham Jr. Should return Monday night and prove his worth by opening things up against a Detroit defense that's mostly hit and miss. From what was seen last Sunday night, it's going to take Beckham's presence to take pressure off the rest of the offense by commanding extra attention as well as being the go-to guy whenever Eli Manning is in danger which is obviously a far too common of an occurrence. More good news is that the defense Detroit is more opportunistic than good. Despite a strong front four based on name recognition with linemen like Ezekiel Ansah, A'Shawn Robinson and Haloti Ngata, pass rush has not been the strength of the Lions defense. Ranking near the very bottom in the league in terms of sacks, it would appear that even with suspect pass protection, Eli should have the extra time needed to pick apart a respectable Glover Quinn and DJ Hayden led secondary. Unlike the Giants, the Lions offense has scored at least 20 points in 5 of their last 7 games. The NFL's current title holder of highest paid player Mathew Stafford, has made a habit of firing away without much of a running game. So much so, that he set a new record for most comebacks. In essence, he's been the 2011 version of Eli Manning. Calvin Johnson may be gone but the likes of Marvin Jones, Golden Gate, ultra athletic tight end Eric Ebron and 3rd round pick rookie Kenny Golladay who is coming off of a 2 touchdown performance in his debut have picked up the slack. To go with the receivers, Stafford has a decent set of running backs that may not be excellent in terms of pure rushing, but Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah should keep the Giants linebackers busy coming out of the backfield in the screen game. Obviously the strength of the Lions is there potentially prolific offense that can explode at any moment even when struggling mightily. The arm of Stafford and his collection of weapons to get the ball to make it so no lead is safe. In contrast, the strength of the Giants is without question their playmaking defense that may actually better now with the possible emergence of new defensive leader BJ Goodson who in his debut at the MIKE, racked up a staggering 18 tackles. Even though the defense was gassed from an excessive amount of time on the field against Dallas thanks to offensive ineptitude, the powerful offense of Dallas still had its share of struggles despite regularly good field position. Janoris Jenkins once again stuck to Dez Bryant and Landon Collins is still a terror. The Giants can probably expect to face pass after pass since Detroit's run game is not exactly impressive and is going up against one of the best run defenses in the league. If they force Detroit to become one dimensional and allow Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon to pin their ears back, the Giants should be able to pick up their first win of the 2017 season. Prediction: Giants escape with a win in a close but wild game 23-21


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