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Week 8 Preview: Giants at Saints

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New York Giants (4-3) at New Orleans Saints (3-4)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Mercedes-Benz Superdome – TV: FOX

*TV announcers: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Laura Okmin

*Keys to the game: Both offenses have been buoyed by the recent emergence of strong ground games that scuffled to start the season. Meanwhile, both run defenses enter as serious question marks.

The result could be a shootout between QBs Eli Manning and Drew Brees.

Manning doesn’t have a bell cow as support – Orleans Darkwa has joined a committee that includes Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen and Andre Williams. But a commitment to the ground game has improved the pass protection and New Orleans’ secondary is beat up and very vulnerable. And work Manning can do off play-action will only further expose the Saints’ biggest weakness.

Saints RB Mark Ingram is coming off a 143-yard rushing game and looking to sink his teeth into the league’s 21st-ranked run defense. But it’s much worse than that for the Giants, who allowed 279 rushing yards through their first four games and a whopping 515 over their past three. New York is tied for second in the NFL with 11 interceptions, but that’s largely due to the secondary being an inviting target – the Giants allow an average of 268.3 passing yards per game.

*Matchup to watch – Giants WR Rueben Randle vs. Saints CB Damian Swann: Randle has 26 receptions for 329 yards and two touchdowns, but the production out of the Giants’ No. 2 receiver hasn’t been consistent. He also was out of sync with Manning on multiple passes last week. Swann is a rookie out of Georgia who was earning more snaps until suffering a concussion in Week 5. He’s expected to return this week and will likely start with Keenan Lewis still dealing with a sports hernia.

*Player spotlight – Giants RB Orleans Darkwa: The former Dolphins practice squad player led the team with eight carries for 48 yards and a touchdown last week after playing primarily special teams through the first six games. Coach Tom Coughlin said Darkwa will continue to have a role in a four-back committee.

*Fast facts: Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. is from New Orleans and played at LSU. … Ingram had runs of 20, 35, and 44 yards last week – all of which were longer than the Saints’ previous long run of 17 yards in their first six games.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

The Giants have played in numerous sloppy games this season and give up a ton of yards (401.7 per game), but they also have a plus-10 turnover margin. In a game that should feature two offenses moving the ball largely at will, it’s the unit that gets more opportunities that drives the victory.

*Our pick: Giants 34-31.


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