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NY Giants @ New Orleans Saints: Game Preview

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NEW YORK GIANTS (5-0) AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (4-0)

SERIES

 

GIANTS

SAINTS

SERIES LEADER

14-10

 

STREAKS

 

2 of past 3

COACHES VS. OPP.

Coughlin: 2-2

Payton: 1-0

LAST WEEK

W 44-7 vs. Raiders

Bye (Week 4: W 24-10 vs. Jets)

LAST GAME

12/24/06: Saints 30 at Giants 7.  New Orleans has 2 100-yard rushers (Deuce McAllister & Reggie Bush), & defense allows just 6 first downs & 142 total yards in late-season road win.

LAST GAME AT SITE

9/19/05: Giants 27, Saints 10 (in Giants Stadium).  Originally scheduled for NO, game moved to NY as part of NFL Hurricane Relief Weekend to generate donations for Hurricane Katrina victims.  Last game in New Orleans, 12/14/03: Saints 45, Giants 7.

BROADCAST

FOX (12:00 PM CT): Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver (Field reporter).  Westwood One: Howard David, Dan Reeves.  SIRIUS: 127 (NYG), 157 (NO).  XM: 104 (NYG).

STATS

PASSING

Manning: 87-135-1,212 (2C)-10 (1C)-2-111.7 (1C)

Brees: 87-129-1,031-9 (T2C)-2-108.4 (3L)

RUSHING

Bradshaw: 58-375 (3C)-6.5-2

Bell: 45-229-5.1-1

RECEIVING

Smith: 37 (1L)-481 (1L)-13.0-4 (T1L)

Shockey (TE): 18-162-9.0-2

OFFENSE

417.4 (2L)

414.3 (3L)

TAKE/GIVE

+6

+7 (T2L)

DEFENSE

210.6 (1L)

295.3

SACKS

Tuck: 3.5

Grant: 4

INTs

3 tied: 1

Sharper: 5 (1L)

PUNTING

Feagles: 41.0

Morstead (R): 43.7

KICKING

Tynes: 55 (1L) (16/16 PAT; 13/16 FG)

Carney: 36 (18/18 PAT; 6/7 FG)

 

 

NOTES

GIANTS:  Aim for 1st 6-0 start since 1990 when team won SB XXV…QB ELI MANNING grew up in NO.  Is 31-9 (.775) in past 40 starts (incl. playoffs).  Is 6-1 as starter indoors (incl. SB XLII)…RB BRANDON JACOBS had TD run in his last game vs. NO.  When Jacobs has 10+ carries (incl. playoffs), Giants are 30-6 (.833).  When he has 100+ rush yards, team is 8-1.  RB AHMAD BRADSHAW rushed for 110 yards (10 avg.) & 2 TDs last week…WR STEVE SMITH has 31 catches for 401 yards (100.3 per game) & 4 TDs in past 4.  WR MARIO MANNINGHAM has 3 rec. TDs, all for 20+ yards.  Rookie WR HAKEEM NICKS aims for 3rd in row with TD…In past 23 (incl. SB XLII), DE JUSTIN TUCK has 17.5 sacks.  When Tuck has sack (incl. playoffs), team is 15-3 (.833).  Have won 10 in row when Tuck has 1+ sack (incl. SB XLII).  DE OSI UMENYIORA has 3 sacks in past 2 meetings & aims for 3rd in row vs. NO with sack.  DE MATHIAS KIWANUKA aims for 3rd in row with sack…

 

SAINTS Average 36 points per game, most in NFL.  Head coach SEAN PAYTON was asst. with NYG (1999-2002)…QB DREW BREES has won 8 of past 10 at home with 3,182 yards (318.2 per game), 29 TDs & 115.8 rating.  Since joining NO in 2006, leads NFL with 14,941 pass yards…RB-PR REGGIE BUSH had 126 rush yards & TD in last meeting.  Has 25 career TDs (13 rush, 8 rec, 4 PR) & is only Saint to score via rush, rec. & PR.  RB PIERRE THOMAS has rushed for 212 yards (106 per game) & 3 TDs in past 2.  Has 12 TDs (9 rush) in past 9…WR MARQUES COLSTON has 7 TDs in past 7.  TE JEREMY SHOCKEY spent 6 seasons (2002-07) with NYG & earned 4 Pro Bowl selections.  Has 439 receptions since 2002, 3rd most in NFL among TEs…S DARREN SHARPER had 2 INTs in Wk. 4, incl. 99-yard INT-TD.  Has 10 INT-TDs, 2nd most all-time.  Has 97- & 99-yard INT-TD this year, only player in history with 2 95+ yard INT-TDs in season.  Has 6 INTs (2 INT-TDs) in past 5 vs. NYG.  DT REMI AYODELE had FR-TD in Wk. 4.

This comes directly from the NFL. I did NOT write this. 

GIANTS (5-0) VISIT SAINTS (4-0) IN BATTLE OF UNBEATENS

"This is certainly the game of the week," says NFL Network analyst STEVE MARIUCCI of this Sunday’s showdown between the 5-0 New York Giants and 4-0 New Orleans Saints.  "It’s a battle of undefeated teams and it could be a preview of what’s to come in the playoffs.  These two clubs will probably meet at some point in the postseason."

 

The Giants, who are 5-0 for the third time in team history, are coming off an impressive 44-7 win against Oakland.  New York is 3-0 on the road and boasts the league’s top-ranked defense (210.6) and second-ranked offense (417.4). 

 

"The Giants, to me, are the most complete team in the NFL," says Mariucci.  "They rank first in defense and second in offense.  That’s unheard of.  This team has so much depth.  I’m really impressed with how this team has been put together.  They do a great job of adding players and improving their depth."

 

The Saints, who had a bye in Week 5, have combined a high-scoring offense – a league-high 36 points per game – with an aggressive defense – an NFL-best 13 takeaways – to give the club its third 4-0 start in franchise history.

 

"The offense has been really good for a while," says Mariucci, "but the difference this year is that the Saints are playing good defense.  New Orleans can move the ball on offense against anybody.  But (defensive coordinatorGREGG WILLIAMS and his defense is the area of most improvement."

 

NEW YORK GIANTS

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

 

Stat (NFL Rank)

Stat (NFL Rank)

Points Per Game

30.2 (4th)

36.0 (1st)

Scoring Differential

+80 (1st)

+78 (2nd)

Total Offense

417.4 (2nd)

414.3 (3rd)

Total Defense

210.6 (1st)

295.3 (6th)

Takeaways

11 (T4th)

13 (1st)

 

"I’m excited about this game," says Giants quarterback ELI MANNING, who will play in his hometown of New Orleans for the first time.  "It’s always fun to go home and play a game, especially since I was a Saints fan growing up.  I’m excited about the opportunity to play in the Superdome and I expect a good game from the Saints.  They are playing extremely well this year.  It’s going to be a great atmosphere down there.  These are the games that are fun to play."

 

Manning, who is second in the league with a 111.7 passer rating, will lead the NFL’s No. 2 ranked offense, which features a strong running game and a group of talented young receivers. 

 

"The Giants have a very well-balanced offense," says Mariucci.  "They have a two-headed monster at running back.  BRANDON JACOBS is a house.  He’s a powerful runner.  AndAHMAD BRADSHAW, who scored two touchdowns (11 carries, 110 yards) last week, is a change of pace back who is great out of the backfield catching the ball.

 

"Their receivers have been lighting it up.  There’s good depth there.  Eli can throw the ball to so many options and the young guys like STEVE SMITHMARIO MANNINGHAM and rookie HAKEEM NICKS have stepped up."

 

The New Orleans defense, which allowed 339.5 yards per game and ranked No. 23 last year, is currently sixth in the NFL at 295.3 yards per game.  The Saints have forced 13 turnovers, including an NFL-best 10 interceptions.  Safety DARREN SHARPER leads the NFL with five interceptions, including two touchdowns (97 and 99 yards).  He is the first player in NFL history to record two 95+ yard interception-return touchdowns in season. 

 

"Darren’s a good player, who obviously prepares and makes plays," says Manning about Sharper, who has intercepted him four times in his career.  "It seems like I’m keeping him in the Pro Bowl every year.  When the ball is thrown to him, he makes the catches and he makes good plays.  You have to know where he is on the field." 

 

The Saints have used a balanced offense to rack up 144 points in four games.  Quarterback DREW BREES, who ranks third in the NFL with a 108.4 passer rating, leads the aerial attack, which has four different players with at least 14 catches – TE JEREMY SHOCKEY (18), WRs MARQUES COLSTON (17) and DEVERY HENDERSON (14) and RB REGGIE BUSH (14).  The rushing game, which is second in the league averaging 166.3 yards per game, features three running backs with at least 30 carries – MIKE BELL (45 att., 229 yards), PIERRE THOMAS (33, 212) and Bush (36, 148). 

 

"Everybody loves Drew Brees," says Mariucci.  "He’s having another great year.  He’s had so much success since coming to New Orleans in 2006.  And the offense has been really good, just like it has been over the years.  Brees threw for over 5,000 yards last year and this team can throw the ball against anybody."

Defensively, the top-ranked Giants will look to shut down the potent New Orleans offense. 

 

"The Giants lead the league in defense and pass defense," says Mariucci.  "They play good, fast defense.  It all starts up front with that pass rush.  (Defensive line coach) MIKE WAUFLE has those guys playing hard.  Guys like JUSTIN TUCK and OSI UMENYIORA can make life tough on any quarterback.  That pass rush really applies pressure and helps out the secondary."

 

So, with two well-balanced teams on offense and defense, the stage is set for an exciting showdown between two unbeatens on Sunday afternoon. 

 

"The more you prepare for games like this, the more comfortable you become in this type of situation," says Brees.  "When you have a team that knows the formula and becomes comfortable preparing for these types of big games, that just helps you down the road in the long run.  The games only get bigger, especially as you near the playoffs and beyond."