Keys to victory in Week 17

Posted Dec 28, 2012

Here are the Giants' keys to victory in their Week 17 matchup at MetLife Stadium

1) Create a spark. The takeaways and big plays on offense have recently dried up for the Giants, and it’s time to force the issue in the regular-season finale. Someone needs to step up.

2) Stop the run. The Giants take on a familiar running back on Sunday and one not as much. LeSean McCoy, who has rushed for 100 yards in four of his seven career games against New York, returned last week after a four-game absence (concussion). Meanwhile, Bryce Brown stepped up in his place, and the Eagles rank eighth in the NFL with 4.57 yards per carry. New York’s defense, however, is 28th in giving up 4.64 yards per rush.

3) Win the turnover battle. The Eagles are worst in the NFL with a minus-23 turnover differential. That’s music to the Giants’ ears, who are plus-13 but have failed to force a turnover in the last two weeks.

4) Be special. As difficult as the last two weeks have been to swallow for Tom Coughlin, he has pointed to special teams as a bright spot. The Giants will have their opportunities in the return game, but will have their hands full covering Damaris Johnson, who notched a 98-yard punt return touchdown earlier this month against Dallas.

5) So they meet again. Sunday will be Michael Vick’s first start under center since Week 10, and whether rest or rust prevails, he is 4-2 all-time as a starter against New York. The same old rules apply for the Giants, who have had their fill of dynamic quarterbacks this season. Containment is key.

6) Keep Eli upright. Manning was sacked three times and hit nine more last week in Baltimore. The Giants, however, remain first in the NFL in fewest sacks allowed and will need to play that way against Philadelphia. It’s not all on the offensive line, either. It’s a team effort.

7) Control the clock. The Giants defense couldn’t get off the field last week while Baltimore had the ball for nearly 40 minutes. That led to the Giants having only 45 plays on offense.

8) Cash in on money downs. On both sides of the ball, the Giants have fallen short on third downs lately. They are a combined 6 of 20 in the last two weeks, offensively, while the defense has allowed opponents to convert 20 of 31.

9) Establish the run. The Giants have fallen to 17th in the NFL in rushing with 67 yards (on 14 attempts) last week and 97 (21) the game before.

10) Wait and see. The Giants must take care of their own business in MetLife Stadium before awaiting the results of Chicago-Detroit (1 PM ET), Green Bay-Minnesota (4:25 PM), and Dallas-Washington (8:20 PM).

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