The New York Giants are almost guaranteed to make the playoffs in their first season under Brian Daboll. While not mathematically clinched, the Giants sit at an over 90% chance to make the postseason following their key win over Washington on Sunday night.
New York’s win not only ends a month-long drought for the G-Men but also leaves them with a possibility to clinch a playoff spot on Saturday with a win.
Of course, playing the Minnesota Vikings, a team coming off the greatest comeback in NFL history, will be no easy feat.
Here are three keys for the Giants to pull off a major upset against the Vikings on Saturday.
Pressure on Cousins
Kirk Cousins is enjoying one of the better seasons of his career this year. It’s a big reason why the Vikings are sitting in the second seed of the NFC playoffs at 11-3. But there’s one main key that can make Minnesota tumble out from their NFC North slumber:
In the three games the Vikings have lost, their opponents have gotten to Cousins consistently throughout the game and forced him into mistakes. If the Giants are to win on Saturday, emulating that pressure will be a key point of emphasis.
It will also help in guarding Justin Jefferson.
Contain Justin Jefferson
Speaking of Justin Jefferson, there’s absolutely a point to saying that he is the best receiver in football. The league leader in catches and yards, Jefferson has been a nightmare for almost every team he has played this season.
Stopping him isn’t going to be easy without Adoree Jackson or Xavier McKinney in the lineup. Therefore, Wink Martindale will need to be creative in how he covers the all-pro receiver. Whether it’s by bracketing or doubling Jefferson, the Giants will need to make sure that the first-round pick isn’t a factor on Saturday.
Attack the Secondary
If you thought the first two keys will be hard for the Giants to accomplish, the final one could be considered near impossible.
The Vikings have one of the worst pass defenses in all of football this season yet the Giants’ passing offense is as bad if not worse. New York will need to move the football through the air regardless on Saturday to win.
This isn’t to say Daniel Jones is incapable of doing it: far from it. He’s been a key reason why the Giants are in the playoffs at the moment. But his receivers aren’t anywhere near capable of winning consistently at the line.
If they are going to win Saturday though, they better find a way.