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Giants Keys to Victory vs. Lions

Posted Dec 15, 2016

Three keys for the Giants to come away with a win Sunday against the Lions: 

Being responsible for the first-place Dallas Cowboys’ only two losses is a start, but the New York Giants haven’t clinched anything yet.

Coming off their emotional victory last Sunday night, the 9-4 Giants gear up for another division leader this week in their final home game of the season. The Detroit Lions, who sit atop the NFC North at 9-4 with a five-game winning streak, come to town in Week 15 for a 1 p.m. kickoff that has postseason implications for the entire conference.

“We're fighting for playoff spots,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “We don't have time to let down or relax or start feeling good about ourselves. We’ve got to improve offensively, we know we’ve got to improve, we’ve got to play better and keep finding ways to win.”

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With that in mind, here are three keys to victory on Sunday:

PROTECT THE DUKE

With three more turnovers last week against Dallas, the Giants now have 24 on the season and already surpassed last year’s total of 21 with three games still remaining. Only the Chargers (30), Jets (26) and Jaguars (25) have turned the ball over more frequently in 2016. There are many factors to why the Giants haven’t reached their 2014 and 2015 levels on offense, but they can all be boiled down to ball security. The Giants have a minus-five turnover differential, whereas the Lions are plus-four. Detroit has turned the ball over just 10 times this season. Only Oakland and Buffalo have fewer with nine apiece.

RULE OF 53

McAdoo’s “Rule of 53” has gotten a lot of attention this week. It’s something he picked up in his coaching travels and represents the ideal combination of rushing attempts and pass completions for an offense in the span of a game. “It greases your opportunities for attempts at the plate,” McAdoo explained when asked about sticking with the rushing attack. Dating back to his days in Green Bay, that number moves the chains and gives your team a good shot at winning the ball game. So far this season, the Giants are 2-0 when hitting that number. They had 64 (32 rushes + 32 completions) in Week 2 vs. New Orleans and 55 (27 + 28) in Week 10 vs. Cincinnati. They are 7-4 when not reaching it.

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FINISH

During their current five-game winning streak, the Lions have outscored their opponents, 44-24, in the fourth quarter and overtime. They overcame a fourth-quarter deficit in four of those games, including last week when quarterback Matthew Stafford, injured finger and all, ran in the go-ahead touchdown for a 20-17 comeback victory against the Bears. Meanwhile, the defense has six interceptions in the final two minutes of games this season. Only one of Detroit’s nine victories this season has been decided by more than seven points, while five were by a field goal or less. That mirrors the Giants, whose average margin of victory is 4.9 points. That includes two games decided by three points and two more decided by one point.