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MNF Preview: Vikings at Giants

21 Oct

At some point, the New York Giants have to stop turning the ball over and get the teams first win of the season because this 0-6 start has been atrocious. Eli Manning’s 15 interceptions lead the NFL, and only Blaine Gabbert and the Vikings new starting quarterback Josh Freeman have lower completion percentages than the 2-time Super Bowl champion.

The (1-5) Vikings signed Freeman 2-weeks ago and he’s quickly surpassed Christian Ponder as well as Matt Cassell on the depth chart. A playoff team last year, Minnesota is desperately trying to get back into the win column. The Vikings are hoping Freeman can be the franchise quarterback the team hasn’t had since Brett Favre.

Offense:
The Giants offense has been completely one-dimensional thus far. By the time David Wilson was finally starting to get it going, he went down with what will likely be a season ending neck injury.

Brandon Jacobs is now the number 1 back and is the teams leading rusher with just 154 yards. Big Blue’s inability to run the ball has forced the offense to become pass heavy which allows the defense to dial up the blitz.

Eli Manning has been sacked 15 times and thrown 15 interceptions and as is the case in the NFL, if you lose the turnover battle, you will lose and the Giants have consistently lost the turnover battle this year.

Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Reuben Randle form a dangerous group at receiver and each are having solid seasons. There’s no reason to believe Eli Manning will suddenly stop turning it over in this one though.

The Minnesota Vikings are now onto the teams 3rd starting quarterback of the season, and the team will be playing its 7th game of the season Monday night. Christian Ponder got hurt allowing Matt Cassell to start 2 games, and now the team is starting Josh Freeman against the Giants.

Freeman far and away has the most talent of all the quarterbacks to start for Minnesota this season and the Vikings offense is full of explosive weapons. Obviously, there’s number 28 Adrian Peterson in the backfield, but there’s also Greg Jennings, Jerome Simpson, and Kyle Rudolph. Expect the Vikings offense to open up significantly and Adrian Peterson to once again terrorize opposing defenses.

Edge:
Vikings – Due to the fact the Giants have had zero success running the ball, the Vikings have the better all around offense right now. Eli Manning’s resume blows away Josh Freeman’s, but the way Manning has played this season gives the offensive edge to Minnesota.

Defense:
As inconsistent as both of these teams have been offensively, neither has been particularly impressive defensively either.
The Vikings sport the league’s 29th ranked pass defense, the defense is giving up 31.6 points per game. Minnesota’s defense is on pace to be the worst in the franchise’s 53-year history.

It doesn’t help either that opposing offenses are converting 47.3 percent of their 3rd downs. Aside from Jared Allen who has 3.5 sacks, no one on Minnesota’s defense is playing particularly well.

The once trademark Giants pass rush has completely disappeared. The team hasn’t ever really been known for having great secondaries, and this year’s secondary is getting severely exposed with the inability of the defense to get to the opposing quarterback.

Jason Pierre Paul doesn’t appear to be close to 100 percent, and has yet to record a sack on the season. Through 6 games, the Giants have only 5 sacks and Mathias Kiwanuka leads the team with 1.5.

Justin Tuck has just a half sack on the season as well. If the Giants have any plans on slowing down opposing teams offenses, they must start getting pressure on the quarterback, otherwise we could be seeing a true #suckforclowney campaign.

Edge:
Giants – The Vikings defense is on pace to be the worst in franchise history.

Special Teams:

Kicker: Blair Walsh vs. Josh Brown

Punter: Jeff Locke vs. Steve Weatherford

Return Man: Cordarrelle Patterson vs. Rueben Randle

The Giants are 0-6, and the special teams hasn’t helped the teams woos. Josh Brown is 4/6 on field goals, and is kicking at a 50 percent rate beyond 30 yards.

In his 2-years in the NFL, Blair Walsh has kicked at a 91.7 percent clip, and is 9/10 this season. As effective as Walsh has been, it’s been the inability of the offense to get the job done that’s been the difference in the Vikings struggles.

In the punting game, Steve Weatherford is averaging 47.4 yards per punt, but he has 5 touchbacks and the Giants have given up 2 punt-return touchdowns on the season.
Jeff Locke has been much more efficient with only one touchback, and is averaging 46 yards per punt.

The Giants haven’t had much production in the return game, and with David Wilson likely out the rest of the season, Reuben Randle has to step up. He has yet to make a significant impact this season returning kicks with a long of 14 yards.

For the Vikings, Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson has been very explosive returning kicks including a 105-yard kick return for a touchdown.

Edge:
Vikings – Minnesota has a more efficient kicker and punter, and have gotten more production in the return game.

Prediction:
2013 has been a nightmare for the New York Giants. Unlike the Jacksonville Jaguars who are a bad 0-7, the Giants have playoff talent and are too good to go 0-7. The Giants finally get into the win column.

Giants 31 Vikings 20

 
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Posted by on 10/21/2013 in NFL

 

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