In the Texans inaugural season, they knocked off the Giants here in Houston 16-14. Then, Super Bowl Champion QB Eli Manning took over and the Texans did not have as much success. Well, let me be clear; they had no success against the Giants when Eli led Big Blue.
2006 - 14-10 Giants W
2010 - 34-10 Giants W
2014 - 30-17 Giants W
2018 - 27-22 Giants W
Four Eli Manning starts against the Texans resulted in four Giants wins. One non-Eli Manning start back in 2002 resulted in a Texans win. And, the last I looked it was NOT Eli Manning projected to start for the Giants on Sunday against the Texans. As such, I'm all for history repeating itself at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford New Jersey this weekend.
The Giants have been one of the most pleasant surprises in the league, starting the year 6-2 led by new head coach Brian Daboll and new GM Joe Schoen. Those two came from Buffalo and put together a great staff of coaches, led by Mike Kafka as the offensive coordinator and Wink Martindale as defensive coordinator. The Giants just find ways to win in the fourth quarter. The only statistical category in which they're in the top half of the league is rushing yards per game. But, if there was a stat for success in the fourth quarter or positive plays made in the final stanza, they'd be in the top three. This team has learned how to close out games and it has them at 6-2. Now, they had a four game winning streak broken by the Seattle Seahawks before their bye week last week. Seattle got on them early, but, most importantly, the Seahawks made the plays in the fourth quarter.
To win this week, the Texans must follow that same Seattle script. Land some body blows early, then finish as strong as possible in the fourth quarter. As such, let's get to Know the Texans' Week 10 Foe - the New York Giants
The Giants 2022 Schedule (6-2)
|@ Tennessee Titans (W, 21-20)
|Carolina Panthers (W, 19-16)
|Dallas Cowboys (L, 23-16)
|Chicago Bears (W, 20-12)
|Green Bay Packers (London) (W, 27-22)
|Baltimore Ravens (W, 24-20)
|@ Jacksonville Jaguars (W, 23-17)
|@ Seattle Seahawks (L, 27-13)
|@ Dallas Cowboys
|@ Washington Commanders
|@ Minnesota Vikings
|@ Philadelphia Eagles
Giants OFFENSE (in 2022 Regular Season)
|Rushing Yards Per game
|161.5 ypg (5th in the NFL)
|Passing Yards Per game
|159.1 ypg (29th)
|Total offense per game
|320.6 ypg (24th)
|8 (3 INT, 5 Fumbles lost)
Expected Giants starting offense for Week 10
|Darius Slayton/Kenny Golladay
|EVAN NEAL (missed last game v. Seattle)/TYRE PHILLIPS
|DANIEL BELLINGER (missed last game v. Seattle)
Other key offensive pieces
|David Sills V
ALL CAPS = New to team in 2022
Keys to winning v. the Giants offense
1. Keep Barkley underwraps, stressing the WRAP part
Each and every week a team's coaching staff sits down to figure out the keys to winning that particular game, just like I try to do with my Keys. So, they walk to the whiteboard and start writing down the Keys to the Game. There should be a magnet on the whiteboard that is never erased at the very top
There is NEVER a week that it shouldn't be a major key in a game. However, there are some weeks TACKLING as a key is going to be more important than others and one of those weeks is here facing Giants star RB Saquon Barkley. Thick trunk. Massive calves. Low to the ground running style. Anger in his stride. Retribution on his mind. He's on a mission this year to prove that he IS that guy that can carry this offense. He's not always a power runner, but he's always a shifty, change of direction demon. He has nearly 50% of his rushing yards after contact (381 out of 779 total yards). Plus, where he can kill teams is out in space in the passing game. He has 28 receptions this season, at least two in every game to date. Covering him. Pursuing him. Tackling him. It all SOUNDS so easy, but, in reality, oh boy, not a fun afternoon. However, the Texans MUST limit his production. How?
2. What can Jones do TO you?
As it pertains to Giants QB Daniel Jones, I went back to my scouting report on him from 2019 and found this snippet that speaks to what the Texans will face on Sunday.
"When the situation calls for it, he will absolutely take off if he has an opportunity to pick up a first down/touchdown with his legs. He is extremely athletic with the ball in his hands and, as a result, Duke moved him in and out of the pocket with bootlegs and pocket moving plays. Now, he's definitely not scared to take/deliver hits when he carries the rock, which can be good and bad, honestly."
Giants head coach Brian Daboll must have read that part of the scouting report as well because that's exactly what the Giants have done with this offense. Bootlegs, RPOs, zone reads, anything and everything to keep Jones' mobility as an offensive threat throughout a game. So, when he drops, there's a decent chance that a significant rush will send him out of the pocket in a hurry. Now, the question becomes, can the Texans tackle him or chase him down effectively for four quarters?
3. Hughes vs…
One of the key matchups in this game will be Texans pass rusher Jerry Hughes against Andrew Thomas and, potentially, rookie Evan Neal or veteran Tyre Phillips. Neal injured his knee at Jacksonville and the prognosis was three to four weeks with an MCL sprain, so he might not be ready to roll in this matchup. Regardless, Hughes was fantastic against the Eagles tackles, registering two sacks against LT Jordan Mailata and one near sack/QB pressure against RT Lane Johnson. Thomas has started to really elevate into the upper echelon of tackles in the league, so that Hughes-Thomas matchup is going to be a key one in the run and pass game.
Giants DEFENSE (in 2022 Regular Season)
|Rushing Yards Allowed Per game
|137.3 ypg (25th in the NFL)
|Passing Yards Allowed Per game
|208.4 ypg (16th)
|Total offense Allowed per game
|345.6 ypg (17th)
|10 (1 INT, 9 Fumble recoveries - Giants are +2 in TO margin)
Expected Giants starting defense for Week 10
|Tae Crowder/MICAH MCFADDEN
Other key defensive pieces
ALL CAPS = New to team in 2022
Keys to winning v. the Giants defense
1. Block THIS (guy)
Following the league as much as we do, we hear about players all around the league. Of course, I pay extra attention when I hear people discuss players that the Texans are going to face in that particular season. Well, I've been hearing A TON about Giants interior game wrecker Dexter Lawrence and how he was wrecking teams inside. So, when I went to see for myself, it didn't take long to see that EVERYONE was absolutely dead on with the assessment of Lawrence. At 6-4, 342 lb, he's a lot like former Ravens star Haloti Ngata - massively built yet nimble and agile on his feet. He can destroy one-on-one blocks, bending centers/guards in half, before shedding them easily to make run stuffs at the line of scrimmage or just beyond. The Giants use him in a multitude of ways; Lawrence spends his time looping, slanting and slicing into the backfield with regularity from a number of different spots. The Texans didn't have a ton of success against Titans DL Jeffery Simmons, who is 30-35 pounds lighter, so the challenge is certainly ON against big 'ol #97.
2. KT5 creating Havoc?
It's still taking a minute to get used to seeing NFL edge players in single digits. It consistently draws my eyes to that player, so upon putting on Giants film, the #5 of Kayvon Thibodeaux stood out. I'm drawn to watching him because of that number, but also because he's as skilled a young pass rusher as there is in the game. He uses his hands very well and has bulk and girth to stand up to heavy punches from NFL OT. He got off to a slow start this season due to an injury and he's trying to find his groove off the edge as an NFL player. The Seahawks two young tackles effectively slowed him down by negating his hands on his preliminary rush and then riding him past the quarterback on his rushes. Furthermore, Thibodeaux won't be facing two rookies this week out on the edge; OLs Laremy Tunsil and Tytus Howard have seen the best in this league this year and the young buck is just the next challenge for them.
3. A Wink and a Smile…or a Blitz
QB Davis Mills was asked about the Giants defensive scheme in his press availability and the first thing that he noted was how different the challenge is against New York than other teams when it comes to the use of pressure. Giants DC Wink Martindale loves to bring pressure but it's where that pressure comes from that is the key. Some teams will bring pressure and a QB knows exactly where it's coming from, the OL figures it out quickly and the RB adds to the protection intelligently. But, with the Giants, they bring pressure from all over the place with the main objective to confuse the blocking scheme and get, at least, one person free to the QB. Seattle did a great job, for the most part, diffusing the Giants overload pressures, in particular, by moving QB Geno Smith away from the pressure out of the pocket to get clean looks downfield. The Texans OL/RB/TE must be absolutely on point with their communication such that the Giants don't get some easy sacks due to busts in protection. Wink will keep it coming, no matter what, so gear up and communicate and take care of those pressures to get the ball off cleanly.
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