The New York Giants will be playing at home for the first time in 2016 against the New Orleans Saints. Who are five players you should keep an eye on?
Article continues below ...
Sep 11, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; The New York Giants huddle in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
In Week 1, the New York Giants were able to narrowly escape with a 20-19 win over the Dallas Cowboys. Unlike last season, the Giants were able to close the game that they would have likely been a loss in 2015.
The win meant a lot for head coach Ben McAdoo, as he was credited with his first win as a head coach in the NFL. In addition to McAdoo winning his first game, the Giants also welcomed back Victor Cruz. Seeing Cruz back on the field for a regular season game was a wonderful sight for Giants fans, and he also produced.
For the New Orleans Saints, Week 1 was certainly one to forget. In one of the best games to watch in the week, the Saints lost on a gutsy call. The Oakland Raiders decided to go for a two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown, and the call was successful.
Like most years, the Saints offense once again should be good in 2016, but their defense is suspect. The Giants’ offense is poised to have a big day against the Saints, even if the weather isn’t too nice at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants will be attempting to start the season 2-0 on Sunday afternoon. Here are five players to watch against the Saints in Week 2.
Aug 27, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;New York Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison (98) sacks New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) in the 1st half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
– Damon Harrison
One of the keys to the game for the Giants will be to stop the Saints on the ground. If the weather is poor like meteorologists believe, the Saints might try to run the ball more frequently. Saints running back Mark Ingram might not be a star, but he is certainly capable of having a big game.
In Week 1, the Giants did an exceptional job limiting the Cowboys on the ground. The Cowboys have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, and the Giants matched up well. Going against the talented Ezekiel Elliott, the Giants held the rookie to just 51 yards on 20 carries in the win.
Last season, running backs were able to have a lot of success against the Giants. This season, however, Damon Harrison is in the middle. The Giants paid a pretty penny to sign Harrison in the offseason, and he immediately had an impact for the Giants in Week 1. Against the Saints, Harrison will once again be important.
If the Giants limit Ingram, they will make their lives a lot easier in Week 2. Harrison has quickly emerged as a leader on the Giants, and he will be leading the run defense all season.
Jun 15, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon (54) waits for the snap of the ball during mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
– Olivier Vernon
Due to some uncertainty about the status of Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants might be relying heavily on Olivier Vernon. Pierre-Paul is officially listed as questionable against the Saints, but the belief if that he will be playing.
Despite shoulder injury, JPP remains confident he'll suit up vs. the Saints.
In case Pierre-Paul is unable to go, or is limited, Vernon will be tasked with generating the pass rush. Saints quarterback Drew Brees, like all quarterbacks, can be rattled if the pressure comes. Outside of his dome has been a struggle for Brees, and the possible bad weather will only make that worse. Against the Cowboys, the Giants weren’t able to sack Dak Prescott, but they won’t be having to deal with an offensive line as good as Dallas’.
Creating a consistent pass rush will be important for the Giants against Brees, and Vernon is their best option to accomplish that. Vernon played well in his Giants debut, and he will have plenty of opportunities to get to Brees due to their pass-heavy offense.
Sep 11, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Detailed view of shoes worn by New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) in pre-game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
– Odell Beckham Jr.
Out of the three key Giants wide receivers, Odell Beckham Jr. was the only one who didn’t score a touchdown in Week 1. While both Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz scored touchdowns, it was Beckham who led the team in receiving yards with 73.
The Cowboys did a very good job controlling the clock in Week 1, which limited the potential opportunities for the Giants’ offense. Week 2 against the Saints will be a dream matchup for Beckham, who could easily have a ridiculous day.
The Saints won’t be able to key on Beckham as much as they would like due to the strong performances from Cruz and Shepard in Week 1. This can be a continuing trend for the Giants this season, as defenses won’t be able to cover them all effectively.
Due to the Saints having a poor defense, all three wide receivers could have big days. However, it should be Beckham who is the No.1 star for the Giants’ receiving corps on Sunday.
Sep 11, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants running back Rashad Jennings (23) runs the ball in the fourth quarter against Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Sean Lee (50) at AT&T Stadium. New York won 20-19. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
– Rashad Jennings
In the Saints’ Week 1 loss, one of their main issues was stopping the Raiders’ running game. Not a whole lot went right on defense for the Saints, but allowing more than 150 rushing yards is very poor.
For the Raiders, Latavius Murray was able to total 59 rushing yards on 14 carries with one rushing touchdown. The real damage on the ground came from Jalen Richard, who ripped off a 75-yard run for a touchdown.
Like the Raiders, the Giants had a fairly good game on the ground in Week 1, but they will be hoping for something great in Week 2. After messing around with a running back by committee system last year, it is clear that Rashad Jennings is the workhorse in 2016.
For the Giants in Week 1, Jennings totaled 75 rushing yards on 18 carries for 4.2 yards per carry. Against the Saints, Jennings has a very good chance of rushing for well over 100 yards. If Jennings has a good game, the Giants will likely cruise to a win.
Sep 11, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) celebrates throwing a touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
– Eli Manning
As the trend of offensive players to watch continues, we finish with Eli Manning. In the Week 1 win against Dallas, Manning was very good, as he totaled three passing touchdowns for the Giants. After seeing Derek Carr total over 300 yards passing against the Saints, we can expect something similar from Manning.
In New Orleans last season, Manning had a monster game in the 52-49 loss. Last season, Manning totaled 350 passing yards and six passing touchdowns but was slightly outdone by Brees. Manning and the Giants will certainly remember the loss last season and be out for revenge.
The improved defense of the Giants should be able to slow down Brees a bit compared to last year. For Manning, it should be another big game for the Giants quarterback in Week 2.
Fantasy football owners should be drooling if they own Manning or any other Giants this week. If the Giants want to continue to prove that they are a playoff team this season, a win against the Saints would help them.