Week 16 Tale Of The Tape: New York Giants At Arizona Cardinals
- QuarterbackThe Giants played a decent game and extended the Eagles in Week 15, but they could not close the deal. It will be tough to see them going on the road and playing well enough for 60 minutes to give the Cardinals a true fight. Eli Manning is still an accurate and dangerous passer when he gets decent protection, but he struggles when facing a heavy pass rush at this point in his career.The Cardinals are down to their third-string quarterback, and while Blaine Gabbert has been a willing combatant, he’s not good enough to beat most good teams. While that’s not an issue in this week’s game against New York, Gabbert completed just 16 of 41 passes in Week 15 at Washington. Gabbert has struggled badly the last two weeks and hopes to get back on track here.
- OffenseWhen a team has a quarterback who struggles to hang in against a dangerous pass rush, it’s best to give him a strong running game to lessen the pressure. The Giants have Orleans Darkwa as their primary running back, and he is not even average. Sterling Shepard is a decent receiver and Evan Engram is a talented rookie tight end, but the Giants miss Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall.The Cardinals thought that their rushing attack would be one of the strongest parts of their team prior to the start of the season, but David Johnson has been out all season, and former Saints Adrian Peterson is on injured reserve. Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most reliable receivers in the league, but he is not fast. Jaron Brown can stretch the defense and is a decent complementary receiver.
- DefenseWhile the offense has struggled for the Giants, the season turned into a complete disaster when the defense fell apart. The Giants rank dead last in yards allowed, and this comes after they made a big jump in 2016. Strong safety Landon Collins is a first-rate player the team can build around, but there doesn’t appear to be much else to retain.Unlike the Giants, the Cardinals have continued to battle on the defensive side of the ball and they have been impressive with their ability to battle. Veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby is fully dependable and leads the team with 79 tackles while Chandler Jones leads the league with 15.0 sacks and he could cause huge problems in this game.
- Special TeamsThe Giants have been awful on special teams this year, and that’s been another aspect to their disastrous season. They have a negative differential on both punt and kickoff returns, and PK Aldrick Rosas appears to be quite ordinary.The Cardinals have also had huge problems with their inability to hold opponents in check in the return game. Patrick Peterson used to be explosive in this area, but his long punt return is just 19 yards this season. Phil Dawson has had an up-and-down year, connecting on 27 of 35 FG attempts.
After a great effort that came up short against the Eagles, it seems unlikely will be able to put up much on the road against the Cardinals.