On Sunday, the Giants return home for the second week in a row to take on the Lions in an NFC matchup. The Lions haven’t had a great season but had one of the best offenses in the league at the start, scoring at least 24 points in each of their first four games. The defense, though, hasn’t risen to the level of the offense. The team has, in turn, struggled to keep up with opposing offenses. However, that doesn’t mean the team as a whole can be taken lightly.
The Giants had a little glimpse of that last week as they battled a tough Texans team last week, and it was a close game for much of the contest. Every team in the NFL is to be taken seriously, and the 3-6 Lions are looking for their first three-game winning streak since 2017. Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and the entire Giants offense must keep their foot on the peddle against a high-powered Lions offense while the defense must make key stops in the RedZone to force field goals. With that said, here are three things to look out for Sunday as the Giants look to take down the Lions.
1. How The Giants’ Offensive Line Does Against Aidan Hutchinson
With the second overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Lions decided to stay in-state with their pick when they selected EDGE Rusher from Michigan Aidan Hutchinson. Already in his first year, he’s putting up really impressive numbers. He has 5.5 sacks, 28 tackles, and one interception that he got against Aaron Rodgers a couple of weeks ago. He even got three sacks in the first half against the Commanders to make things more eye-popping.
He’s a game-wrecker in his first season and someone the Giants have to gameplan for. Giants Left Tackle Andrew Thomas is certainly up for the challenge, as he’s become one of the best offensive linemen in the NFL. According to PFF, he has an 89.6 grade, which is second in the NFL amongst offensive linemen. Giants Quarterback Daniel Jones spoke highly of Thomas a couple of weeks ago as his protector.
“When you compare him to guys across the league, I think he’s the best. If not, he’s certainly in that top two or three. That’s huge for us on offense, huge for me as a quarterback being able to count on him playing at that level down after down, game after game. He deserves a lot of credit, certainly. It’s no surprise to us,” said Jones earlier this month. NY Post
It certainly means a lot coming from Jones, who rarely complements teammates to the level he did when talking about Thomas. It speaks to his development after being regarded as one of the biggest busts of the 2020 NFL Draft. He’s gone from that to being one of the best linemen in the league, and on Sunday, he’ll have a tough battle with a dangerous rookie.
2. The Health Of The Giants’ Wide Receivers
It seems like a weekly topic when discussing the Giants but the health of the wide receiver room is once again a concern. Rookie WR Wan’dale Robinson didn’t practice Thursday with a hamstring injury after being limited on Wednesday. WR Kenny Golladay was limited in practice for the second day in a row with a hamstring problem that he’s been dealing with for a couple of months now.
The Giants have survived while their wide receivers have been in and out of the trainer’s room. Compounded on the loss of Sterling Shepard earlier this year with a torn ACL, there just hasn’t been a lot of luck in that area. They’ve relied on guys like Marcus Johnson, Isaiah Hodgins, Richie James, and David Sills to provide them with good play. Darius Slayton has been the biggest revelation as he’s jumpstarted his career with his play this season. He leads the team in yards this year, and Daniel Jones will most likely be looking his way a lot this Sunday.
3. How The Giants’ Defense Fairs Against Dangerous Lions Offense
The Lions’ offense is a strange thing to look at. They either do really well during a game or don’t show up at all. It’s led by QB Jared Goff, who’s had an alright season so far. He’s thrown for 2,227 yards, 15 TDs, and seven INTs. WR Amon-Ra St. Brown hasn’t quite taken the leap that everyone thought he would this season, but he’s still been a solid piece in the offense. Running Back Jamaal Williams has taken over much of the running back duties with D’Andre Swift still recovering from injuries.
One thing the Giants will have to find a way to do against the Lions is developing a pass rush. The Lions have only given 15 sacks this season which is the fourth fewest in the entire NFL. Rookie EDGE Rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux will be looking to make an impact for the Giants as he only has one sack this season and is likely chomping at the bit to improve that number. Defensive Tackle Dexter Lawrence will also be a big key for the defense as he’ll be looking to continue his all-pro play on Sunday. If he can rush the passer as he has so far this season, the Lions will be in a lot of trouble.