Jaguars-Giants Preview

Published Nov. 24, 2010 10:55 p.m. ET

After recording consecutive losses for the second time this season, the New York Giants are turning to Brandon Jacobs to get them back on track.

Jacobs will get his first start at running back this season when the Giants host the surging Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.

The Giants (6-4) have turned the ball over an NFL-worst 30 times, including five lost fumbles from former starter Ahmad Bradshaw, and after last Sunday night's five-turnover performance in a 27-17 loss to Philadelphia, coach Tom Coughlin felt it was time for a change.

"The number one consideration is to try to stop beating ourselves," Coughlin said. "That's one area we should be able to improve. It's very frustrating not to improve in that area."

While Jacobs is tied for the team lead with five rushing touchdowns, he has yet to receive more than 12 carries in a single game.

"I want to be able to go out there and set our team off, set the stadium off, and have a good mixture going to the game that nobody can stop us," he told the team's official website. "That's really how it's supposed to be. Teams should not be able to stop us from running the football. I don't give a damn who they are."

Bradshaw should still be heavily involved in the offense, though, as the Giants will look to get their run game going without the services of their top two wide receivers.


Steve Smith, who set a team record with 107 catches last season, will miss his third consecutive game with a torn pectoral muscle, and Hakeem Nicks, who is tied for second in the NFC with 62 receptions and tied for third in the NFL with nine receiving touchdowns, is expected to miss at least three weeks after being diagnosed with compartment syndrome in his lower right leg.

Without the duo, Eli Manning is expecting big things from both Mario Manningham and Derek Hagan, who are set to start versus the Jaguars. Manningham has 38 receptions for 500 yards and four TDs, while Hagan had three catches and a score versus the Eagles in his first action of the season.

"We've got some young guys who've got to step up," Manning said. "Obviously, having Derek here last week will help, he'll have another week. Mario is going to have a big week. We're going to have to get these tight ends into the mix with (Kevin) Boss and Beckum, athletic guys."

Manning will try to exploit a Jaguars defense ranked 28th in the league in pass defense at 264.6 yards per game. The Giants signed former first-round pick Michael Clayton and were awarded Devin Thomas on waivers Wednesday to provide some depth at the position.

While New York has struggled of late, the Jaguars (6-4) can't seem to be stopped.

After defeating the Cleveland Browns 24-20 in the final minutes last Sunday for its third consecutive win, Jacksonville is tied with the Indianapolis Colts atop the AFC South.

Coach Jack Del Rio is pleased with his team's recent run and is looking forward to facing the Giants.

"You don't discount games," he told the team's official website. "This game is huge."

Maurice Jones-Drew compiled a career-high 220 total yards from scrimmage in last Sunday's win, including 133 on the ground for his third consecutive 100-yard rushing performance and fourth of the season.

The AFC's third-leading rusher could run into trouble versus the Giants, who are allowing 89.5 yards per game on the ground - fourth-fewest in the NFL.

"It's a great challenge. We're going up against some great run-defenses," Jones-Drew said. "It's a great challenge and we're up for it."

The Jaguars could also be without one of their leading receivers, as Mike Sims-Walker, who missed last Sunday's win with a sprained-left ankle, is uncertain to play. Sims-Walker is second on the team with four receiving touchdowns.

"Everybody around the league has injuries. We're not any different than everybody else," David Garrard said. "Guys are banged up, but everybody's banged up. We're going to have to count on whoever's out there ready to make plays and I'm not going to see anybody any different."

Garrard's play has had a lot to do with Jacksonville's winning streak, as the nine-year veteran is averaging 285.3 passing yards over his last three games compared to 139.6 in his first six.