Tale Of The Tape: New York Giants At Detroit Lions
- QuarterbackWhile the Giants and Lions first played in 1934, these two teams rarely get together. This will be their second meeting in Detroit since 1997. Eli Manning hopes to make the trip a successful one for the Giants, but his main goal is to finish this disastrous season healthy. Manning is coming off a five-interception game against the Seahawks.The Lions need help to win the NFC North after losing to the Ravens in their Week 15 Monday night game. Matthew Stafford threw two fourth quarter interceptions that gave the game to the Ravens and may keep the Lions out of the postseason. Stafford certainly has the arm strength and quick release scouts want, but that’s not enough to be successful in the NFL.
- OffenseThe Giants need to get some semblance of their running game going against the Lions. They couldn’t against Seattle, and it proved disastrous against the Seahawks. Andre Brown had just 17 yards on 11 carries, but he should be able to be much more productive against the Lions. Wide receiver Victor Cruz (knee sprain and concussion) may not be available.The Lions are one of the most talented offensive teams in the league, but Jim Schwartz has rarely been able to get his offense to play consistently. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is the best at his position in the league and he can defeat double coverage. The Lions are hoping that Reggie Bush has an explosive game and takes the pressure off of Stafford.
- DefenseAlmost shockingly, the Giants have risen to 10th in the league in overall defense. Strong safety Antrell Rolle is certainly the best overall player on the unit. He leads the team with 86 tackles, but he also has 17 passes defensed and six interceptions. Linebacker Jon Beason has made a solid contribution since signing with the Giants. He has 73 tackles this season.The Lions rank 16th in overall defense, but they are a solid fifth against the run. Defensive tackles Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh are a formidable duo who can keep any opponent from establishing the interior run. Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch is one of the NFL’s most underrated performers. He leads the Lions with 107 tackles and he also has 3.0 sacks.
- Special TeamsThe Giants have been beaten up and bruised this year, and they have gotten no relief from their special teams. They have given up three punt returns for touchdowns this year. Josh Brown is a decent kicker who has made 18-of-20 FG attempts. Steve Weatherford gets excellent distance on his punts.The Lions have been ordinary in their special teams coverage, but they have gotten quite a lift from return specialist Jeremy Ross. He has returned both a punt and kickoff for a touchdown. David Akers has made 15-of-20 FG attempts, including 2-of-2 from 50 yards and beyond.
If the Giants are interested in competing hard, they could push the Lions in this game. If they are more interested in heading on vacation, the Lions should win easily. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor