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5 Matchups The New York Giants Need to Win Sunday

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5 Matchups New York Giants Need to Win Sunday

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are going to have their hands full on Sunday against the Denver Broncos as they try to avoid dropping to 0-2 on the season.

In their opener last Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, New York wasn’t able to overcome the mistakes they made early and often in the game. When all was said and done, the Giants committed six devastating turnovers and lost by just five points.

On the other side, the Broncos shredded the Baltimore Ravens' defense in their first game, compiling over 500 yards of total offense. Peyton Manning threw for seven touchdowns, tying an NFL record. With a receiving corps of Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker, the Broncos have the potential to be one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history.

It’s going to take a nearly flawless game from the Giants to pull off this upset. Eli Manning is currently 0-2 against his brother. The last time the two met, Peyton put on a clinic, tossing for three touchdowns in a 38-14 rout of the Giants.

On Sunday, the Giants need to prove that the mistakes against Dallas were rust and not a trend that is going to plague their squad during the rest of the year. It has to start with Eli, who needs to set the tone early with extended drives that end in touchdowns and not field goals.

Here are five crucial matchups that the Giants will have to win on Sunday if they are going to beat the Broncos.

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Jacquian Williams vs. Julius Thomas

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Tony Romo and the Cowboys didn’t shred the Giants' secondary in last Sunday’s opener, but almost everything they completed was down the middle of the field. The linebacker unit is undoubtedly the weak spot on this Giants defense, and this week they learned that starting middle linebacker Dan Connor will miss the rest of the season. Mark Herzlich will be forced to play an extended role, but the Giants can’t depend on him in pass coverage. Look for Jacquian Williams, one of New York’s better cover linebackers, to see increased minutes. He will play opposite Denver tight end Julius Thomas, who caught five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns.

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The Giants D-Line vs. The Broncos O-Line

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Where did the Giants' pass rush go? The question will be asked after each and every game New York fails to generate pressure on the opposing quarterback. The Giants had two sacks against the Cowboys, but one was due to great coverage in the secondary. Peyton Manning will pick apart the Giants defense if he is given ample time in the pocket. Jason Pierre-Paul is the key to resurrecting the pass rush, and he was clearly not 100 percent in the opener. We’ll see what kind of strides he has taken over the course of this week. The Giants should also think about using rookie Damontre Moore, aka “DaMonster,” in certain situations.

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Rueben Randle vs. Tony Carter

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Champ Bailey is out for Sunday’s game, which means each Denver cornerback will shift up one spot in the depth chart. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will start opposite Hakeem Nicks, and Chris Harris will most likely start on Victor Cruz in the slot. That means Tony Carter will have the task on putting the clamps on Rueben Randle. Randle reeled in five passes for 101 yards against Dallas and he is ready to be a star. An entire game with Carter across from him could mean a coming out party for Randle. Nicks and Cruz will also have to do their part, but look for Randle to abuse Carter early and often in this game.

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Terrell Thomas vs. Wes Welker

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously all the Giants' corners are going to have to bring their “A” game against the Broncos. Corey Webster will have to slow down Demaryius Thomas, and Prince Amukamara needs to shut down Eric Decker. However, the most important matchup will be Terrell Thomas on Wes Welker. Thomas is Peyton’s big-play guy, but Welker is his most consistent target. Thomas looked good against the Cowboys and is on his way to returning to his 2010 form. If Thomas can take away Welker, Peyton will have trouble finding a rhythm.

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Eli Manning vs. Peyton Manning

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

All of the other matchups play into this one. These two guys aren’t going head-to-head directly, but Eli must outplay Peyton. He needs to make smarter decisions than he made against the Cowboys. Eli’s mistakes led to a short field for the Cowboys too many times last Sunday night. Eli also made some great throws, but he can’t give the Broncos any gifts like he gave Dallas. If the Giants dig themselves into a hole like they did in the opener, Peyton and the Broncos won’t give him a chance to catch back up. Peyton will make seven touchdown passes look like an off day.