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Giants - Saints
Game 14 preview
Sunday Dec 17, 1:00 PM - Giants at New Orleans

Giants (5-8) Saints (6-7)
Last Sunday after a shaky start, the Saints put an end to their three game losing streak with a commanding 28-6 win over the Carolina Panthers.
The Giants looked to be overmatched when they hosted the Packers on Monday Night, but they handed Green Bay a 24-22 loss.

New Orleans Saints
Sean Payton was the head coach of the New Orleans Saints from 2006 to 2021. During that time he led the team to their first Super Bowl championship with Drew Brees as quarterback. The Saints were in the playoffs for nine of the seasons Payton coached there, including four of the last five. Last year Dennis Allen took over as head coach when Payton retired, just a year after Brees left. The Saints struggled to a 7-10 record last season, and after winning last week, they now find themselves tied for first place with Tampa Bay and Atlanta in the NFC South Division. The Saints have lost one game to each of those division teams, and are hoping to right their course with wins over them in their last three games when they face off once again.

New Orleans Saints Offense
Derek Carr is in his first year with the Saints after playing nine seasons with the Raiders. In the game before last with the Detroit Lions, Carr sustained a concussion and injured his ribs on one play in the fourth quarter. It was his second concussion in less than a month, and some of that may have contributed to the Saints offense playing the way they did at the start on Sunday. Carr finished up passing at 18 for 26 for 119 yards, but 82 of those yards didn't come until Carr's last 6 passes of the game, just about halfway into the fourth quarter. That's when he threw his two touchdowns to finally pull away from the Carolina Panthers, who have only one win on the year.
The Saints leading receiver is Chris Olave, who has been targeted the most and has 72 receptions for 918 yards and 4 touchdowns. Not far behind him in catches is running back Alvin Kamara, who has 63 with 1 touchdown to go with his 5 rushing touchdowns. Michael Thomas is next with 39 receptions and 1 touchdown, though he has missed the last three games, and is now on IR. Staying healthy has been his biggest problem in the last two seasons after a great four year start with the Saints. Carr, Olave, and Kamara will be looking to do better against the Giants than they did last week,coming up with just 207 total yards on offense.

New Orleans Saints Defense
They played well last week against Carolina's rookie quarterback Bryce Young. The Panthers had selected Young as the first 2023 overall draft pick, and the Saints sacked him four times and his completions were just 13 of 36 for 137 yards. This week the Saints will be looking to see what they can do against undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito. The Giants offensive line held up well in their last game and this defense will be anxious to see if that is the new norm. The Saints came up with 4 sacks last week to bring them to 23 sacks on the season. Defensive end Carl Granderson has 6.5, and linebacker Demario Davis has 5.5.
They kept the pressure up on Young, but let down with their run defense. Young took off 3 times for 40 yards, and Carolina finished up with 204 rushing yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. The Saints are ranked 27th in run defense, and have allowed 200-plus yards rushing in two of their past three games. DeVito has shown he can run with the ball, and they also have Sequan Barkley to deal with. The Saints secondary has played strong with cornerbacks Paulson Adebo and Isaac Yiadom. DeVito's has had some success with long throws in his games, and will have to be careful in this one.

NY Giants Offense
Undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito has led the Giants to three straight wins, and in this last one he played at his best. Against Green Bay DeVito completed 17 of his 21 passes, threw one touchdown with no interceptions, and showed better pocket presence, taking no sacks. That was a marked improvement for DeVito and the offensive line, as he had been sacked 26 times in the last four games he played. In the second half DeVito completed 10 of his 11 passes, including four consecutive passes in the first game winning drive of his career, to set up a 37-yard field goal for Randy Bullock.
In the game before last, DeVito leaned heavily on Jalin Hyatt, targeting him six times, and Hyatt caught 5 passes for 109 yards, with three of them going for 22, 29, and 41 yards. Against Green Bay this week he turned to Wan'Dale Robinson, who caught six passes for 79 yards, including one that went for 32 yards and led to the game winning field goal. Robinson also had a 32-yard run that set up Saquon Barkley for a 5-yard touchdown run. Last year Robinson's rookie career was cut short when he suffered a torn ACL playing against Detroit, where he caught 9 passes for 100 yards.
Robinson didn't play in the first two season games, but leads the team in receptions with 42. Barkley started off slow in the first half, but finished up with 86 rushing yards on 20 carries, and had 2 touchdowns. DeVito threw a few less passes than he had in his other games, and held onto the ball for more runs for his biggest ground game. DeVito had 10 carries for 86 yards, and one of those was for 26-yards, just one short of a touchdown that Barkley scored on the next play. Combining DeVito's, Barkley's, and Robinson's efforts, and Matt Breida's two runs for 16 yards, the Giants total rushing attack was an impressive 209 yards. There is an outside chance that tight end Darren Waller, coming off IR, will be available as another target for DeVito.

Giants Defense
Last Monday they did what they had to do in a game against the Packers, who hadn't turned the ball over in three straight games. It's no secret that the Giants improvement in turnover ratio from the early part of the season has contributed heavily to their recent winning ways. The Giants forced two turnovers. One was a Jason Pinnock interception, and another a Kayvon Thibodeaux forced fumble, which Xavier McKinney recovered. Thibodeaux was the 5th overall pick in the 2022 draft, and he had 4 sacks in his rookie year. Thibodeaux leads the Giants this year with 11.5,sacks, and his forced fumble last week was his third on the year. Dexter Lawrence is next on the Giants with 4.5 sacks.
Lawrence had missed a game with a hamstring injury, and it was good to have him back. He and Azeez Ojulari, who has trouble staying on the field, combined for a big sack in the red zone that then forced the Packers to attempt a field goal, which they missed. Aside from that sack, Ojulari was bringing pressure with his three quarterback hits, and was strong against the run. Green Bay is one of the top teams in third down conversions, and the Giants limited them to just 5 conversions on 14 attempts.
The Giants secondary has played well, with cornerback Deonte Banks having a strong rookie year. They will have to be prepared for running back Alvin Kamara, who is heavily relied upon for his receiving ability, aside from his running skills. Top receiver Olave has missed practices dealing with an ankle injury, and is questionable for this game. The defense must also be aware of versatile Taysom Hill, who seemingly can appear anywhere at any time. Hill missed the last game, and just having him out there on the field is a major distraction for any defense.

Even though the Giants have won their last three games, including the last one against Green Bay, they are listed as underdogs. The Packers had won three straight games, including victories over Detroit and Kansas City. The Saints had lost three straight games before winning one against the Panthers, who have the worst record in football. The Giants do have to travel after coming off a Monday night game, and you do have to factor that in. You'll have to know that the Giants were thinking about the Saints as well as the Packers on their long bye week. One of these teams will finish this game with a 6-8 record, and only one of them would be happy with that.

NFC East Games
Sunday at 1:00pm Giants (5-8) at Saints (6-7).
Sunday at 4:05pm Commanders (4-9) at Rams (6-7)
Sunday at 4:25pm Cowboys (10-3) at Bills (7-6).
Monday at 8:15pm Eagles (10-3) at Seahawks (6-7).
The Eagles are the only NFC East team favored to win in these games.
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Next Games
Dec 25 Giants at Eagles
Dec 31 Rams at Giants

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