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Game preview Lions

A lot of talk and projection that this week would be a “trap game” for the Giants against the winning tradition of the Detroit Lions.

Thanks mostly to Matt Millen and his high football I.Q. they have a stellar record of 34-115 in last 10 years.  However, this is a team that lost 3 of their 4 games by an average of 3.3 points against the Bears, Igles and Packers.

First let’s look at the line, which currently stands with the Gmen as 10 point favorites with only the Steelers -13.5 over another winning tradition in the Browns.

Below is a list of players and factors to watch for:

  1. The physical attributes of Calvin Johnson.  He was limited this week with shoulder issues so he may not be close to 100%.
  2. The Ndamukong Suh and how he disrupts the run game and causes pressure up the middle against Koets/O’Hara and Seubert.
  3. Turnovers.  Eli’s mental lapse stage must be stopped and Bradshaw must have a repeat of last week.
  4. Special Teams player of the week, Stefan Logan.

This past game Shaun Hill was throwing to Calvin Johnson in double and even triple coverage trusting Johnson physical attributes to come down with the ball.  Of 3 throws thrown into double or triple coverage 2 were receptions with the 3rd ruled incomplete due to having only 1 foot in bounds.  Look for them to force balls into Johnson downfield and especially in the red zone.  The Giants defended the other Johnson, Andre Johnson, well last week but Calvin provides a different challenge due to his size and physicality.

Wonder judged Suh as a “stud #1 talent in the draft” and he is already showing his stuff as a rookie DT.  Andy has mentioned many times on this site that a DT takes at least a couple of years to pay dividends but Suh is a rare bird.  He is quick off the snap, sheds blocks very well and shows tremendous quickness and speed to run down running backs.  The Giants OL has notoriously struggled against powerful athletic DTs such as Shawn Rogers of the Browns and Casey Hampton of the Steelers so keep an eye on him matching up against Koets or Seubert. Bradshaw and Jacobs combined for over 100 yards against the Texans yet without a 23 yard run by Bradshaw on a broken play it was not an exceptional performance.  Banks harped on how they got away from the run too much lately and Bradshaw was limited last week in practice with an ankle issue.  This is one area of concern going up against a team that posses a better than average duo of DTs.  The Lions do rank 6th in the league in sacks and this could be a factor given the concerns above regarding the running game of the Giants. Another observation about the Lions DTs is that they like to get a good quick jump off the snap so watch for Eli with the hard counts to draw them offside.  A side note, Steve Smith could shine this week due to their weakness at safety and the attention drawn to Nicks after his performance last week.

Matthew Stafford was knocked out in week 1 and missed some time last season due to some poor protection up front.  Osi could have some opportunities against Jeff Backus, who is one of the weakest LTs in the league.  To compensate, Hill rolls out of the pocket often to buy extra time and he does have scrambling ability.  The last 2 years we have witnessed the Giants struggling to cover tight ends but so far this year they have contained them with the exception of Dallas Clark.  Detroit relies heavily on their tight ends in the passing game.  They account for almost 50% of their receptions, with a combined 50 receptions from both Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew.  The Detroit passing game is heavily weighted to short and intermediate patterns. Their tight ends and running back, Jahvid Best account for almost 75% of the receptions.  Pete wants to see more than 2 games to be confident about how good this Defense really is.  Take into account that they faced a dreadful Bears OL, a QB who holds on to the ball too long and  Andy may be on to something on his take that they had a “tell” on the Houston offense per Tuck’s evasiveness to his question.  Just speculation, but remember Sage Rosenfels was the back up QB for Houston last year.  A side not on the defense, it should be a good test for Goff and where he is in his progression.

Bottom line, on paper the Giants should exceed the current line of -10.  But another extenuating factor is the weakness of the Giant’s Special Teams versus the Special Teams player of the week in Lion’s Logan noted above.  They must eliminate turnovers and Special Team penalties as this Lion’s team is not a push over per the statistic on 3 of their 4 losses.  With that being said this should be closer than many predict:

24-17 Giants.

UltimateNYG note: Make your prediction of who wins and who covers the spread for all Giants games from Game 6 through the end of the season.  Winner gets the Justin Tuck signed football.  Scoring: 1 pt for submitting your entry each week. 2 points for correctly guessing who wins the game and 2 points for correctly guessing who covers. You must submit your guess as a comment on any post in the week preceeding the game with a timestamp at least one day before the game.  We’ll use a line from Monday or Tuesday from PinnacleSports.com.  (This week, it is Giants -10.)  Winner is the one with the most points after 11 games.