The Giants are dancing into their pivotal week six match up with the San Francisco 49’ers, after beating the Cleveland Browns Sunday at Metlife Stadium. It didn’t always look like they would be dancing either, rather more, limping into the game, literally and figuratively. After digging themselves a hole to the winless Browns 14-0 in the early goings of the first quarter the Giants turned it around, and turned it on, winning 41-27. Behind Amhad Bradshaw’s career best 200-yd rushing performance and Victor Cruz’s 3 TD day, the Giants offense had there way with a chippy Browns defense.
Fortunately for New York, both the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles lost Sunday as well, leaving the Giants in a first place tie with the Eagles. Dallas was idle on the bye.
This Sunday marks the first time the Niners and Giants will meet since the NFC Championship heavyweight match in San Francisco last season. San Francisco, outside of losing to, what appears to be, a pretty good team in Minnesota, has looked like one of, if not the, best team in the NFL. They have arguably the most physical and dominant defense in the league and their offense capitalizes on that and rarely makes mistakes itself. Make no mistake about, San Francisco circled this game on their calendar when the schedule came out. Especially Kyle Williams. Williams, you’ll remember was the return man who botched a couple punts, leading to the Giants advancing to the Super Bowl.
Leading up to this game, we’ll find the Giants have climbed in just about every Power Ranking. Let’s take a look at where they stand after week five.
If the champs can run the ball the way they ran it Sunday, they could have the best offense in the league. (Graziano)
It’s clear that the Giants have a way with developing their receiving corps. We’re seeing it first hand. Just about anyone they put in the mix, will have the opportunity to shine. However, having a consistent running game is the key to having long-term success for the Giants. Eli Manning is one of the best QB’s in the league, and maybe the best QB off of play action. Bradshaw ran angry and when given the opportunity, rookie David Wilson showed why the Giants were so excited when they drafted him. It’s unclear whether Andre Brown will be ready to play this week after suffering a concussion but it appears the Giants are deeper at RB then anyone thought.
I have been somewhat hesitant to call Ahmad Bradshaw a feature back in the NFL, but he did his best to prove it to me on Sunday. His 200 yards rushing were good for a career day. (Billick)
It’s hard to disagree with Brian Billick on this one, Bradshaw has never really been the sole, feature back. He’s always shared the load with Brandon Jacobs. I don’t think that should change. Bradshaw, traditionally has been pretty injury prone, although he still plays through them. However, with Bradshaw, aging its important to share the load with the younger backs. Bradshaw has the ability to cut back and dance at the line, which sometimes can be great, and sometimes can be unproductive. This league has turned into a two-back format. Anything offenses can do to keep opposing defenses on their heels is important.
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They found a way to get the running game going. But at some point, the defense has to play better. They let Cleveland do too many things. (Priscoe)
The Giants defense is under quite a bit of scrutiny, and they’ll be the first to tell you why. Their front four haven’t been playing well. There is a bigger picture. With the rash of injuries the Giants have sustained has limited the amount of aggressiveness they Giants can bring into a game plan. They can’t afford to leave the secondary and linebackers out on islands because they’re not capable of keeping up with opposing tight ends or receivers. We’ve seen this time and time again. Getting Chris Canty back in the next week will be a huge boost for that front. On the other hand, it’s no secret Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, simply have not played well, at all. If the Giants are going to do anything, they’ll need more. Leave it to a big game, like the one coming up, for one, or both, of them to shine.
Side Note: The Giants will see some familiar faces Sunday when they travel out to San Francisco. Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs both left New York via free agency and signed with the niners this offseason. Don’t look for the Giants to show a lot of love. They are there for business. Just ask Antrel Rolle.
Check back next week for more reviews.