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The Giants edge out a victory over the Saints, 16-13

Last season’s matchup between the New York Giants and the New Orleans Saints was a high scoring affair (52-49 Saints def. Giants ), marked by poor defense and gaudy offensive numbers from Drew Brees and Eli Manning.  This time around both teams struggled to get into the end zone with the Saints accounting for the only offensive touchdown on the day ( a 17 yard TD from Brees pass to Willie Snead ).  The key to the Giants victory was containing Drew Brees and his high powered offense.  Despite three first half turnovers by the Giants, (fumbles by Shane Vereen, Victor Cruz and Eli Manning ) they had a 7-3 lead because of an excellent special teams play with 2 minutes and 45 seconds remaining in the half.  Defensive tackle Jonathan Hankins blocked Will Lutz’s 38 yard field goal attempt and Janoris Jenkins scooped up the ball and returned it 65 yards for the Giants only touchdown of the afternoon.

The Giants defense contained the Saints high powered offense, keeping Brees to just 268 yards passing with a single touchdown pass.  The Saints longest completion of the day was a 23 yard strike to wide receiver Michael Thomas.   The top Saints receivers were held to a combined 122 yards receiving and 1 touchdown (Willie Snead, 5-for-54 yards, 1 touchdown, Brandin Cooks, 7-for-68 yards ).  On top of that, the Saints running game was non-existent with a total of 41 yards on the ground, led by Mark Ingram with 30 yards on 9 carries.  The Giants defensive line was able to disrupt Brees in the first half and prevent him from getting into a rhythm early on.  The secondary led by Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were excellent in coverage and prevented the Saints receiving corps from any big plays all game long.

At a quick glance, Eli Manning‘s numbers look good as his top three receivers (Odell Beckham Jr.,  Sterling Shepard, and Victor Cruz ) accounted for 294 total yards though he didn’t find any of them in the end zone over the course of the game.  Early on Larry Donnell dropped a touchdown pass and then on that same series, Odell Beckham Jr. dropped a catchable pass in the end zone as well on a fourth down play.  On the Giants second possession in the 3rd quarter, what looked like another promising drive, highlighted by a 32 yard reception to Sterling Shepard, ended with the offense settling for a 48 yard Josh Brown Field Goal because two offensive holding penalties on linemen Marshall Newhouse and Ereck Flowers slowed the drive and took the offense out of its rhythm.  If it wasn’t dropped passes by Giants receivers, it was penalties which kept the Giants offense from moving the ball consistently and finding the end zone.  The Giants running game was very ineffective culminating in 64 total yards on 27 carries spilt between Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen ( 13 and 14 respectively ).   The offensive line was unable to spring holes for the running backs throughout the game which is why they struggled so mightily.    The Giants can attribute their win to defense and special teams which both stepped up when the offense did not.  For the first time since 2009 the Giants move to 2-0 to start the season.  There’s something to be said for the Giants finding a way to win an ugly low scoring game where they frequently got in their own way with turnovers, penalties and dropped passes.  Next week the Giants welcome their division rival Washington Redskins to MetLife stadium, as they look to continue their winning ways.

 

Dan Evans is a Contributing Writer for PureSportsNY    You can follow him on Twitter @DanEvansPSNY

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