By Michael Stewart (Twitter@golferbad)
Introduction: The New York Giants travel to Houston to face the Texans after a disappointed lost against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday night. Both teams find themselves 0-2 to start the season and both teams desperately need a win. The Giants are currently ranked 28th overall offensively and 6th defensively. The Texans are currently ranked 13th offensively and 12th defensively. On paper, the Texans seem to be more balanced from both sides of the ball. Whereas; the Giants offense has yet to execute nearly as well as the defense side of the ball. Could this be the game where the offense finally shows up?
Top 3 Matchups:
- Ereck Flowers-vs-J.J Watt: This could be Flowers worse nightmare thus far in his NFL career. Watts has had some setbacks (injuries) over the last couple of seasons, but he is still lethal and should give Flowers a problem. Look for the Giants to employ Rhett Ellison in multiple formations as an extra blocker to assist Flowers, he’ll need it.
- Giants defense-vs-QB DeShaun Watson: Watson is a duel threat and the Giants are well aware of the challenges facing them. Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher could employ a shadow on Watson, you’ll that might be is still unclear. Regardless; the Giants defense must limit Watson from making big plays with either his arm or legs. If not, It’s going to be a very long afternoon for the Giants:
- Giants offensive line-vs-Houston run defense: Houston’s run defense is ranked 22nd overall and could give the Giants a tremendous edge with Saquon Barkley’s running skills. Barkley had 25 touches in the lost against the Cowboys, but the Giants need to utilize Barkley more in the running game (only 11 carries) and not in the passing game (14 receptions).
- Summary: The Texans are ranked 1st overall in rushing with Lamar Miller and DeShaun Watson leading the way. Through the air, Houston has struggled only ranked 21st. The Giants are currently ranked 28th in rushing and 24th in passing, so they need to improve on both of these stats to pull off a win in Houston. Against the Cowboys, the Giants featured their offense around Saquon Barkley; which is not a bad idea. However; 14 receptions as opposed to only 11 carries is not the way to go about it. Problem is that you’re not utilizing the other weapons in the passing game (Beckham, Sterling and Engram) and lastly, Barkley needs to have at least 15 to 18 carries to be efficient.
Based on the 1st two games from each team, it really boils down to which team will execute better. If the Texans continue to have success on the ground as they have been, they will have a good chance of winning the game. If the Giants can somehow get a better performance from the offensive line, giving Manning just a little more time to throw the ball and provide Barkley with a little day light in the running game; the Giants could pull off an upset on the road.
Final Score: Can’t see the Giants fixing their major problem (offensive line) in a week. Look for the same results in Game 3 as the Giants go to 0-3 and fall to the Texans 17-13