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Fact or Fiction: Best QB remaining on schedule


** writers debate the best QB remaining on the Giants' schedule:


1. Giants vs. Lions has the biggest NFC playoff implications in Week 15.

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JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - This is a tough question, but I'm going to go with Fiction. With nine wins, both the Lions and the Giants are in good position in terms of making it into the playoffs with a two-game cushion. There are other games where teams are fighting for their playoff lives. Whichever team loses between the Vikings and Colts is virtually eliminated from playoff contention. The Titans are playing for the AFC South crown in their game with the Chiefs, who are trying to stay in first place in the AFC West and earn a bye.

The Buccaneers are fighting for the NFC South title (or a Wild Card spot), while the Cowboys are trying to settle down and secure a bye week and a division title. The Giants-Lions game is right there, but not No. 1. In fact, no matter what happens this week, both teams will be in virtually the same spot (the Lions could fall behind Seattle for a first-round bye) that they were in the standings before the week started.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - Heading into Week 15, a stunning 26 teams were still in postseason contention with only one of the 12 spots locked up. So that should make for quite a three-game finish in the NFL. But in terms of this week, the Giants vs. Lions is the biggest matchup. Both teams have reasons to feel good about themselves right now, but they haven't locked anything up. While still in good position, the loser will start to sweat with Tampa Bay, Washington, Minnesota and Green Bay breathing down its neck.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - Giants vs Lions showcases a pair of teams that have yet to secure playoff spots and depending on how the NFC North title race plays out, this game could very well determine a tie-breaker for a wild card. Although both teams have nine wins and are in very good shape, as we've seen many times, nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the NFL, especially in the final few weeks of the season. There are four other games that involve a pair of teams fighting for playoff spots: Tennessee-Kansas City, Indianapolis-Minnesota, New England-Denver and Tampa Bay-Dallas. The Chiefs, Patriots and Cowboys have already reached double-digits in wins, New England has a three-game cushion on Miami for the AFC East title, and Dallas is two games up on the Giants in the NFC East.

There's much more at stake for the Titans (competing for AFC South title), Broncos (AFC West/wild card) and Bucs (NFC South/wild card) than their respective opponents. Colts-Vikings is the closest competition to Lions-Giants since both teams are still fighting for playoff spots, but given the former is a match-up between AFC and NFC teams, tie-breakers won't come into play whereas with the latter, that's very possible.

2. The winner of Giants vs. Lions will score more than 25 points.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - These two teams have been playing low-scoring games all year long. The Lions are ranked just 21st in total offense and 17th in points, while the Giants are 27th in offense and 25th in points. Both defenses are top 10 in points allowed per game. The Lions haven't allowed a team to score more than 20 points in their last seven games, and the Giants haven't allowed a team to score more than 20 in four of their last five games. These two teams have the top two scoring defenses in the league since Week 7, with both giving up about 16 points per game in that span. The Giants have won four games when scoring 20 or fewer points this year, and the Lions have won three. All these numbers mean this week's game has a 20-17 score written all over it.

DAN SALOMONE: Fiction - Not only do two of the top 10 scoring defenses square off on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, but the Giants and Lions also rank in the bottom half on offense. Add in the expected precipitation, and you have yourself a slugfest in a playoff-type atmosphere. December football should be no other way.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - Both the Giants and Lions rank in the top ten in the NFL in scoring defense. The Giants are allowing just 19 points per game (7th) and Detroit 21 (10th). During the Lions' current five-game winning streak, they've held each of their opponents to below 20 points and have scored more than 25 in just two contests. The Giants have managed to score over 25 points just once in their last five games and just one opponent has put up more than 25 points throughout the entire season. That was the Redskins, who tallied 29 points, all the way back in Week 3. Both of these teams are known for their defenses, and I don't see that narrative drastically changing Sunday.

3. Matthew Stafford is the best quarterback remaining on the schedule.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction - He might not have the name recognition yet, but I'm going to go with Kirk Cousins. The Redskins have the second best offense (and pass offense) in football right now. He is third in the league in passing yards, fifth in completion percentage, ninth in touchdowns, and sixth in quarterback rating. Cousins is now an elite quarterback. Stafford is ranked between 10-15 in most of those categories as well. He is an excellent quarterback, but he is not having the same year Cousins is.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - People are saying this is Matthew Stafford's best year, but are they forgetting he is one five players in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in a season? He did so in 2011 and has been playing at a high level for a long time. His 277.6 career passing yards per game are second only to Drew Brees (282.9) in NFL history among quarterbacks who played a minimum of 100 games. Peyton Manning is third at 270.5.

LANCE MEDOW: Fiction - Matthew Stafford is having a very strong season and that's a big reason why the Lions are 9-4 and currently atop the NFC North standings. He's completing nearly 67 percent of his pass attempts for 3,447 yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions and has also helped orchestrate several fourth quarter game-winning drives. While that resume is impressive, the same can be said for Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who is completing nearly 68 percent of his pass attempts for over 4,000 yards with 23 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

Cousins bet on himself this season by playing under the franchise tag and that proved to be a wise decision. He's surrounded by plenty of weapons in the passing game and has already put up solid numbers against the Giants this year with 296 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 29-27 win in Week 3. Stafford will be a tough challenge, but Cousins has much more familiarity with the Giants' personnel and is one of the most efficient signal callers in the league.


4. Sunday's game will be decided by fewer than seven points.

JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact - These two teams have been the cardiac kids this year because neither one has scored a ton of points. The Giants have been in 10 games decided by seven points or less, while the Lions have been in 12. Both teams have won eight of those games. Matthew Stafford has eight game-winning drives this year, leading the NFL, while Eli Manning has five. The Lions have trailed in the fourth quarter in all but one game this year, despite their 9-4 record. This is going to be close, so fans better be prepared to sit in their seats for all four quarters, and maybe even overtime.

DAN SALOMONE: Fact - My head says that, of course, this game will go down to the wire like it has for both of these teams all season. John and Lance gave you all the stats to back that up. But my gut is telling me that one of these teams is due for a complete game in all three phases -- from start to finish. The Giants just hope it's them. They need to add more offense to the equation.

LANCE MEDOW: Fact - Close games go hand in hand with the Lions and Giants. Ten of the Giants' 13 games have been decided by seven points or less, while 12 of Detroit's 13 contests have met that criteria. Both of these teams seem to love nail-biters, and given their strong defenses, I don't see why that trend will stop this weekend.

These five players could make a key impact in Sunday's matchup with the Lions

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