In this edition of ‘Chuck’s Corner’, site expert Charles ‘Chuck’ Vitolo gives you his weekly New York Giants prediction as the team heads to Detroit.
This team faced a barometer test last weekend, as the New York Giants took on the Arizona Cardinals in a pivotal game – the squad failed, miserably. I was foolishly expecting head coach Pat Shurmur to have his team ready to take on the Cardinals – who were playing an early game on west coast body clocks – with ten days to prepare.
Big Blue got stuck in an early deficit right from the get go and could never recover, and now this Week Eight contest with the Detroit Lions doesn’t mean as much as it could (or should) have. The Giants and Lions are teams with similar records, although those records don’t give an accurate representation of how far apart these two teams actually are.
If not for suffering from all-time bad refereeing against the Green Bay Packers, and falling just short to the Kansas City Chiefs in a wild, back and forth affair (in which they were also screwed by the officials), the Lions could easily be sitting at 4-1-1 with two premier wins. You cannot even begin to make a case like that for the Giants, as they’ve been consistently outclassed all season long, and are a missed chip shot field goal (against Tampa Bay) away from being 1-6.
After starting off the season exceptionally well, the Lions ‘D’ has tailed off tremendously over the past few weeks, and now will be without stud cornerback Darius Slay. Detroit is now at the bottom of the league in all defensive categories, as Daniel Jones figures to have a decent shot of putting up big numbers indoors against the shaky unit.
Giants fans should be familiar with a good portion of the defense, as Damon Harrison, Romeo Okwara and Devon Kennard all have found homes with the Lions. The trio was outstanding last year, but have all fallen off in most respects – although ‘Snacks’ has kept his level of play on par with what we were used to, and he’s actually contributed to the pass-rush with two sacks this year.
Another injury that should bode well for the G-men is runningback Kerryon Johnson’s knee that will keep him out of this contest. Johnson has shown over his one-plus year in the league that he is a powerful runner that needs to be accounted for. Another former Giant – Paul Perkins – was re-signed by the Lions to provide more depth at the position after being claimed off of waivers by Detroit, then later cut. It’s fair to anticipate him being in the mix, as I see the Lions going more with a committee approach rather than rookie Ty Johnson being the bell cow as most have called for.
Matthew Stafford has had a bounce-back year, as the former Georgia Bulldog is starting to remind everyone why he was worth of the 2009 number-one overall draft pick (has he really been in the league for ten years already?!). One thing the Lions are not short on is playmakers in the receiving game, as Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and tight end TJ Hockenson will not be fun to deal with, in the least bit. The Lions actually have a top-ten offense this year in terms of total yards, as the team has basically been the opposite of what you’d expect with Matt Patricia at the helm.
If the Big Blue offense can’t figure out a way to get going today – against this porous defense that’s missing it’s best player – then it’s fair to wonder when – and if – they ever will.
My Week Eight X-Factor is rookie wide-out Darius Slayton – it would have been cool to see him match-up against Darius Slay , as the two have joked on twitter about who the real ‘big play slay’ is. However, the rook’ will have a much easier time trying to break free down the field without the Pro Bowl cornerback in the mix, as we’ll have to wait to see the ‘battle of two guys with almost exactly the same name’.
The fifth-round draft draft pick hasn’t been as effective in his last two games, only accounting for 60 yards and five catches, after bursting onto the scene to begin his career. Still, the speedster possesses a gaudy 15.6 yards-per-catch rate and has all the tools to take the top off of this defense.
While Golden Tate will likely be looking to make his old team pay, expect Slayton to be the one to break a big one off -if there even is a big one. With Sterling Shepard out with a concussion – in what appears to be an extended period of time – this is a big chance for the former Auburn Tiger to begin to make his mark in this league.
Like most people involved with this organization, I was dead wrong last week. While I wasn’t calling for the demolition of the Cardinals like some were, I really thought a healthy New York Giants team would put together a solid effort and right the ship, getting back to 3-4. After seeing many of the same things that have plagued this team all season, I’m less confident than ever that this team can go on the road and beat a pretty solid football team.
Darius Slay and Kerryon Johnson being out is huge, and should level the playing field in many respects. Still, I just can’t see this team pulling off a respectable road win until I actually see it. I don’t anticipate a blowout here – I think this game will be back and forth, and a high scoring, affair.
I’m going with 30-24, Lions (Giants are seven-point underdogs via the Action Network).
YTD Prediction record: 5-2
YTD ATS record: 3-4