HOUSTON VS NYG PREVIEW By Brad Lorkovic (LORK 88) So last week couldnt have gone any worse for us. We resumed many things: our losing ways, our QB controversy, and most importantly our negativity. How could it get any worse? Well, we do play the team in 1st place in the NFC East NY Giants this week. Theyre balanced, disciplined, and make plays. However, Houston has nothing to lose in this game so to speak. Also, the Giants have the undefeated Chicago Bears next week and may overlook us this week. It all comes down to us playing like we can. After that its the question of which Giants team shows up: the one that overlooks us because our record or the one that takes every game seriously? Houstons Running Game vs. New Yorks Run D: Again like always, weve got to be able to run the ball. Lundy has had 2 solid weeks and is living up to our demands so far. Dayne or Gado have to be able to do something coming off the bench as the spell back for Lundy however. This will be the week we need it most because the Giants have shut down rushers like Dallas. Their only bad performance so far has been against the best rushing team in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons, where Dunn rushed for 146 carries. Like any good rushing defense, it all starts up front for NYG where they have solid DTs and the best group of DEs in the NFL. They also have Antonio Pierce who is a ball hawk and is always around the ball. It also doesnt hurt that both their Safeties are solid tacklers. The key for us will be to hit the holes we can create hard and fast. Like stated earlier, Atlanta was able to get some good runs off, and they run the Zone Blocking Scheme like we do (all be it just a bit better). Because of the style of blocking we have, we need to not allow penetration to seep in, and we need to get what we can running forward. Houstons Passing Game vs. New Yorks Pass D: This has been our best form of offense week in and week out, including last week and lucky for us is NYs only weakness. While theyve picked off 9 passes total (2 by their DT Fred Robbins which is tied for the team lead oddly enough), they still give up over 210 yards in the air a game. Sam Madison is a solid CB, but aging fast for them and is questionable for them. Webster is their #1 CB so far and has done pretty good, but still shows his youth every now and then and is susceptible against top tier WRs. Their Safeties fall into the good but not great category. Will Demps is their FS and has been great some weeks, and questionable others. Hes a great tackler, but struggles in pass coverage. Their SS is Gibril Wilson who doesnt get enough credit. Hes 2nd on the team in tackles (some say he hits like a LB) and isnt a liability in coverage. While I think we can do great against their pass D, the biggest problem will be our pass protection which looked like we were back in 2005 last week. Osi Umenyiora will be out this week most likely, but Michael Strahan is still one of the best DEs in the league, and Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka arent to be taken likely as their quick rushers. This will be our biggest problem as their one of the best blitzing teams in the league. New Yorks Rushing Game vs. Houstons Run D: Part 1 of what is one of the most balanced offenses in the NFL. NYG features what most like to call a thunder and lightning backfield, or in simple terms a 2 RB system where 1 RB is the physical bruiser and the other is the speed, flash type. The problem for us is that their thunder is built like a DE and their lightning is one of the best in the NFL. Tiki Barber is the lightning who can do so much with the ball. His favorite running plays are the tosses outside where he gets to be patient, pick his hole, and take off like a track star. Jacobs on the other hand loves getting runs Off Tackle where he can take it up the middle and bounce it outside when he gets past the 2nd level. For us, I think this will be Marios biggest test to date. Hes played the run very well lately and has shown speed which will be imperative this week. Our DTs are also going to have to play big this week, get penetration, and re-route the RBs any way possible. The biggest potential problem I can see at the other DE spot. Weaver isnt very fast, and Peek/Babin arent strong, so we need to play match ups as well as possible. Any time we think they could try to stretch a run outside; we need our quicker DEs, while Weaver is necessary on the plays with Jacobs up the middle. Match ups will be the name of the game this week in terms of rush defense. New Yorks Passing Game vs. Houstons Pass D: I wont beat around the bush; we need Eli to have the passing game forced upon him. So far this year, when Tiki and Jacobs are held to less than 100 yards combined (which has happened twice), Eli has been responsible for 4 INTs and fumbled twice. Hes had big games even when hes been sacked, but whenever he has doesnt have the running game to rely on, hes been spotty. We need to be careful with how we pressure them however, because Eli has an arsenal of weapons. Plaxico is his favorite target and for good reason: hes 65. Toomer is still proving to be a solid #2 WR opposite and can take advantage of teams giving Burress too much attention. Shockey is still at TE and while he isnt having the season he had last year in terms of receiving yards, hes still one of the top receiving TEs out there. However, NYG loves creating mismatches, so Shockey has shined in the red zone with 4 TDs. The last major weapon of Elis is Tiki of course who is great on screens and dump passes to the outside where he can create room. The big problem I could see is if we either give Eli too much time, or give him favorable match ups. Quite possibly his favorite thing to do when he gets blitzed with 1 on 1 coverage is to throw a jump ball to Plaxico which is very effective. Tiki on the outside is also something he doesnt mind doing. Therefore, we need to make sure we are smart with our blitzes and need a big game out of our Safeties. Position Battle QB Advantage: NEW YORK RB Advantage: NEW YORK WR Advantage: PUSH TE Advantage: NEW YORK OL Advantage: NEW YORK DE Advantage: NEW YORK DT Advantage: NEW YORK LB Advantage: NEW YORK CB Advantage: NEW YORK S Advantage: NEW YORK K/P Advantage: PUSH RET Advantage: HOUSTON Key Factors To The Game 1) Keep Carr off his back. With Strahan, Osi, Kiwi, hell Ill save time and just say the entire defense that can blitz, weve got to Carr upright and give him time to make good passes. Weve got good targets, but NYG has one of the best blitzing defenses in the entire NFL. Weve been better at pass protection, but weve got to hold our own against NYG this week. I dont care if we try running, screens, whatever weve got to do; we need to keep them honest as well. We cant have a repeat of last week where Carr got sacked like it was 2005. 2) Make smart decisions passing. This also ties into factor #1 as well in that Carr cant make good decisions on his back. Carr needs to make better decisions in terms of throwing the ball. Last week, he took too much time staring down receivers and forcing throws to AJ, and look what happened on that play. Hes got to do a better job identifying the open WR or checking down to his RBs and TEs. Wali is a more than capable receiver and Daniels is proving to be a great asset on short to intermediate routes. 3) Dont give up big plays. Like I stated above, Eli loves giving jump balls to Plaxico and its proven successful week after week. With our horrid showing on pass defense, you better believe hell try it on us. Secondly, Tiki Barber is a dual home run threat (no, I didnt make that word up). He can take passes for long gains, and can take runs (particularly stretch plays) down the field with his speed. Lastly, This Giants defense is full of playmakers and you better believe that they can force turnovers and make the most of them. Basically, we need to be smart with the football and not force anything that isn't there.