Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Giants CB Adoree’ Jackson remained out of practice on Tuesday after missing the previous four contests which has left Fabian Moreau and Nick McCloud to handle primary cornerback duties, each of whom have below average coverage grades this season.
- Vikings center Garrett Bradbury missed practice on Tuesday with a back injury.
- This game environment is likely to be more muted than public perception dictates this week, with each offense preferring a conservative game plan until otherwise forced.
- Justin Jefferson is 342 yards away from breaking Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yards record with three games remaining.
How new york Will Try To Win ::
We’ve talked about this ad nauseam this season, but the Giants are doing everything in their power to not lose games before the fourth quarter. The variance associated with that game plan worked out astonishingly well over the first half of the season but has smacked them across the face over the past seven weeks, where New York has gone 2-4-1 after starting the season 6-1. They prefer to operate with a moderate pace and elevated rush rates, hitting the short to intermediate areas of the field through the air when they do pass. The Giants have only 21 pass plays of 20 or more yards this season, which is about a third as many as the league leading Chiefs (and dead last this season). This has meant they have had to sustain drives in order to put points on the board, which helps to explain a 20th-ranked 20.5 points per game considering a 24th-ranked drive success rate. What has largely allowed them to stick to this game design has been a Wink Martindale defense holding opponents to 22.3 points per game on the backs of a 50.0% red zone touchdown rate allowed (a staple of a Wink Martindale defense has been top marks in the red zone, dating back to his tenure in Baltimore).
Saquon Barkley is still eating big-dog-level snaps, playing 80% or more of the offensive snaps in six of his last nine games. He holds the highest snap rate of any running back this season and third highest opportunity share, but not without issue. His 4.6 yards per touch value ranks 34th amongst running backs, he has the third highest stuffed run rate of all running backs, and the Giants hold the league’s seventh worst game script rating this season. Furthermore, he has returned 4x his Week 15 salary exactly once all season – way back in Week 1. The matchup on the ground yields a sneakily putrid 4.17 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Minnesota defense ceding just 3.90 yards per carry to opposing backfields this season. Matt Breida should continue in a strict change of pace role.
We touched on the inability of this offense to find success attacking downfield above, but the rest is about as gnarly as well. Darius Slayton, the WR5 on the depth chart coming into the season, Richie James, the practice squad player that made the roster to begin the year as the WR6, Isaiah Hodgins, the journeyman that was signed after being released by the Bills at the halfway point in the season, and rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger are the top four pass-catchers on the roster. That said, those four have become the only players to see legitimate snaps, making their pass offense comparable to the Jaguars, at least from a snap rate perspective. Basically, all four of those dudes, plus Saquon Barkley, are on the field almost every offensive snap, but the pass offense has struggled with any semblance of consistency or explosiveness. The matchup with the Vikings very clearly funnels expected production through the air, but we have a situation developing where we can’t be completely sure the Giants will look to exploit that weakness until very late in the game, and only under specific game conditions.