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NEWARK STAR LEDGER
Giants' Linebacker Jacquian Williams Ready To Return To Defense At Opportune Time
Excerpt: "Doctors informed Jacquian Williams that the sprained PCL he suffered against the 49ers in Week 6 would sideline him for six to eight weeks. Williams was more optimistic. Before the Giants’ bye week, Williams said he expected to return in time to be on the field against the Packers in Week 12.
But, as often is the case, doctor knows best and Williams is expected to make his return Sunday against the Saints — seven weeks after he sustained the injury.
“It’s time. I practiced better,” the second-year linebacker out of South Florida said. “My team can use me, and I’m ready.”
Williams is officially listed as probable for Sunday and said he was awaiting the doctors and coaching staff’s clearance Friday. He practiced all week and was a full participant for the first time Friday.
Williams, who played a hybrid safety-linebacker position earlier in the season, said he expects similar responsibilities and playing time to what he earned in the season’s first six games. Williams played a season-high 30 snaps in the opener against the Cowboys, and was in on 40 percent of the defense’s 298 snaps in the first five weeks.
“I don’t expect my role to change at all,” Williams said. “My speed is something that my team looks for me to do and I’m using my speed wherever they choose for me to go.”
That speed returns at an opportune time. Williams will be an option utilized to contend with the Saints’ myriad of weapons, notably the shifty Darren Sproles out of the backfield and the athletic Jimmy Graham at tight end.
“He adds a more explosive, athletic factor to our defense,” linebacker Michael Boley said of Williams. “He’s a tremendous athlete.” Read more...
Giants' Will Hill Is Next Man Up As Injuries Mount At Safety
Excerpt: "With safety Kenny Phillips (knee) listed as doubtful and fellow safety Tyler Sash (hamstring) ruled out for Sunday's game against the Saints, the role of third safety in the Giants’ three-safety package falls on Will Hill, the former All-State product out of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City.
“That means I’m up to bat,” the first-year safety said. “I’ve been prepared. I’ve just had vets above me, and I’ve had to sit back and wait my turn, but I’m always ready.”
Hill has played in three games since coming off a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. In those three games, Hill only played 12 defensive snaps — all against Green Bay. Hill figures to play a bigger role on defense as the third safety against the Saints’ pass-first offense.
“He would be,” head coach Tom Coughlin said of Hill. “He’s practiced in both special teams and on defense, in multiple roles on defense. So if called upon I think he’d be ready to do that.” Read more...
Giants' Hakeem Nicks Listed As Questionable, Jacquian Williams Expects To Play Sunday
Excerpt: "For the first time since Week 6, Jacquian Williams is expected to suit up Sunday against the Saints.
Williams hasn't played since spraining his PCL against the 49ers, but is listed as probable for Sunday.
"I practiced more than I ever did since the injury so that's a good thing," the second-year linebacker said. "I'm waiting to hear back from the coaches and the medical staff to release me, but I'm ready to go. I practiced well."
Williams said he has all of his speed back, which will be key going against Drew Brees' multitude of weapons, including tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Darren Sproles.
"Just going 100 percent [at practice]," Williams said when asked how he knows he is prepared to play. "Treating it like a game. That's how I tested my body and that's how I know I'm ready."
The possibility of playing Sunday isn't as definite for wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (knee) and even less so for safety Kenny Phillips (knee)." Read more...
Linval Joseph, Will Montgomery Fined for Incident During Giants-Redskins Game
Excerpt: "The scrum that formed after a fumble in the Giants' 17-16 loss to the Redskins Monday night resulted in two fines, Giants defensive tackle Linval Joseph ($7,875) and Redskins center Will Montgomery ($10,000), a person with knowledge of the fines confirmed. That person requested anonymity because the league did not announce them.
Redskins running back Alfred Morris fumbled in the third quarter, and players piled up to recover the loose ball. Joseph said he saw Montgomery dive at a teammate's shoulder, so he began to pull Montgomery out of the pile by his left leg. Montgomery kicked at Joseph's groin area, after which Joseph raised his right foot to stomp on him -- but Joseph stopped himself before following through, which he admitted was a "challenge."
"I started, then I stopped. I thought about it," Joseph said after the game, explaining that he didn't want to hurt the team or get fined. "He dove on somebody's shoulder, and there was no way he was going to get the ball, so I was trying to get him off the pile."
Not surprisingly, Montgomery's account was different. Montgomery told reporters in Washington he plans to appeal the fine, via The Washington Times." Read more...
Giants' Tom Coughlin Reminds Team, "Destiny Is A Matter Of Choice"
http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2...eminds_te.htmlExcerpt: "The Giants have a tough schedule ahead as they try to blaze a trail to the playoffs. But not to be overlooked is that, at 7-5, they have a one-game lead in the division and still control their own destiny.
Coach Tom Coughlin said he gave his team a positive message along those lines this week, as the Giants prepare for the Saints.
"Destiny is a matter of choice. We talked about that (Thursday) morning," Coughlin said in his weekly interview with Giants.com, the team's official website. "But we also talked about the positive energy that has to be generated at this time of year about the opportunities that we have. We’re 7-5. We lead the division by one game. We do have control of our own fate in our own hands and that’s the way you want it. You don’t want to be dependent on anyone else, and so that’s where we are and trying to stay positive."
Coughlin said it was a challenge, after a Monday night game, to spin the week forward while also reviewing the lessons from last week's 17-16 loss to the Redskins. He said he went over three topics with the team: Consistency, the unacceptable nine penalties against Washington and last year's mantra of finishing, which he said the team hasn't done in its past two losses."We have to play consistently at a championship level," Coughlin continued. "We had the Green Bay experience (a 38-10 win), which was a great experience when we had great passion and our energy level was very, very high and we played like we expected to win. I wouldn’t say that about the other night. So we have to get back to that. We have to play that way to establish yourself finishing the season that way, and if you’re playing your best football, then you have high expectations and they’re legit. But if you’re not playing especially well, then that’s another issue.” Read more...
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS.
Giants Vow To Be Winners Against Saints
Excerpt: "Mathias Kiwanuka does not chase vengeance. But he does know when his team has something to prove. And when the Giants linebacker reflects on the beatdown his squad received from the Saints last season, he knows what must be done.
“We’re not that team that showed up down there,” he says. “And if we want to be successful, we have to play way better than that.”
That’s something all the Giants want to do on Sunday against the Saints.
A year ago, a reeling Giants squad walked into the Louisiana Superdome and limped out after suffering a crushing 49-24 loss. And while the Giants recovered and went on to win the Super Bowl, the embarrassment of the blowout — and the fact that New Orleans has recorded two straight monster wins over Big Blue — has not been forgotten.
“It’s definitely something in the back of your mind, to know that they pretty much embarrassed us the last time we played,” says linebacker Michael Boley, who missed last year’s game with a hamstring injury. “The whole mind-set is ‘Don’t let that happen again.’ ”
That’s an idea that’s been mentioned throughout team meetings this week. The Giants still recall how a 21-3 halftime deficit just kept growing, how the Saints “kicked the s--- out of us,” as defensive coordinator Perry Fewell says.
“They just embarrassed us, and we embarrassed ourselves,” says corner Prince Amukamara. “This week, everyone just talked about it like ‘They gave it to us that game, and they didn’t let up.’ ” Read more...
Jacquian Williams Set To Come Back
Excerpt: "The Giants’ fastest linebacker hopes to return to action on Sunday, just in time to face dangerous Saints tight end Jimmy Graham.
Jacquian Williams, who has missed the past six games with a knee injury, pronounced himself “ready to go” on Friday, after practicing every day this week. The second-year linebacker added that he went “100%” throughout the week, and he believes he is finally fully healthy.
“It’s time,” he said. “My team can use me and I’m ready.”
The second-year man is listed as probable. Williams said he expects to play “my normal role,” and he has no concerns that he will be limited on Sunday after spending more than a month rehabbing his knee.
“Once I’m out there,” he said, “I’m going.”
Williams’ likely return means that the Giants will have a fully healthy linebacking corps for the first time all season. Michael Boley (shoulder) and Chase Blackburn (ankle) are also probable, and injury-riddled veteran Keith Rivers has suited up for the last two games.
“We’re all back healthy and playing,” said Boley, “so it’s going to be a fun game to watch.” Read more...
THE NEW YORK POST
Giants Must Put Clamps On Saints' Graham
Excerpt: "The last time the Giants saw the Saints, the number 80 left an indelible mark on the Big Blue defense — as in the jersey number worn by New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham.
More specifically, the number on Graham’s back, which the Giants were forced to view on each of his two touchdown catches in the Saints’ 49-24 rout a little more than a year ago, on Nov. 28, 2011.
The 26-year-old Graham is perhaps the NFL’s best tight end, probably the Saints’ best offensive threat and almost certainly the most athletic tight end in the NFL.
“He’s probably your new-age Tony Gonzalez, new-age Antonio Gates,” Giants safety Stevie Brown said.
Graham also may be the biggest weapon the Giants need to contain in tomorrow’s pivotal game against the Saints at MetLife Stadium. Drew Brees has thrown for 77 touchdown passes over the last two seasons — 19 of them to Graham, including eight this year.So how do the Giants contain the 6-foot-7, 265-pound Graham, who had terrific success against them last season and who often lines up in the slot?“It’s just more so you’ve got to play games with him, just like you’ve got to play games with the quarterback and everything like that,” Brown said. “You’ve got to show him a different coverage.“You’ve got to play him like you’re going to put your hands on him. You actually do have to sometimes get up there and put your hands on him. You’ve just got to keep it switched up so you can keep him guessing.”
The Giants will almost certainly attempt to do so without safety Kenny Phillips, listed as doubtful with a knee injury (he was doubtful last week but played in the loss to the Redskins). But they should be getting some help with athletic linebacker Jacquian Williams back in the fold.Williams has missed the last six games with a knee injury but is listed as probable.“That’s a huge boost for this team,” linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka said. “He’s a special talent.” Read more...
Wounded Knee: Nicks Questionable
Excerpt: "Hakeem Nicks missed practice on Thursday with a sore knee, but the Giants wideout was back working yesterday.
Nicks did not practice fully and is listed as questionable for tomorrow’s game against the Saints at MetLife Stadium. But the fact he was able to take part in some drills was promising, in the wake of Thursday’s inactivity.
“I hope so,” coach Tom Coughlin said when asked if that were a good sign that Nicks would play tomorrow.
Nicks has had an injury-plagued season, missing three games with knee and foot woes. He has played in seven straight games, however, and has performed a bit better lately, hauling in 19 catches for 195 yards and a touchdown over the last three weeks.
* Third wideout Domenik Hixon, who has missed the last two games with an ankle injury, is listed as probable. The Giants are likely to be without two safeties, withKenny Phillips (knee) doubtful and Tyler Sash (hamstring) out, leaving just Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown and Will Hill as the active safeties. Phillips did not practice all week. Tight end Travis Beckum (knee) is also out." Read more...
THE BERGEN RECORD
Giants Want To Play Wirth "Dog Mentality"
Excerpt: "Antrel Rolle and Jason Pierre-Paul delivered messages they hope will resonate with their defensive teammates this week as the Giants prepared for Sunday’s showdown against Drew Brees and the Saints.
Rolle called for more of a "dog mentality," a tougher and more physical approach echoed by Pierre-Paul’s assertion that the Giants have been "a little soft."
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s message was a lot simpler and to the point.
"Win. We need to win these games," Fewell said. "That’s my message."
Because the Giants know what it’s like to lose to Brees and the Saints, and this is not the time of the year where they can even fathom about letting something like that happen again.
The Giants were exposed in just about every facet during last season’s 49-24 "Monday Night Football" debacle in New Orleans, and as Victor Cruz suggested: "It was definitely embarrassing. Whenever you get beat like that it’s never a good feeling."
Fewell preferred to skip reminiscing about his unit’s performance against the high-octane Saints: "I wanted to forget about that game because they kicked the [crap] out of us."
The Giants (7-5) will be out to return the favor, although the urgency involved with such a challenge is compounded by the Redskins and the Cowboys as much as it is the Saints.
The NFC East lead is down to one game and the Giants could not stop Washington when it mattered most in their 17-16 loss Monday. That failure to get off the field and give Eli Manning one last chance at a comeback victory has provided the defense with plenty of motivation.
In reality, as Mathias Kiwanuka puts it, "If you can’t stop the run, you won’t stop anyone." Read more...
NEW YORK TIMES
WALL STREET JOURNAL
The Coughlin Corner: Final Four Games
Q: Last year after you lost to the Redskins in the 15th game, you told the players it was an exciting time of year, they still controlled their own destiny and they should take advantage of it. After losing in Washington Monday night, you’re in first place with four games remaining. Is it largely the same this situation?
Coughlin: “Yes, it is. Destiny is a matter of choice. We talked about that (Thursday) morning, but we also talked about the positive energy that has to be generated at this time of year about the opportunities that we have. We’re 7-5. We lead the division by one game. We do have control of our own fate in our own hands and that’s the way you want it. You don’t want to be dependent on anyone else, and so that’s where we are and trying to stay positive. The problem with a Monday night game is if you look at a normal cycle, it takes the players a couple of days to get back to where they’re focused. It goes ahead and not back and when you don’t see the players until Wednesday, even though I really didn’t dwell on a lot from the other night, I did talk about three particular areas. One, consistency; two was the penalties, which came out of nowhere; and three was the finish idea, which we’ve always had but, quite frankly, in our last two losses we haven’t finished. We talked briefly about that, but I tried to put it in a positive way.”
Q: You mentioned on your conference call many of the good things the team did Monday night. When you’re coaching this week, are you accentuating what you did well or are you focusing on what you have to correct?
Coughlin: “We take the opponent and we focus on what it’s going to take to defeat the opponent. What we’re trying to do is to create the idea where finishing the thing is so important. It’s been a difficult time for me because one of the things I did say to the team right after the game was, ‘What happened in the second half?’ One hundred yards in the second half is not going to get it done.”
Q: When you said you have to win the four games, that seems to be a real challenge to the players, both in terms of what they have to do to make the playoffs and the importance of improving their play. Have you challenged the players to go out and do that?
Coughlin: “I challenge the players to win every game, every week. What I was really doing, and I’ve done it consistently now, particularly since we came back from the bye, is it’s now a four-game schedule. We need to win all the games in our four-game schedule. But really, just as importantly, we have to play consistently at a championship level. We had the Green Bay experience (a 38-10 victory), which was a great experience when we had great passion and our energy level was very, very high and we played like we expected to win. I wouldn’t say that about the other night. So we have to get back to that. We have to play that way to establish yourself finishing the season that way, and if you’re playing your best football, then you have high expectations and they’re legit. But if you’re not playing especially well, then that’s another issue.”
Q: Your current turnover differential is plus-14, which is the best of your career. That is something that is always very important to you. Do you feel like you really haven’t taken advantage of that as well as you should have in terms of scoring points off of turnovers?
Coughlin: "I don’t relate that directly to that. When you have all the amassed yards that you had in the first half (273 in Washington) and you have only 13 points, you just kind of ask, ‘Where are the points?’”
Q: Plus-14 is something you’ve probably strived for.
Coughlin: “But you have to remember last year. There were people that were plus-28. San Francisco and who was the other team that was almost plus-30 (Green Bay was plus-24)? Hopefully, it does turn out to be that way. But it also means that (the opponent) has to earn it. When you’re not turning the ball over, the opponent gets no benefit. And that’s, quite frankly, what we’re trying to do is to create takeaways, where you have a team that’s averaging 11 drives a game and all of sudden it’s eight. It’s only eight he can do with, because we’ve got three of his. And if we get all 11, we’ve always figured if we get 11, then we’ll have the points that will show it. Two weeks ago we did. Last week we didn’t. But you had a pretty solid, solid football game in which the one turnover we did get in the game was deep in our territory. It didn’t provide us with the field position you’re talking about there.”
Q: Do you feel fortunate you were able to replace Sean Locklear with David Diehl , who has 145 career starts?
Coughlin: “It was David Diehl’s job. He was the starting right tackle. He’s had injuries this year that he’s never had before. Locklear stepped in and played and it’s unfortunate that Sean is hurt and gone for the season. I feel badly for him. He’s earned the right to be here and to help us at this point in the year. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. So now David Diehl coming off his most recent injury has got to help us take this thing to a better level, play our final four games at a much higher quality. We’re starting to run it a little bit. Let’s keep that going.”
Q: Keith Rivers got extensive time the other night. Is he finally healthy?
Coughlin: “You’re always going to try to match up according to the people that you play and what their strengths are and so on and so forth. Rivers is healthy and he continues to help us on special teams and also contributed obviously with the fumble recovery (in Washington). Chase (Blackburn) knocked it out and he got the ball.”
Q: With Rivers in the lineup, can you take advantage of Mathias Kiwanuka’s versatility by moving him upfront?
Coughlin: “Yes. He’s in the rotation. He’s been up there. He’s been there since we came back from the bye week.”
Q: Drew Brees leads the league in touchdown passes and also leads the league in interceptions. Is this a “bonanza” game, where you need to get a lot of sacks?
Coughlin: “The game we just showed the team (Thursday) morning was the (New Orleans vs.) San Francisco game with five sacks and two interceptions for touchdowns (by the 49ers). That certainly let them stand in good stead. We need to have pressure on the quarterback. We need to get to the quarterback here. That’s our game, let’s face it. That’s what these guys have done best over the course of their careers. Now this team will run the ball. They ran the ball very effectively against us a year ago and they have done that and they are multi-talented at the running back spot, as they are at receiver and as they are at tight end and as they are at offensive line. They have a really good offensive machine. Look at them in the green zone: 70 percent touchdowns, first in the league. They’re 44 percent on third down. They do an awful lot of good things.”
Q: They seem as deep as any team you’ve ever played.
Coughlin: “Very deep.”
Q: Their defense is ranked last in the league but seems to have improved recently.
Coughlin: “Absolutely. Atlanta had 273 yards the other day. Atlanta did run the ball, but they certainly didn’t amass a lot of yards. You’re talking about a 23-13 game where New Orleans has got a chance to score a touchdown or a field goal before the half and the clock runs out on them.”
Q: How big a weapon is their punter, Thomas Morstead?
Coughlin: "He’s a good punter now, no question. But he also has the benefit of playing nine games indoors (eight at home and one in Atlanta). You watch Atlanta go back and forth. They both play in that operation.”
Q: Are Darren Sproles and Travaris Cadet very dangerous return specialists?
Coughlin: “Yes, they are. They put Cadet in there and he runs a 75-yarder right away. This (running back Chris) Ivory kid, he’s 5-9, 222 pounds and he runs a 4.48. He tears them up. He’s the third or fourth one that gets to play. He doesn’t get to play much. Pierre Thomas gets it overall and (Mark) Ingram slams it up in there and this guy is their outside guy. But he’s very good.” Players Aware Of Slim NFC East Lead
"Eli Manning didn’t have to be told this week that the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys are lurking right behind the Giants in the NFC East standings.
Giants Players To Watch vs. Saints
“I know exactly where they are,” Manning said. “Each week will present possibly new standings, a new set of circumstances. As of right now, we know we need to start winning some football games. It starts this week and it’s a big game for us.”
Manning was referring to the Giants’ home game Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. And yes, it is big. It won’t decide the winner of the division race, but it will go a long way in determining who will be the eventual champion.
A loss Monday night in Washington left the Giants at 7-5, one game ahead of both Dallas and Washington with one quarter of the season still to be played.
“If you look at it right now, we’re first,” safety Stevie Brown said. “We have a game lead in the standings, so if win them all, no one can pass us. That’s how we’re looking at it. If we can win all these games, we’re in the playoffs. So that’s the right step we’re going to try to get to.”
The Giants’ desire, obviously, is to remain in control of their own destiny. That’s why Tom Coughlin said Tuesday that the Giants have to win every one of their four remaining games. With losses in three of their previous four games, the players have no grounds for dissent.
“It’s the reality of the situation,” said defensive end/linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka . “It doesn’t matter who says it. That’s the situation we’re in. To accomplish our goals, we have to win these last four games.”
“It’s not the easiest thing in the world you want to hear,” wide receiver Victor Cruz said. “But we’ve been in this position before, where we’ve had to win games to continue to stay alive for the playoffs. We’re no strangers to that, so we’ve just got to be able to stay focused and get these wins under our belt.”
They face a considerable challenge in doing that. The Saints arrive with back-to-back losses and a 5-7 record, but they have a high-scoring offense led by quarterback Drew Brees, who leads the NFL with 31 touchdown passes. And New Orleans has beaten the Giants in their last three meetings, including a 25-point runaway last year in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Giants will then hit the road for games in Atlanta and Baltimore, which are a combined 20-4 (11-1 at home), before ending the season at home against Philadelphia, which is reeling with eight straight losses but would relish an opportunity to cancel the Giants’ title celebration.
“A lot of teams are in a very similar situation as us,” Manning said. “In these situations, this is fun, this is exciting, and that’s how you have to look at it. It's not a situation where you say, ‘Oh, we've got to win,’ and you get nervous or you get tight or you get worried. Right now, we're playing to try to make it to the playoffs, and extend our season, and these are all big games, and they're all important, and we've got to enjoy this opportunity.”
The Giants have traveled a road much like this last year. They lost to the Redskins on December 18 and had to win their final two games to assure they’d be in the playoffs. They beat the Jets and Cowboys to clinch the division and swept four postseason games to win their second championship in five seasons.
Now, with little margin for error and a tough schedule ahead of them, the Giants might need a similar surge just to make the playoffs.
“That’s the way it is, that’s the nature of the business,” linebacker Chase Blackburn said. “You try and fight for a spot in the playoffs. We know we’re making that playoff push. It’s that time of year where you know you have to get everyone all in and get everyone on the same page and whatever it is – you have to spend extra time in the film room, weight room, training room, whatever it is. The guys in this locker have good character and are willing to make those sacrifices for the team.”
“We’re just excited,” Cruz said. “We’re excited for the opportunity to play these last four going into the playoffs on a good swing with some good momentum potentially and just be able to finish this thing strong headed to the playoffs with a positive mindset and we’re excited for the challenge. We’re all up to it and we’re ready to go.”
*Tight end Travis Beckum (knee) and safety Tyler Sash (hamstring) have been declared out of the game Sunday.
SafetyKenny Phillips , who played the last two weeks after missing six games with a knee injury, did not practice and is listed as doubtful. He was doubtful last week, but played against the Redskins.
Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is questionable. He practiced today on a limited basis after missing the workout yesterday with knee soreness.
Six players are listed as probable: linebackers Michel Boley (shoulder), Jacquian Williams (knee) and Blackburn (ankle), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (back), wide receiver Domenik Hixon (ankle) and running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), the only one of the group who was limited in practice.
The big news is the potential return of linebacker Jacquian Williams, who has not played since hurting his knee in San Francisco on October 14. He would give the Giants another speedy defender to lineup against a Saints offense that is fully-staffed with talented backs and receivers, all of whom catch passes from Brees.
“It’s time,” Williams said. “I practiced better. My team can use me and I’m ready. I’m just waiting on the release from the medical staff and coaches.
“I went 100 percent (this week in practice). I treated it like a game and that’s how I tested my body and that’s why I’m ready.”
Williams’ teammates are eager to get him back on the field.
“He adds a more explosive, athletic factor to our defense,” Boley said. “He’s a tremendous athlete. He does a lot of different things for us.”
If Phillips is sidelined, Williams presumably could take over some of his duties, including covering tight end Jimmy Graham, who has scored eight touchdowns.
“(He) can be in some of those coverage situations against the very, very good tight ends,” Coughlin said.
“I don’t expect my role to change at all,” Williams said. “My speed is something that my team looks for me to do and I’m using my speed wherever they choose for me to go.”
*Coughlin dismissed the notion that Brees and the Saints, who play their home games in a dome, might have trouble if it’s raining and/or cold Sunday in MetLife stadium.
“The quarterback is from Purdue,” Coughlin said. “I think he’s played in cold weather.”
*The Giants are 26-29 in games following a Monday night game, including 8-8 since 2000.
*The Giants lead the series with New Orleans, 14-12, but have lost three in a row and four of their last five games against the Saints. Their only triumph in that streak was a 27-10 Monday night victory on Sept. 19, 2005 in Giants Stadium – though it was a Saints home game because the team was forced to leave New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. On Nov. 28, 2011, the Giants lost in New Orleans, 49-24. The Giants will host the Saints for the first time since Dec. 24, 2006, when New Orleans triumphed, 30-7. The Giants are 10-4 in home games vs. the Saints, who will make their first visit to MetLife Stadium. Total points in the 26 regular season meetings: Giants 546, Saints 544.
*The Giants will hold their annual Toys for Tots drive on Sunday. Giants fans are encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys to any of the collection vehicles and volunteers located at each gate prior to entering MetLife Stadium on Sunday. Uniformed Marine Corps Reserves will be on hand to assist in collecting these gifts. All gifts collected during the drive will be donated to Toys for Tots, the premier community action program of the United States Marines."
1) CB Prince Amukamara –
Since he settled into a starting role in Week 4, last year’s first-round draft choice has been relatively quiet in recent weeks, which is sometimes a good thing for a cornerback. Amukamara has strung together a solid run this season while his tackling and coverage have also improved. The Giants will need their entire secondary clicking on Sunday when they welcome the Saints to MetLife Stadium. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell assessed Amukamara’s progress this week.
“I was very leery, I (was) saying, ‘I want more out of Prince, I want him to do this, I want him to do that,’” Fewell said. “Then, when I went back and looked at him over the bye week, Prince has done some really good things. I think Prince has only given up one big play, at that point in the bye week. Although he needs to be better technique-wise, he’s really progressed and done some nice things.”
2) LB Jacquian Wilson –
Out with a knee injury since Week 7, Williams is expected to make his return this Sunday. He’s been close in recent weeks, but this appears to be the week when Fewell can work him back in as he is officially listed as probable. The Giants will need his speed against versatile players like tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Darren Sproles.
“It’s time,’ Williams said Friday. “I practiced better. My team can use me and I’m ready.”
3) RB David Wilson –
The rookie didn’t receive the expected increase in his workload last week, but that was because Ahmad Bradshaw was so effective. While the Saints defense has improved recently, it still ranks last in the NFL against the run, giving up 153.8 yards per game. Any running back has to like those numbers.
4) DE Jason Pierre-Paul –
The pass rush was shutout last game against Mike Shanahan’s scheme in Washington, but facing a more traditional offense this week could mean a bonanza. The Giants will need all the pressure they can get on Drew Brees and the Saints. Meanwhile, Pierre-Paul hasn’t recorded a sack since Week 9 and has been on the injury report with a back injury. However, he isn’t expected to miss any time.
5) OT David Diehl–
The entire team felt for Sean Locklear when he suffered a season-ending knee injury on Monday night, but the season waits for no one. Diehl will return to the starting lineup in his place at right tackle, saying he feels better than he has all season.
“I’m just excited to get out there and play football and feel good, feel ready to play and help our football team win games,” Diehl said earlier this week. “We’ve got a four-game stretch and it starts with this weekend.”
Giants vs. Saints: Guide To Defending Drew Brees
Excerpt: "Today at Giants 101, we've already discussed how the New York Giants offense must clean up its act if the team wants to emerge from Week 14 with the NFC East divisional lead. Although the defense has not exactly shut down its opponents this season, the offense has had a chance to put the Giants ahead late in the fourth quarter in four of the Giants' five losses. The defense has kept this team in almost every game they have played, which is about all you can ask for in an offense friendly NFL.
That said, the Giants may have to replicate their Week 12 effort against the Green Bay Packers if the team wants to win on Sunday. That's a lot easier said than done, because New Orleans is tied for eighth in the league in least sacks given up, with 22. The Giants pass rush is not going be getting into the backfield on every play. The secondary is going to need to hold up against the Saints lethal combination of size and speed at running back, tight end and wide receiver.
Let's take a look at three things the Giants must do to slow down the Saints offense on Sunday.
Three Safety Look (Even if Kenny Phillips Can't Play)
The Giants three safety look allows the defense to throw a lot of different personnel groupings at an offense. This scheme may not be employed much this week, because Kenny Phillips has not practiced thus far and is doubtful to play on Sunday. However, with Antrel Rolle, Will Hill and Stevie Brown on the the field, the Giants still have enough talent to play three safeties at one time.
Besides the fact that the team played Phillips, Rolle, Brown and Hill on the field at the same time in Week 13 against the Green Bay Packers, the versatility that Hill provides will allow the Giants to change up their defensive fronts against the Saints. Although Antrel Rolle is accustomed to lining up as the slot corner when their are three safeties on the field, Hill also has experience at the nickel cornerback this season as well. With both on the field at the same time, it will take Drew Brees that much longer to get his pre-snap read on the Giants coverage. Perry Fewell recently praised this package and it's effectiveness.
“When you use that package, it gives you a lot of flexibility and it does cause some confusion for the offense: ‘Who is the safety? Who is the guy that’s dropping down?’,” Fewell said. “The way the safeties move around and the way they allow us to change them can be confusing and difficult for a quarterback.”
The three safety formation also allows the Giants to move around Mathias Kiwanuka more. For a linebacker, Kiwi is slow in pass coverage and can be a liability against a quarterback of Brees' caliber. However, with three safeties on the field, the Giants only need two linebackers and can afford to have Kiwi play as a down linemen in the NASCAR package. We saw the Giants use this package to garner five sacks against the Green Bay Packers." Read more...
Giants' Offense Must Carry Its Weight Against Saints
Excerpt: "The New York Giants have their backs to the wall on Sunday. A loss to the 5-7 New Orleans Saints could strip Big Blue of the division lead and throw them into the blood bath that is the NFC Wild Card race.
To preserve control of their Super Bowl defense, the Giants have to beat a talented football team this weekend. And while it may be fun to think about how the defense can stop Drew Brees, the reality is that they probably won't. The onus is going to fall on Eli Manning and Co. to put up a lot of points and hope the defense holds up.
The Saints have the NFL's last ranked defense, as they have allowed 5,286 yards of total offense through 12 games. New Orleans ranks 28th in points allowed, 20th in sacks and 18th in turnover margin. There is nothing spectacular, intimidating or even mildly impressive about this unit. The Saints defense had been a complete train wreck this season and is the major contributing factor to the team's losing record so far. Although the talent is not there, Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride says New Orleans' scheme is difficult to attack.
“It’s the old Philadelphia, Jim Johnson defensive scheme, which is a great scheme,” offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. “It’s one you have to be right on your toes to see where the pressure is coming from and then they’ll play just enough man or two-high that if you keep everybody in to protect against the blitz, you’re sitting there with seven guys blocking and they have eight guys dropping defensively.” Read more...
BIG BLUE VIEW
Spotlight On....Saints' Wide Receiver Marques Colston
Excerpt: "New Orleans Saints' wide receiver Marques Colston is having a historic 2012 season with the Saints, despite the team's collective struggles getting to the playoffs.
Colston played football at Hofstra University. In his career there he had 182 catches for 2,834 yards (school record) and 18 touchdowns. He declared for the NFL draft in 2006. Colston was predicted to either become a tight end because of his size or go undrafted. The Saints ultimately chose Colston in the seventh round, 252nd overall that year.
Colston impressed at training camp and won the starting job Week 1 that season. He was one of the few seventh round picks to get a starting job Week 1 and quickly became a favorite target of quarterback Drew Brees. Colston finished his rookie season with 70 receptions for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns, helping the Saints to a 10-6 record. The Saints made it all the way to the NFC Championship game, but fell short to the Chicago Bears 39-14.
Colston came in second for the Rookie of the Year voting behind Tennessee Titans' quarterback Vince Young, and tied with Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He had more votes than teammate Reggie Bush, who was drafted second overall.
Despite the Saints struggling this season, Colston made franchise history. On Oct. 7th, Colston broke Joe Horn's record for most touchdown catches with 52 in his career. On Nov. 11th, Colston tied Deuce McAllister's team record for total touchdowns when he scored his 55th touchdown. So far this season Colston has 61 receptions for 828 yards and eight touchdowns. Brees still uses Colston and tight end Jimmy Graham as his top targets and opponents offensive threats." Read more...
Folger's Forecast: Giants vs. Saints
Excerpt: "The Giants did enough things to defeat the Redskins on Monday night, but their mental laziness did them in. They know that they have enough talent to beat the best teams in the league, which is part of the problem.
It’s no secret that they only play their best when their backs are against a wall, when no one believes in them. They don’t seem intent on paying the price until they have no choice. A loss this Sunday, and they’ll get their wish.
Running the ball against the Giants makes so much sense that we’re surprised that most teams don’t do it more. The Saints have the personnel to run it down the Giants’ throats, but that would entail taking the ball out of the hands of quarterback Drew Brees, and we’re not sure that an interim head coach has the power to do that.
Giants On Offense
It’s that time of the year when a new face or two needs to rise from the ashes. It doesn’t look like running back David Wilson is going to be that guy. Receiver Jerrel Jernigan, however, has a chance, especially if the Giants fall behind and have to throw the ball.
Teams are defending the Giants’ passing game by getting up in the wide outs’ faces. Quickness can beat the jam, and Jernigan has that in spades. Look for the Giants to start challenging opposing defenses with quick hitters off those jams.
Losing Sean Locklear for the season is a blow, but the Giants are fortunate to have David Diehl back from his litany of injuries. Diehl has always come up big in big games for the Giants. He’ll have to overcome his declining skills as well as the injuries, but we wouldn’t put it past him to come up big.
Eli Manning still doesn’t look completely comfortable out there. Not having Hakeem Nicks at full speed is certainly one of his problems. He has to start looking to Martellus Bennett more often, as Bennett played very well last week and looks to be eager to take on a bigger role. Rueben Randle is another young player who needs to step up.
One player who has executed his role to near-perfection all year is fullback Henry Hynoski. This second-year player’s lead-blocking has been consistently superb. Let’s hope that Ahmad Bradshaw gets behind him and stays there more often, and that the Giants focus on running behind the much stronger left side of their offensive line.
Red zone difficulties continue to frustrate this offense, and a lot of it is mental mistakes. The offense’s mental level has to increase. If this group can commit totally, it can do great things. This is the time of year when those things have to start coming together.
The Saints’ defense has been their Achilles heel all year. They are not strong in any one area. Their defensive line likes to rush the passer, but at the expense of the run, which should play right into the Giants’ hands. Second-year defensive end Cameron Jordan leads the Saints with 7.0 sacks. Their leading tackler is veteran strong safety Roman Harper.
The Giants have to dominate this match-up. The offense has to score, they have to be efficient, and they have to finish. Ball control and a committed running game should be priorities. And on passing downs, quick hitters in the middle of the field should work." Read more...
THE RED ZONE.
Giants Work Hard To Clarify What Pierre-Paul Said About Drew Brees
Excerpt: "A day after New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul said it'll be "easier" to face New Orleans Saints record-setting quarterback Drew Brees than it was going up against Washington dual-threat rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, Giants Coach Tom Coughlin rushed to clarify what Pierre-Paul may have meant.
"He's not in any way inferring that it's not a difficult task (playing against Brees)," Coughlin said. "I think what he's referring to is the number of assignments and particulars/specifics that the previous offense forced for all the defensive front, linebackers and safeties in terms of assignment football, point-blank. I think he's referring to that. Just the difference in styles; not in any way, that Drew Brees isn't an excellent player, because he wouldn't do that."
Saints interim coach Joe Vitt, too, said he understood what Pierre-Paul was saying."I've gone through this explanation before it's like you are preparing for six eligible receivers, you are preparing for three running backs on the field at the same time when you are playing an offense like that," Vitt said. "Those quarterbacks like that can extend a down and extend the field. You just don't think make one-on-one tackles against athletes like that. You've got to get population to the ball.
"So I can understand what he is saying with that. Now he is playing a real NFL offense, as opposed to this new type of offense that is coming in now and has really given people some challenges." Read more...
W2W4: Giants vs. Saints
Excerpt: "wants the Giants to go all DMX and find their inner dog.
They’ll definitely need to show more bite defensively than they have against Drew Breesand the Saints in the past.
Here’s five things to watch for on Sunday:
No more Brees spree: Brees must love facing the Giants. He is 4-0 with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions against Big Blue. In destroying the Giants, 48-27 and 49-24, in the teams' past two meetings, Brees passed for eight touchdowns and had a 143.8 quarterback rating.
Brees' teams have scored no less than 30 points against Tom Coughlin’s squad, and have dropped 45 or more three times on the Giants.
The Giants have to figure out a way to get to Brees, who has thrown seven interceptions -- including two pick-sixes -- in his last two games.
No breakdowns: The Giants' secondary will be put to the test. Corey Webster, Prince Amukamara, Rolle and Stevie Brown will have to find a way to slow down the likes of Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Lance Moore.
Any of those three can explode at any given time. If the Giants do as good a job as they did against Green Bay’s aerial attack two weeks ago, Perry Fewell’s defense will be looking very good. But the Giants have to keep New Orleans’ running backs in check." Read more...
Week 14 Predictions: Giants vs. Saints
It's Unanimous: Go figure!
3TFO: Saints vs. Giants Week 14
Excerpt: "Coming off a tough loss on Monday Night Football, the New York Giants will look to rebound at home against the Saints. The Giants’ poor run defense allowed the Redskins to run for more than 200 yards as a team, a tough milestone to overcome.
The G-Men also continue to struggle on defense in terms of pass coverage. Starting cornerback Corey Webster is our second-lowest rated corner in coverage in 2012. Jayron Hosley is the third-worst in coverage, while managing to play only 306 snaps. This is an issue they need to sort out against a potent New Orleans passing game.
As for New Orleans, a 0-4 start got the team in a hole that may be too big to climb out of. They have gone 5-3 in the past eight contests, but see their season slipping away. A 10-point loss in Week 13 against the division-rival Falcons put the Saints’ season on life support. This is a game they need to win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.
Giants Defensive Line vs. Saints Offensive Line
After allowing more than 200 rushing yards, the Giants have to be concerned about their run defense going into this matchup against a talented group of running backs. Jason Pierre-Paul stands out on the D-line when it comes to stopping the run, with his +12.3 grade on rushing plays leading the team by far. He also has managed a Run Stop Percentage (tackles resulting in offensive failure) of 8.3, tied for fourth among 4-3 defensive ends. As for the interior line, Linval Joseph leads the team with 515 snaps, and he’s been fairly average at+0.9 against the run.
New York’s defensive ends get most of the publicity, but Joseph and fellow defensive tackle Chris Canty (+3.2 overall) have certainly held their own.
Having talented ball carriers like Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles can make an offensive line look good, but the Saints’ front five are doing their part. All five offensive linemen grade out positively against the run. Center Brian De La Puente leads the team with a +10.6rating as a run blocker, good for fourth among centers. The Saints also have to be happy about the production of the interior line, as guards Ben Grubbs and Jahri Evans have combined for a +7.4 grade on running plays." Read more...
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