And just like that, the Giants are back in the NFC East driver’s seat.
The disheartening loss to the Eagles two weeks ago could have derailed the Giants’ confidence, but they responded with a 27-20 victory over the visiting Cowboys last Sunday. That, coupled with an Eagles loss, swapped the teams in the standings.
The season is far from over, but the Giants (4-3) have an opportunity to build momentum over the next two games against sub-.500 teams, beginning with a visit to New Orleans to face the Saints (3-4) on Sunday afternoon. Here are three keys to that matchup.
in the dome
Quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints have traditionally played better in the Superdome than on the road, and this season has been no different. Brees’ passer rating is 20.3 points higher in New Orleans, and he completed 11.5% more passes there, too. The Giants are still without cornerback Prince Amukamara, meaning replacement Jayron Hosley will have his hands full after lackluster results thus far.
Air it out, Eli
Strong performances in the passing game are a two-way street in Louisiana. The Saints defense is among the worst in opponents’ passing touchdowns and yards per pass attempt. That ought to bode well for Giants quarterback Eli Manning and top receiver Odell Beckham Jr., alumni of the same New Orleans high school. This one is setting up to be a shootout, but the Giants can handle that.
The Giants have never possessed the type of aggressive offense orchestrated by Brees and his coach, Sean Payton. To that point, Big Blue is 1-for-3 on fourth-down conversions this season. Meanwhile, New Orleans leads the NFL in four-down conversion rate, picking up the necessary yards on 6 of 7 occasions — one attempt per game. If that trend holds, the Giants will face such a scenario on Sunday.