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Defense gameplans for Lions QB Matthew Stafford


The Giants defense is up to the challenge to face Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions Monday Night:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.– When the Giants last saw Matthew Stafford, he was playing with an injured middle finger on his throwing hand. That didn't prevent the Detroit Lions quarterback from completing 62 percent of his passes and throwing for 273 yards in the Giants' 17-6 victory on Dec. 18 of last year.

The Lions will return to MetLife Stadium Monday night for the Giants' home opener with a healthy Stafford, who will no doubt present a formidable challenge for Steve Spagnuolo's defense.

"He's among the finest QBs in the league," coach Ben McAdoo said today. "He doesn't get a lot of credit for being a quarterback who can move in the pocket and extend plays, and I think that's one of the things that he does best. He takes advantage of matchups. He can make a variety of throws, all the throws from a variety of different body positions. So, he's very accurate that way. He doesn't have to be in a clean pocket because he can get out and he can create."

"He's definitely a top 10 quarterback," safety Landon Collins said.

Defensive end Olivier Vernon was asked what stands out about Stafford.

"His ability to make plays downfield and using his legs, being very mobile, and his awareness game," Vernon said. "You saw a lot of it during the film study today, and he's able to make plays on the ball. Then, he has great receivers that can make plays as well. They have some nice shifty running backs."

Stafford was outstanding in Detroit's 35-23 season-opening victory against Arizona, completing 29 of 41 passes (70.7%) for 292 yards and four touchdowns. Just as significant, the Lions trailed in the fourth quarter, 17-15. No late lead is safe against Detroit. In 2016, the Lions won eight games after overcoming a fourth-quarter deficit, the most by a team in a single season in NFL history, making Stafford the new master of the late comeback.

"It just has to be composure," Vernon said. "When you're backed up against a wall, you have all the pressure on you right now. It's just keeping your composure, trusting in your abilities and making throws. So, I think if that's the 'it' that they're talking about, that's what he has."

If the Lions are trailing late on Monday night, the Giants must take "it" away from Stafford.

*Two Giants did not practice today: tackle Bobby Hart (ankle) and linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion). Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (ankle) was limited.

*For Detroit, wide receiver Golden Tate (finger) and defensive end Ziggy Ansah (knee) were limited.

*At halftime of the game against Detroit on Monday night, the Giants will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the 2007 team that won Super Bowl XLII and honor the players and coaches from that team. Throughout the game, there will be historic moments, tributes, and music celebrating the 10-year anniversary.

View the best photos from Giants practice, presented by Hospital for Special Surgery

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