By Paul Dottino
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No, we’re not going to ride this roller coaster again. There’s just no point to it.
The Giants would be well advised to try to win as many of their four remaining games as possible and let the chips fall where the may. No, they no longer control their own destiny because winning out to go 9-7 would leave one knockout scenario in play — Washington would win the tiebreaker and the NFC East should the Redskins also finish at 9-7.
Now that we’ve pushed this issue out of the way, it’s worth noting that the only Giants player listed as OUT on the injury report is OLB Devon Kennard (foot/hamstring). So it’s looking like starting offensive tackles Ereck Flowers and Marshall Newhouse will be ready to go.
Here are three key matchups to watch as the Giants head to Miami for Monday Night Football:
1. Dolphins LDT Ndamukong Suh vs. Giants CTR Weston Richburg and RG John Jerry. The Dolphins shy away from blitzing, hoping to rely on the size and physicality of their front four to distrupt the offense — and that starts with Suh (6-4, 320), one of the few interior defensive linemen who can take over a game. He’s adept at pushing the front of the pocket to affect the passing game, holding his ground to clog rushing lanes, and firing into gaps to close off poential holes. He got off to a slow start this season and has been limited to four sacks, but appears to be more aggressive over the past month. Richburg and Jerry cannot afford to make mistakes against Suh, because he can wreck a play in a hurry, even though Miami owns the 30th-ranked rushing defense (135 avg.).
2. Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Dolphins CB Brent Grimes. The former Falcons veteran owns the best cover skills in the Miami secondary, but he does not have the quicks at age 32 to stay with the Giants’ superstar, who will be trying to exend his team record of five straight 100-yard games in a season. It has also been well documented how Beckham (seven total 100-yard games this year) and former LSU teammate Jarvis Landry — Miami’s leading reciever who has two 100-yard games — are expecting to put on a dazzling performance. Beckham has been drawing nearly 12 targets per game and Landry about 10 (although Landry’s targets usually are much shorter), but Landry will have to face a quality corner in either Prince Amukamara or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
3. Giants DEs Jason Pierre-Paul and Robert Ayers vs. Dolphins offensive line. QB Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 34 times this season (tied for fourth most in the NFL) and Miami is 1-5 in the games he has tossed an interception. Based on the matchups, the Giants should be playing from ahead — and that hasn’t gone well for them with five heartbreaking defeats after they couldn’t hold late leads this season. Given that the Giants should be able to contain RB Lamar Miller (680 rushing yards, 4.9 avg., 5 TDs), the streaky Tannehill will be in catch-up mode. The question is can the Giants get to him and make him look bad? Ayers, who is battling a neck injury, had two of the Giants’ three sacks vs. the Jets last week as part of the defense posting nine quarterback hits. Miami’s pass protection has been leaky up and down what is a banged up offensive line.
PREDICTION: Giants 31, Dolphins 20
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