The New York Giants are starting to finally generate some positive momentum following their 2-6 start, and they could very well make it three straight wins. Coming off of the bye week, the Giants are set to face off against the surprising Oakland Raiders this afternoon, and the Raiders are winless on the road and coming off of an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants won’t have it easy, but here are five players to watch on the Giants who could lead this team to victory.
1. LT Will Beatty
There have been several players this season who had excellent seasons in 2012 but have been downright disappointments in 2013. William Beatty is one of them, and his situation is a bit like Miami Dolphins safety Reshad Jones‘s. Both players looked elite last season and received big contracts in the offseason, but both players have been outright disappointments this season. Thankfully for the Giants, Beatty hasn’t been nearly as bad as Jones, and Beatty is also showing signs of improvement that have coincided with improvement from the Giants overall.
That still doesn’t change the fact that the Giants have had plenty of woes on the offensive line this season due to both injuries and disappointing play from the starters. Beatty is doing better, but the Giants need him to get back to the high-level of play that he’s fully capable of doing. He has a difficult matchup this week against Oakland Raiders DE Lamarr Houston, who is one of the best two-way defensive ends in the NFL. Not only is he by far the Raiders best pass rusher (maybe the Raiders only competent pass rusher), but he’s also one of the best ends in the league in run defense. Beatty needs to be at his best, because Houston is a guy who can consistently make an impact.
2. RB Andre Brown
Brandon Jacobs is listed doubtful and probably suffered yet another setback on his hamstring injury this week, so he’s basically locked in as an inactive. That leaves a likely committee of Andre Brown and Peyton Hillis as the two running backs for the New York Giants, and it’s clear that Brown is the better of the two backs. Hillis powered his way for some yardage against the Minnesota Vikings in the Giants first win of the season, but he’s most likely past his expiration date. He’ll still get some carries and is great in the passing game, but the Giants running game will be run by Andre Brown.
He’s making his season debut following the bye week, and his return to the squad couldn’t have come at a better time. The Giants desperately needed him to come back, and he’ll immediately be tested by a Raiders defense that allows just 3.8 yards per carry against. Although the Raiders secondary has major flaws and will be missing rookie D.J. Hayden, the Giants can’t afford to have an unbalanced offense.
3. New York Giants DL
The strength of this Giants team has been on defense so far this season, and the defensive line has clearly been the strength of the defense. Justin Tuck, Linval Joseph, Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, rookie Johnathan Hankins, and Jason Pierre-Paul have all been excellent against the run. That is going to be incredibly important for the Giants defense, because it all starts up front. Even though Darren McFadden has been ruled out, Rashad Jennings has averaged over a yard per carry more than McFadden this season; the Giants still have to watch out for the running game. They’ve excelled against the run this season, though, and I don’t expect things to be any different, unless if Terrelle Pryor starts to go off. Pryor is the biggest mis-match for the Giants, so the defensive linemen have to be able to push the pocket (I’m sure Jenkins will, he’s been excellent) and get outside contain. Only Jon Beason has impressed me this season among the linebackers, so it’s key for the line to set the tone.
4. CB Prince Amukamara
With Corey Webster ruled out again, Prince Amukamara continues to become an even more important player to the Giants defense. This is a guy who has the ability to shut down the opposition’s best WR, but he also comes up wanting at times. Amukamara will face off against either Denarius Moore or Rod Streater this afternoon, and it is important for Amukamara to play at a high level. The Giants can’t afford to hope that their safeties can contain the deep ball, so the key is for Thomas and Amukamara to avoid getting burned.
Tags: Andre Brown Cullen Jenkins Jason Pierre-Paul Johnathan Hankins Justin Tuck Linval Joseph Mike Patterson New York Giants Peyton Hillis Prince Amukamara Terrell Thomas What To Watch For Will Beatty