It’s the week of the trap game for the Giants.
This only involves good teams, and the first-place Giants are getting closer to validating their role as a potential playoff contender every week playing in their overall mediocre division.
The Arizona Cardinals (6-6) will enter MetLife Sunday afternoon as a reeling team that has lost
three straight, and hasn’t looked like an earlier 5-2 playoff contender.
Due to their recent success, the Giants’ slated afternoon tilt against playoff-bound Cleveland next Sunday has been flexed to a prime-time 8:20 kickoff.
It will be another crucial game in the team’s mission to capture the NFC East. The Giants control their own fate with a season-sweep over Washington with both team’s having 5-7 slates beginning Sunday afternoon.
But they have to beat Arizona first.
Don’t take anything for granted. Arizona is playing for their playoff lives, looking to get to the postseason for the first time since 2015. Beat them, and the Giants further silence the critics.
All signs point to the Giants’ fifth consecutive victory and they even are a 2.5-point favorite. They also are relatively healthy despite missing Blake Martinez- their leading tackler – and Kyler Fackwell from their rising rich linebacker corps.
Quarterback Daniel Jones is expected to start after a hamstring injury sidelined him last week. Backup Colt McCoy did an admirable job as a game manager last week.
Wayne Gallman has emerged as one of the league’s top running backs in recent weeks, as he ran for 135 yards. He and former Redskin Albert Morris paced a running attack that accounted for 190 of the team’s 290 total yards in their 17-12 victory over Seattle.
The Giants’ defense had been the catalyst for the team’s resurgence led by Martinez, defensive end Leonard Williams and safeties Logan Ryan and Jabrill Peppers, all of whom have been mentioned in Pro Bowl circles.
Graham Gano missed an extra point and a 48-yard field goal last week against Seattle, but he has been as consistent a Giants’ kicker since Josh Brown five years ago.
So what can go wrong? Easy. A lackluster performance on both sides of the ball against Arizona, which potentially has as much firepower as any team of the top teams in the league.
Quarterback Kyler Murray runs the run-pass option well, and the Giants have had issues with mobile quarterbacks.
The Giants did corral Seattle’s Russell Wilson last week and limited the high-octane Seahawks’ offense to 10 points. They will have to diffuse Murray early, as he can turn the switch on at any time. Just ask the Jets. Murray picked them apart in the second half with 20 unanswered points in a 30-10 victory.
This is still a 5-7 team that practically didn’t have a pulse five weeks ago. There are some gaps left to fill.
Head coach Joe Judge has kept his team in lockstep the past four weeks without any major glaring stumbles. Washington has a late afternoon game at desperate San Francisco, and Giants can give themselves some elbow room at the top with a win.
It’s not time for a letdown.
Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire