By Michael Stewart
Introduction: The 0-5 Giants (not a misprint) travel to Mile High Stadium to arguably face their toughest opponent this season the Denver Broncos. If winless isn’t bad enough, the Giants will be without many of their starters; including their best player Odell Beckham Jr. who is lost for the season with a broken ankle. Offensively, the Giants have improved over the last couple of games (16.4 pts per game overall) despite searching for their first win. On Defense, the Giants look more like the 2015 squad (surrendering 24.4 points per game) and not last season’s team that were rated in the top 10 in total defense. The Broncos are a well balanced team averaging 24.5 points per game and leading the league in total defense. Aside from the lost of OBJ, the Giants will also be without wide receivers Brandon Marshall (ankle-out for the season), Sterling Shepard (ankle) and Dwayne Harris (ankle-IR). GM Jerry Reese burnt the midnight oil by re-signing wide receivers Tavarres King and Darius Powe and promoted Travis Rudolph and Ed Eagan to fill the shoes at the WR spots. Denver will be led by quarterback Trevor Siemian and will have weapons in running back C.J Anderson and wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Defensively, the Broncos are led by linebacker Von Miller and a defense that is rated the best in the NFL.
Top 3 Matchups:
- Giants offensive line-vs-Denver’s front 7: The Giants offensive needs to step it up even more now with lack of offensive talent at the wide receiver spots. They need to give the Giants running game a chance and also prevent the Broncos from being too successful rushing the passer. Denver is allowing the fewest yards on ground and in total yards per game and it’s contributed to their front seven
- Neutralizing Von Miller: The Giants offensive line needs to step up and that would mean to neutralizing linebacker Von Miller. Look for the Giants to have tight end Rhett Ellison involved in the offense more as an extra blocker to help block Miller. Miller will make plays, but the Giants need to keep him in check and not dominant.
- Time of Possession: If the Giants can somehow win this battle, they will at least have an outside chance to keep the game close enough that anything can happen. This will be a tall order for a team that has only won this category just once this season and still lost. Too many three and outs will give the Broncos offense more time on the field and the Giants defense too much time on the offense; which hasn’t been beneficial thus far for the Giants.
What to look for: The Broncos will have a simple game plan and that will be a well balance offense, utilizing all the offensive weapons and going for a big play downfield when needed. C.J Anderson could enjoy a 100+ rushing game with a couple of touchdowns if the Broncos game plan is successful. On Defense, Broncos will be very aggressive and load the box, forcing Eli Manning to beat them through air with inexperience and unproven receivers. Look for them to blitz more often and try to create and/or force the Giants into mistakes. The Giants offense will be extremely tested and must find a way to move the chains with enough running success and quick slant routes. Tight end Evan Engram could be Eli Manning’s primary target in this game. On defense, the Giants defense will be asked to win this game; which they haven’t been able to do thus far. Multiple players need to play their best game of the year and that could be too much to ask.
Final Score: The Giants are currently 12 point underdogs against the Broncos and that could increase before game time. There will be no margin for error for the Giants on both sides of the ball and this game has all the makings of a blow out. However; stranger things have happened and this could be the game the Giants rise up and fool us all. Unfortunately; I don’t see the Giants being productive at all with all the injuries at wide receiver, too much pressure on Manning and the running game will be a challenge. If the Giants score a touchdown it will be an achievement.