As we edge ever closer to kickoff, time is not on the side of Giants’ latest starting running back Brandon Jacobs. The nine-year veteran paid the price for carrying the bulk of the load and turning in the team’s most successful ground performance of 2013 in Week 6. Jacobs hasn’t seen that sort of production for the best part of two years, and as a result he has been plagued by a hamstring injury ever since. It seems that even the extended period between Thursday Night Football in Week 6 and Monday Week 7 will not suffice, as Jacobs could not participate in the Giants’ final practice before the contest.
The latest move in the Giants 2013 running back fiasco, signing free agent Peyton Hillis, now seems almost calculated. Should the former Madden poster boy suit up for the game, he will be the fifth different rusher to feature for the team this season. In the likely absence of Jacobs, head coach Tom Coughlin must decide between the inexperience of seventh-round draft pick Michael Cox or the under-practiced Hillis who has not started a game in the NFL since Week 2 of last season; either way, whichever one gets the nod will be the fourth-different starter in the backfield for the Giants this season.
For separate reasons neither Cox nor Hillis provide any definite reliability heading into the Monday night game. There is now even more emphasis placed on Eli Manning and his group of talented receivers, and it is likely that the Giants would be better suited with the ball in the air for the brunt of the contest. This stands to reason; after all the Vikings’ pass defense is ranked 30th in the league allowing an average of 308.0 yards per game. Minnesota has also given up a third-highest 13 receiving touchdowns this season through only five games; there is a strong chance they could top of that pile come the final whistle this evening.
Manning is spoiled for choice with the targets at his disposal. Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle have all shone at different points this season, and although he has been quiet as of late, tight end Brandon Myers is no slouch in the position. The three aforementioned wide receivers came to fruition in the opening game of the season when they each posted 100-plus-receiving-yard outings helping their quarterback to top 500 on the day.
Cruz is just outside the league’s top 10 receivers in terms of yardage and leads the team with four touchdowns thus far. Nicks has been inconsistent this season whilst putting his foot in his mouth on occasions, though he leads the team in receiving yardage in the last two games. The second-year pro Randle has made the most trips into the end zone over the same time period and is building a chemistry with his quarterback that looks promising moving forward.
The fact the Giants are 0-6 does not reflect on the abilities and potential of their receiving corps. They have the capability to stand alone though as we saw against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1, they and Manning have the tools to combine to devastating effect. Whether it be through necessity, common sense, or a mixture of the two, the Giants will be looking to heap more misery on this generous Vikings’ pass defense come game-time on Monday night.