By Michael Stewart/@golferbad

Introduction: The New York Giants look to make it three wins in a row as they take on the Minnesota Vikings at Metlife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Both teams have 2-2 records thus far; but have gotten there in different ways. The Vikings defense is ranked 5th in points allowed with 15.8 and have been equally tough against the run (94.2) and the pass (218.5). Offensively; the Vikings are averaging 21 points per game; which ranks 20th, however; it’s their running game that has been their saving grace by averaging 155.2 yards per game. Led by running back Dalvin Cook (735 yards) who is finally healthy. The Giants offensively are ranked 16th in scoring with 21.8 points per game and offer a balance attack on the ground (ranked 8th with 129 yards) and through the air (ranked 7th with 274.2 yards) per game. Rookie Quarterback Daniel Jones has had two impressive starts as a rookie and will be certainly tested against the Vikings. On defense, The Giants overall numbers are not pretty (ranked 21st in points allowed with 24.2) and 25th overall in yards allowed with 389.2. However; Over their last 6 quarters, the team has surrendered only 6 total points (3 to the Buccaneers and 3 to the Redskins). Here’s a look at my top 4 matchups the Giants need to do well in to collect their 3rd win of the season:

  1. Giants Defensive front 7-vs- Vikings offensive line/Dalvin Cook:  The Giants will be tested as the Vikings can come at you from my directions. The Giants first objective is to contain Dalvin Cook (run and pass) and prevent big plays. Cook will get his yards, however; preventing the big plays will help minimize the Vikings scoring opportunities and give the Giants a chance.
  2. Defensive pressure on Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins: Thus far, Cousins hasn’t been able to light it up the way he’s capable of and hopefully the Giants can continue that tread on Sunday. If the Giants defense allows Cousin ample time to throw, it will be a long afternoon for the home team. This needs to be a team effort and every defensive player should be ready to answer the bell.
  3. Giants balance offensive attack-vs Vikings defense: This game should test Jones the most in his early career as the Vikings have many more playmakers on the defensive side of the ball than the Giants last two opponents. Jones needs to spread the ball around; which he has thus far and keep the Vikings on their heels for most of the game. In order for this to happen, the Giants must have some kind of a running game to give Jones that extra fraction of a second on passing downs.
  4. Turnovers: The Giants won last week despite having 4 turnovers against them (two interceptions by Daniel Jones/two fumbles by Wayne Gallman). The Giants are -5 in the turnover ratio and the Vikings are even at zero and if the Giants happen to win my first 3 matchups listed above; but lose the turnover matchup by a wide margin; it could cost them the game. Therefore; they need to break even in this department.

Final Thoughts:  The Vikings road/home game splits have been revealing as they have struggled on the road (winless) averaging only 11 points per game as opposed to averaging 31 points at home. Also, despite having a zero turnover ratio after four games, during their two road games, the Vikings are a -6. The Giants need to contain Dalvin Cook from dominating the game, perhaps not as successful as the Chicago Bears had against the Cook last week; (only 35 yards rushing), but close to it. Daniel Jones will need to continue his success and I think he will hold up his end and have a solid game. This game can go in several directions as it will all hinge on how well/poorly the Giants defense plays. If the Giants defense from game 1 and the 1st half of the Bucs game shows up; it’s going to be a long day for the Giants. However; if the Giants defense over the last 6 quarters shows up, we could see this game be decided by a field goal. I’ve been going with the Giants thus far in the first four games and I will continue the trend in game 5.

Final Score: Giants-17///Vikings-13.