Giants (2-4) Cardinals (2-3-1)
Last Sunday, the Falcons and Cardinals battled
it out in Arizona. Kyler Murray passed for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns, and the
team had 102 rushing yards with 1 touchdown. Atlanta had 341 yards, with Matt
Ryan throwing 4 touchdowns, and his team rushing for 103 yards. It was all as
close as the final score, which had the Cardinals winning 34-33.
put up a good fight after traveling to New England on a short week for a Thursday
night game. Both teams could have played better, and the Giants held their own
up until the third quarter. Trailing by seven points in the third quarter, a fumble
by the Giants gave the Patriots an easy touchdown. The Giants couldn't recover,
and ended up losing the game 35-14.
Cardinals had things going their way for awhile. Coming off a 10-6 season in 2013,
they were a wildcard 11-5 team in 2014. They won the division in 2015 with a 13-3
record. Since then, they've been 7-8-1 in 2016, 8-8 in 2017, and 3-13 in 2018.
The way things work in the NFL, failing miserably gives you some opportunities.
In the 2019 draft, they held the first overall pick, and selected Kyler Murray
to be their quarterback.
Murray's been the starter in all their games, and
the Cardinals first game ended with a tie. They lost in the next three games and
went on to win the next two. What makes this game interesting is that they passed
on Daniel Jones, who was chosen by the Giants with their number six pick in the
draft. Now these two rookies will try to guide their teams to their third win
of the season.
Has this offense improved over last year? That's actually a trick question. The
Cardinals finished the 2018 season in last place in passing, rushing, 3rd down
conversion percentage, and points. As they say - nowhere to go but up. Despite
the win loss record (hint-defense) they rank 9th in the NFL in passing, 12th in
rushing, 13th in 3rd down conversion percentage, and 17th in points. Kyler Murray
has been doing the job for the Cardinals, with a 64% completion percentage,
Murray's thrown 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, and has 2 rushing touchdowns.
Same as last year, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson,
are the top receivers, catching 5 of Murray's 7 touchdown passes. They combined
for a total of only 9 all last season. Johnson is once again the leading rusher,
has 2 touchdowns, and is averaging almost 4 yards a carry. Murray is the second
leading rusher with half as many carries as Johnson, averaging about 6 yards a
Their passing defense was the 4th
best in the league last year. It's dropped to 30th. One of the reasons is that
top cornerback Patrick Peterson was placed on suspension at the start of the year.
Peterson missed the first six games, and is now eligible to play in this game
with the Giants. Another factor is that veteran cornerback Robert Alford, acquired
in free agency, broke his leg just before the season started. The lack of experience
in the secondary has hurt the team.
Last week the defense allowed Atlanta's
Matt Ryan to complete 30 of his 36 passes. Four of his incomplete passes came
in the three straight drives that allowed the Falcons to surge back from a 17-point
deficit in the second half of the game. Right now the Cardinals are giving up
an average of 28.5 points a game. Their rushing defense has improved from last
place in terms of yards given up per game, but that could be because opposing
teams are having so much success with passing the ball.
The Giants hung in there last week
in New England under difficult circumstances. The offense will be better equipped
for this game. This will be the first time Daniel Jones will have both Golden
Tate and Saquon Barkley on the field together. Tight end Evan Engram looks to
be playing as well, but Sterling Shepard is ruled out for this one. The Giants
have yet to have their top four offensive players on the field at the same time,
reminiscent of last season where Barkley, Engram, Shepard and Odell Beckham Jr.
managed to play together in less than half the games.
The home crowd will
have to adjust to hearing the name Jones after passing plays, and hopefully it
won't be for Cardinals pass rusher Chandler Jones, who leads his team with 4.5
sacks and five quarterback hits. Jones was the NFL's third top pass rusher, with
15.5 sacks last year, and he was tied for first with 7 forced fumbles. The Cardinals
do like to blitz, and may have more time to get to the quarterback now that cornerback
Patrick Peterson is back on the field. Lacking his skills, the Cardinals are the
only team in the NFL without an interception. Hopefully Peterson will get off
to a slow start in his first game back.
It would look as if the Cardinals
are starting to put it all together. They're averaging 8 points more a game over
last year, and have averaged 30 in their last two wins. While it's true that those
two wins were against Cincinnati (0-6) and Atlanta (1-5), are the 2-4 Giants much
of a step up for their offense? Kyler Murray has been sacked 21 times this season,
but only once in those last two games. The rookie quarterback may be adjusting
to the speed of NFL defenses, and understanding when to take off and when not
to. Of his 39 runs, this season, 21 were in those last two games.
Markus Golden was with the Cardinals for four years. Golden played his best season
there, when James Bettcher was his defensive coordinator. Their reunion appears
to be working out well. Golden leads the Giants with 5 sacks, and is on track
to match his career high of 12.5.
Last game, the defense got to Tom Brady,
forced a fumble, had an interception, and sacked him three times. The Giants have
had 10 days to give Murray and his offense a good look over. Hopefully it will
pay off. If they don't get too eager up front, and keep Murray contained under
the pressure, they will have done their part.
The Cardinals are on a two game winning streak, and need just one more to tie
the three they had all last season. Even with that, they are last in their division,
behind the Rams (3-3), Seahawks (5-1), and 49ers (5-0). They've lost only one
division game so far to Seattle, and need to continue their winning ways to have
any chance of breaking through to the top.
The Giants are in a bit better shape
in their division. At 2-4 they are in third place over the Redskins (1-5). The
two teams ahead of them, the Cowboys (3-3) and Eagles (3-3), are playing each
other this Sunday. A win over the Cardinals would put the Giants in a tie for
second place with one of those teams.
Sunday at 1:00pm Cardinals (2-3-1)
at Giants (2-4).
Sunday at 1:00pm San Francisco (5-0) at Redskins (1-5).
at 8:20pm Eagles (3-3) at Cowboys (3-3).
The Giants and Cowboys are the only
NFC East teams favored to win in these games.
On The Air. Listen to the Radio Broadcasts.
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Markus Golden has at least a half-sack in five consecutive games.
Tate, in his second game back last week, caught 6 passes for 102 yards and 1 touchdown.
Oct 27 Giants at Detroit.
Giants Tickets - Buy
Nov 4 Cowboys at Giants.