New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
The Swamps of East Rutherford
New York Football Giants: The Spotlight Will Be Shining Brightly on Jerry Reese's Expensive Defensive Pieces as Drew Brees and the Saints Come Marching In for Big Blue's Home Opener.
Despite Big Blue limiting Dallas to 19 points, possessing the ball for a mere 23:17 on offense against the New Orleans Saints simply will not do. That's exactly how long the Giants held the ball last Sunday against the Cowboys, who ran 21 more offensive plays.
Minus Tony Romo, Dallas' major shortcomings occurred in the red zone with backup quarterback Dak Prescott taking snaps. Questionable football acumen on the part of a certain Cowboys receiver on the game's final play is another reason to ponder Big Blue's week one victory.
Now the Saints come marching in to MetLife Stadium.
If you recall (or chose not to) it was the Saints edging out the Giants last season on a late field goal for a head-shaking 52-49 victory in New Orleans. Drew Brees threw for (39 of 50) 505 yards and seven touchdowns. All the while, the Saints still incorporated more running plays than the Giants.
Giving the ball to Drew Brees for nearly 37:00 minutes is clearly begging for trouble. Therefore, part and parcel to defending against Brees is keeping him on the sidelines. That means employing yet another balanced offensive attack.
The strength of the Giants offense is obviously Eli connecting with OBJ and Cruz. But they need to run ball just as they did in the fourth quarter against Dallas ... with power ... in order to exert a greater measure of control over the clock.
Even more absurd regarding last year's loss to the Saints, was the Giants managing no sacks, and registering an inconsequential three quarterback hits.
In 2015 the Giants defense allowed 400+points for a second straight season prompting beleaguered general manager Jerry Reese into spending huge sums of money during the off-season on available free agents.
The Giants require efficiency on both sides of the ball in order to get this done. But all eyes, particularly those of Jerry Reese, owner John Mara, and every fan in attendance Sunday, will be on the defense.
After a tune-up against Dallas, this revamped unit will undergo its first real test of the 2016 season. They must somehow disrupt Drew Brees yet still be very mindful of a very effective New Orleans running game.
Devon Kennard still leads a suspect group of linebackers. Coach Spags need to be able to rely on at least two of them in order to maximize his blitz packages, otherwise they'll lack teeth. Drew Brees will no doubt try crossing up Landon Collins and Craig Dahl, but free agent Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rogers Cromartie give the Giants a very strong tandem at corner back. That in turn, could and should help the boys up front get to the quarterback.
There was no mistaking Jerry Reese's true off-season priority lay in the front four. The re-signed Jason Pierre-Paul, along with new free agent line mates Olivier Vernon and Damon Harrison, and even the returning Cullen Jenkins (cut by Washington), must now all live up to their half of the deal,
... or the general manager gets it.