Some big news has emerged from Detroit Monday night. Faithful readers, the streak is over! That’s right, Eli Manning has finally beaten the Vikings!
Oh, maybe you thought I was talking about another streak that came to an end last night? Well as a Giants fan, all I care about is the end of any losing streak from my team. Eli has faced the Vikings four other times in his career, and each has ended in a loss, including the last game of the 2009 season that ended in a 44-7 meltdown.
This win wasn’t always pretty, and it took place in an eerily quiet stadium filled with those lucky residents who scored free tickets. But it was an important win nonetheless. Let’s break this game down.
When a defense only gives up three points in 60 minutes, it puts its team in position to win outright without much effort. This is what the Giants’ D brings to the table when they step onto the field.
Hard to find weaknesses with this performance against a battered offense, but I wasn’t happy with some of the completions by Tarvaris Jackson early in the game. The secondary left guys wide open to make easy completions and pick up a few extra yards after the catch. Against more talented receivers who can break tackles, this will be a problem, so this strategy will not work against the Eagles on Sunday.
The Vikings had no running game to speak of all night, and considering that Adrian Peterson is one of the best in the league, this is no small feat. Peterson ran for only 26 yards on 14 attempts. Even Jackson, who is a very mobile quarterback, could not rely on his legs to help his team. Clearly the Giants prepared for the possibility of facing him, as opposed to Favre who doesn’t even come close to matching his backup’s speed. Clearly quarterbacks are not the only ones who should fear this defense, because they are devouring running backs as well.
Injuries continue to effect the offense, but starters are working their way back, while everyone else is continuing to pick up the slack and carry this team into the postseason.
Two early interceptions by Eli Manning could have spelled disaster for this team. He made bad throws, plain and simple. This cannot keep happening if they want to go deep into the playoffs. To Eli’s credit, however, he is able to shake mistakes off and keep playing his game. I think his confidence is shaken to an extent, but he still makes the tough throws and finds success. Just look at that touchdown throw to Kevin Boss to end the half. He needs to settle down from the first snap and not wait until after those bad throws are made.
Needless to say the running game continues to be outstanding and is carrying this offense. Jacobs and Bradshaw once again combined for more than 200 yards and had a touchdown each. Right now they look unstoppable and are daring defenses to challenge them. The line was also impressive in creating big holes once again. Having David Diehl back was a definite boost for the guys up front. Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith were also back, and even though Smith had a quiet night, they both needed a game under their belts before taking the field against the Eagles on Sunday.
Sunday’s all-important game against the Eagles comes on a short week, and early reports have indicated that coaches had begun working on their game plan before last night’s game. So the big issue here is whether the players will get the rest they need. A few guys got banged up last night, including Justin Tuck and Ahmad Bradshaw. Fingers crossed that they will be ready to go this weekend!