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10 things to watch in Giants vs. Cardinals



Throughout the 2022 campaign, head coach Brian Daboll preached the importance of staying even-keeled during the ups and downs of an NFL season. While the Giants were riding the highs for a good portion of last season, they have been undoubtedly dealing with some of the lows following last week's loss.

"It was a poor performance," Daboll told the media Monday. "You learn from the things that you can learn from and then you really got to get focused on the next week. Whether it was a win or a loss, it really has no effect on the next week. Your job is to be honest, to show them some of the things that we can do better as a team. Whether it's a staff, whether it's players and then to get on to next week.

"Like I said, it's a humbling league and one week doesn't have much effect on the next week. Your preparation, your performance ultimately on Sunday, or whenever that day is, does. That's what we will focus on, a lot to learn. We'll do our best to teach it, to learn from it, to go out there and have a good week of practice and to get ready for the next week's opponent."

According to NFL Research, the Giants became the eighth team in NFL history to lose its season opener in a 40+ point shutout. Two of the first seven teams ended up making the playoffs and winning a postseason game.


The New York Giants visit the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday at State Farm Stadium for their first road game of the 2023 season. Kickoff is set for 4:05 p.m. ET on FOX.

Sunday marks the 129th meeting between the two teams. The Giants hold an 80-46-2 record against the Cardinals, including 33-23-2 on the road. From 1970-2001, the Giants and Cardinals were both members of the NFC East.

The Giants' most recent victory in the series was a 31-27 decision on Oct. 2, 2011 at State Farm Stadium. The Giants' most significant triumph in that venue (then called University of Phoenix Stadium) was their 21-17 victory against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

View photos of the Giants on the practice field ahead of the Week 2 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.



Doubtful: OLB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring), WR Wan'Dale Robinson (knee)

Questionable: OT Andrew Thomas (hamstring)


Out: DL L.J. Collier (biceps), LB Josh Woods (ankle)

Questionable: S Budda Baker (hamstring), OL Kelvin Beachum (hand), DL Leki Fotu (shoulder)


One of the Giants' strengths last season was the ability to protect the football. They turned it over just 16 times, the second-lowest mark in the league, led by Daniel Jones' NFL-best 1.1 interception percentage. The success in that department did not carry over to the start of 2023.

Jones threw two interceptions against the Cowboys. On the first, Saquon Barkley was hit hard as he caught the football over the middle, causing it to pop up into the air and into the hands of DaRon Bland, who ran it back for a Dallas touchdown. On the second, Jones scrambled out of the pocket and attempted a pass to Darren Waller, which Stephon Gilmore intercepted. Jones took responsibility after the game, admitting that the pass was "a poor decision in a situation where I was trying to force something that wasn't there and needed to throw the ball out of bounds and move on to the next play."

On top of the two interceptions, the Giants also fumbled the ball five times on Sunday, one of which was lost.

"It was a collective effort," Daboll said Monday on what went wrong. "I think seven times the ball was either in their hands or on the ground, which you start with ball security. We didn't do a good enough job with that."

The Cardinals forced three turnovers in their Week 1 loss to Washington, including two from Commanders quarterback Sam Howell (one interception, one fumble). Washington running back Antonio Gibson also lost a fumble.


Due to the game script, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott only attempted 24 passes in Week 1, completing 13 of them (54.2 percent) for 143 yards and a 72.0 passer rating. Part of the reason for Prescott's limited success was the play of the Giants' two rookie cornerbacks, Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins III. Banks was targeted twice for no completions with two passes defensed, while Hawkins allowed just one reception, according to Pro Football Focus, and finished second on the team with seven tackles (five solo).

While it wasn't a perfect game for the defense overall, defensive coordinator Wink Martindale was encouraged by the performance of his two starting rookie cornerbacks.

"I thought he played well," Martindale said about Hawkins. "I think that the first time you're out there, underneath the lights on Sunday Night Football, I thought he played well. The thing I liked about both the rookie corners is how aggressive they are. They like to tackle, and they like to play physical. So, I like where we're headed with that group."

This week, Banks, Hawkins and Adoree' Jackson will be tasked with covering Cardinals wide receivers Marquise Brown, Rondale Moore and Michael Wilson. The three receivers combined for eight receptions for 80 yards in Week 1.


In his Giants debut last week, Isaiah Simmons recorded one solo tackle on 15 defensive (26 percent) and seven special teams snaps. Keep in mind, Simmons was acquired in a trade with the Cardinals less than three weeks ago. While he saw limited action in the season opener, Martindale told the media that the versatile defender's role will continue to grow as the season goes on.

"I think his role is going to expand, because he's that good of a player and he's just learning the package," the defensive coordinator said. "What is this, the third week he's been here? It's just going to keep expanding. Like I said, he's a positionless player, which is a compliment to him. We can move him around and play him in different spots. Through attrition, there's going to be different spots that are open and each week, you put him in the best spot that you need him in to help us in."

Simmons will get the opportunity to face his former team right away. In his three seasons with the Cardinals, Simmons picked up 7.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and four interceptions. Martindale believes the 25-year-old will be extra motivated in his return to Arizona.

"I know that his competitive juices will be flowing a little bit hotter than normal, because that's just the human nature of the sport, too," said Martindale. "It's just like us with Baltimore last year, or Dabs when he goes to Buffalo. I mean, it's just one of those things."


The Giants were the only team in the NFL to be shut out in Week 1. The offense gained just 171 total yards on 12 drives, with an average of 2.6 yards per play, and converted on only five of 16 third down attempts. Simply put, these numbers are not going to get it done.

But the Giants have moved past last week's loss and are solely focused on this weekend's opponent.

"The things that we did last week, we're going to take all the good stuff that we did, learn from the things that we didn't do so well and then apply it to this week in practice," said offensive coordinator Mike Kafka. "I think our guys have had that approach and they've taken that approach and I think they're having a good week. Today's no different, we have to have the right urgency and the right tempo and demeanor and practice that way."

"Our urgency is going to always be the same, regardless," he added later. "We're going to have the same approach, our same process and just really focus on that process. So, just improving on all the things we need to get better at and the things that we are doing really well, build on that. Whether it's scheme, whether that's with the people that we have in the building, we'll always try to work to attack that."


Due to touchdowns by their defense and special teams, the Cowboys jumped out to an early 16-0 lead on Sunday night. This led to quarterback Dak Prescott not needing to do much for the rest of the game, as Dallas leaned on the rushing attack. Prescott finished the night 13 of 24 for 143 yards and a passer rating of 72.0, but was not sacked the entire game.

Wink Martindale's unit ranked 13th in the league last season with 41 sacks, and that was with Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari and Leonard Williams missing a combined 18 games. The pass rush struggled to get after Prescott last week, as the Giants totaled just six pressures against a strong Dallas O-line. Dexter Lawrence recorded four of those pressures on just 21 pass rush snaps, according to PFF, including two quarterback hits. This comes after Lawrence set numerous career-highs in 2022, including his 70 total pressures and 42 defensive stops. His 40 QB pressures when lined up as at nose tackle were 27 more than any other player.

Lawrence will have a good opportunity to keep the pressure going in Week 2. Cardinals center Hjalte Froholdt is in his first season with the team. He played 17 games with six starts for the Cleveland Browns last season and allowed seven sacks while spending time at center and right guard. In the season opener, Commanders interior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen had four tackles (three solo), one sack, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits against Arizona. The Cardinals surrendered a total of three sacks and 11 tackles for loss to the Commanders last weekend, as Washington generated 11 total pressures against the Cardinals, according to PFF. Last season, Arizona was tied for 23rd in the league with 46 sacks allowed.


The Giants will enter this weekend's matchup with some familiarity with the Cardinals' defense. First-year head coach Jonathan Gannon was hired by Arizona following two seasons as the defensive coordinator in Philadelphia. The Eagles had plenty of success on defense last season, as Gannon's unit ranked as one of the best in the league. While the personnel they will be going up against on Sunday is obviously different from what they faced in Philadelphia last year, Mike Kafka told the media that he can see some aspects of the old Eagles defense, especially when it comes to the unit's speed.

"Coach Gannon's a really good coach," said Kafka. "He's smart, he'll get those guys rolling. You can see some familiarity there from Philadelphia, some of the scheme stuff. They've only had one game and some preseason games so you're trying to kind of work through all the tape on that, but they play fast. They're a tough team so we're looking forward to the challenge."

The Cardinals held the Commanders to just 248 total yards in the season opener. Washington was able to convert on just four of 12 third down attempts, while the Cardinals defense racked up six sacks. One of the leaders of the Arizona defense is three-time All-Pro safety Budda Baker, who recorded five tackles (three solo) last week.

"Budda Baker is just about everywhere on the field," the offensive coordinator said. "He's an impressive player. You can tell he's one of those guys that kind of gets everyone lined up, he flies to the football. He plays hard, he plays fast so he's a guy that you've got to know where he's at on every snap."


Earlier this week, Gannon named Joshua Dobbs the team's starting quarterback for the second consecutive game. Dobbs was acquired in a trade with the Cleveland Browns just a few weeks ago, but quickly won the QB1 spot over rookie Clayton Tune. In his Cardinals debut, Dobbs completed 21 of 30 passes for 132 yards and a passer rating of 78.8.

Meanwhile, veteran running back James Conner carried the ball 14 times for 62 yards (4.2 avg.) against the Commanders, adding five receptions for eight yards. Conner has rushed for 750+ yards in each of the last two seasons while totaling 22 touchdowns on the ground during that span, in addition to 675 total receiving yards. Wide receivers Rondale Moore (33 yards) and Marquise Brown (28 yards) each caught three passes from Dobbs in the season opener.

Arizona boasts a talented tight end duo in Zach Ertz and Trey McBride. The veteran Ertz made his return to the field in the season opener after suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week 10. The 32-year-old was targeted a team-high 10 times, five more than any other pass-catcher, but turned it into six receptions for just 21 yards. Meanwhile, McBride, the second-year tight end out of Colorado State, caught both of his targets for 23 yards.

View rare photos from the all-time series between the Giants and Cardinals.


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