5 New York Giants Storylines to Watch on Sunday
5 Storylines for the New York Giants
The easy portion of the New York Giants’ schedule wraps up this weekend with a home game against the Green Bay Packers (5-4). Normally, the Packers are one of the NFC’s most lethal teams, but both Aaron Rodgers and backup Seneca Wallace are injured, which leaves Green Bay with either third-string quarterback Scott Tolzien or recently re-signed Matt Flynn.
Even with the injuries, it would still be a monumental mistake to look past the Packers. Although it seems like an easy game on paper, Green Bay has a very capable rushing game led by rookie phenom Eddie Lacy. He has given the Packers an element they have sorely lacked in the past, as the team now ranks sixth in the NFL in rushing, compiling 143 yards per game.
It’s hard not to label every game from here on out a "must-win" for the Giants considering they are still just 3-6. But hosting a battered Green Bay team definitely qualifies as a game New York cannot let slip away from them, especially with the schedule they have coming up.
After hosting Green Bay, the Giants will play Dallas at home in a crucial game. Also, New York still has to play the Redskins twice and will visit San Diego and Detroit, with a home game against Seattle sandwiched in between. It’s going to be no cakewalk into the playoffs.
The Giants are beginning to heat up with three consecutive victories, but the team still has some major concerns as they move forward. Here are five of the team’s biggest storylines as the Giants host the Packers on Sunday.
5. Scott Tolzien
The Packers have lost starter Aaron Rodgers and backup Seneca Wallace. Green Bay named Scott Tolzien as their starting quarterback for Sunday’s game earlier in the week prior to re-signing Matt Flynn. Tolzien is in his third year out of Wisconsin and saw the first action of his NFL career last Sunday against the Eagles. The third stringer went 24-39 for 280 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. If the Giants are going to make a push at the playoffs, they can’t afford to lose to a Tolzien-led Packers team at home.
4. Giants Pass Rush
The Giants pass rush has come alive in the last two games, picking up eight sacks. That total is two more than they had through their first seven games of the season. It’s no secret that a successful pass rush is an integral component in New York’s formula for success. If the Giants can keep the pressure up, they will continue to be a force on defense like they have been in recent weeks. According to the ESPN Stats & Info Department, the Giants defense has not given up a touchdown drive of 35 yards or longer in each of the last three games.
3. Andre Brown
Andre Brown ran like a man possessed in his 2013 debut last week. He put the team on his back, as he carried the ball 30 times for 115 yards and one touchdown. The 30 carries are 10 more than he has ever had in a single game, and the 115 yards mark the second time he has eclipsed the 100-yard mark in a game. Brandon Jacobs was the only other Giants running back to hit the 100-yard mark this season prior to Sunday. If Brown can provide a consistent running game, New York’s offense will improve drastically.
2. Eli Manning and the Passing Game
The Giants rushing attack seems to be straightening itself out with the return of Andre Brown, however Eli Manning is still struggling. Against the Raiders, Manning completed a mere 12 passes. He’s also thrown just two touchdowns in the last three games and hasn’t thrown for over 250 yards since Week 5. In the past, Manning has been the rock on inconsistent Giants teams. Now, he’s become part of the problem. Struggles from Manning will keep the Giants from hitting their stride.
1. One Game Back?
A couple of things need to happen but the Giants could be just one game out of a share of first place in the NFC East after this Sunday’s slate of games. With a win over the Packers and an Eagles loss to the Redskins, the Giants will be right there. A win for the Giants would make them 4-6, a loss would bring the Eagles to 5-6 and the Cowboys have a bye week, so they will remain at 5-5. Let’s look too far ahead for a second. The Giants host the Cowboys in Week 12, and could own a share of first place with a win. That’s pretty miraculous after starting the season 0-6.