New Orleans has the best passing attack on the Giants' schedule**
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fiction: Tom Brady. Gronk. Fiction. (not to mention Matt Ryan-Julio Jones in Week 2, and Tony Romo-Dez Bryant in Week 1)
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Fiction: It's hard to top Drew Brees and the Saints, who are third in the NFL in both yards per game and completion percentage, but the Giants do play Tom Brady and the Patriots this year. With four touchdowns and 356 yards through the air, Brady showed again on Thursday night what his offense is capable of with stars like Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, who is as tough as they come. Brady is on pace for 5,509 yards, 46 touchdowns, and two interceptions.LANCE MEDOW:
Fiction:The numbers certainly back up the Saints in the passing department but I'm going to give the edge to the Patriots. Entering Week 8, New England ranks second in the league in passing yards per game and compared to New Orleans has some more experience. The Patriots showcase Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski (each have at least six years in the NFL) as their top three weapons but they also just got back Brandon LaFell from the PUP list and utilize running back Dion Lewis a lot in the passing game so they have plenty of depth. On top of that Tom Brady is tied with Carson Palmer for the NFL lead in touchdown passes (16) and has only thrown a league low one interception. Drew Brees is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL and while his passing yards per game are close to Brady his touchdown to interception ratio is nowhere near the latter. If you go position by position, none of New Orleans' tight ends provide the same explosiveness as Gronkowski and its top two wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead have only been in the league for two years and one year respectively.
The Giants will rush for more yards than the Saints
JOHN SCHMEELK: Fact:Neither the Saints (3.7 yards per rush – 26th in the league), nor the Giants (3.8 yards per carry – 25th in NFL) have run the ball especially well this year. Both teams, however, are coming off their best rushing games of the year last week. It's one more week healthy for Devon Kennard and Robert Ayers, so I think the Giants improve on a recently struggling run defense. The Saints will throw early and often, so the Giants will finish with more rushing yards. **[
BALANCED ATTACK IS KEY TO GIANTS GROUND GAME](http://www.giants.com/news-and-blogs/article-1/Balanced-attack-is-key-to-Giants-ground-game/109a58cf-b2c7-491f-81d4-cdb58e21862a)DAN SALOMONE: Fact: **
First, let's look at the numbers. The Giants average 95.6 yards per game on the ground (25th in the NFL), whereas the Saints allow 129.1 rushing yards per game (29th). Conversely, New Orleans averages 98.7 rushing yards per game (22nd) and will go up against a Big Blue defense that allows 113.4 yards per game on the ground (21st). The Giants found a spark with Orleans Darkwa last week, and the run defense is better than the 233 yards it allowed last week against Dallas, which has one of the best lines in the game and ran the ball 41 times as it broke in a new quarterback. The Giants are also getting healthier on the defensive side of the ball.LANCE MEDOW:
Fact:If you go by the seasonal stats thus far, the rushing numbers lean in favor of the Giants. New Orleans is surrendering 129 yards per game (28th NFL) and nearly five yards per carry (T-28th NFL) compared to New York which is allowing 113 yards per contest (21st) and just over four yards per rush (T-17th). On the offensive side, the Saints are averaging about three more rushing yards per game than the Giants. New Orleans has allowed six of its seven opponents to run for more than 100 yards and New York is coming off its best rushing performance of the season with 132 yards against the Cowboys. That's a good combination for the Giants. With that being said, the Saints are also coming off their best rushing performance of the season with 183 yards against the Colts but I think New Orleans is going to throw the ball more in this game and look to test the Giants secondary which will be without Prince Amukamara for the third straight game. The Saints lead the NFL with 32 pass plays for 20+ yards and, with the Giants surrendering five of those plays against the Cowboys last Sunday, I'd expect Drew Brees to air it out.
Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Delvin Breaux is the matchup to watch in Giants vs. Saints
J** OHN SCHMEELK: Fact: Delvin Breaux is talented but he still has a lot of technique issues with his coverage. Once the ball is in the air, he struggles turning his head and making plays on the ball. Odell Beckham Jr. practiced all week and will be pumped to have a big-time game going home to New Orleans. This will be a Beckham breakout week, so expect 150+ yards receiving. Secondary matchup to watch: Cameron Jordan vs Ereck Flowers>> READ SAINTS SCOUTING REPORTDAN SALOMONE: Fact:
It's hard to find a more incredible story than Breaux, the New Orleans native who suffered a devastating neck injury nine years ago in high school, wasn't cleared to play at LSU where he signed, bounced around the Canadian Football League and Arena Football League, and is now covering elite wide receivers in NFL. Add in another Louisiana product in Beckham, and you have yourself a matchup to watch.LANCE MEDOW:
Fact:The other matchup to watch is Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan against Ereck Flowers but the reason I'm not picking that one is because Flowers now has enough of a sample size where you know what you're going to get out of him. In just his first season in the league, Saints corner Delvin Breaux has made quite a name for himself by matching up with the opponent's best wide receiver each week. In back to back games in Weeks 5 and 6, Breaux did a nice job containing the Eagles' Jordan Matthews and Atlanta's Julio Jones. Last week, Colts wide receiver TY Hilton fared much better against Breaux with 150 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The undrafted rookie and former CFL standout has a team high 10 passes defensed and an interception. With the Giants looking to get their passing game back in rhythm, the chess match between Beckham and Breaux will likely set the tone. Considering both players have ties to LSU that only adds more to the plot.
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is the toughest road venue in the NFL
JOHN SCHMEELK: ** Fiction: Patriots, Gillette Stadium, any time of year, but especially in the cold. The Saints lost six straight games at home before their last two wins there. The Superdome is not what it used to be.>> EXPERTS MAKE PICKS FOR GIANTS-SAINTSDAN SALOMONE: Fiction:
It's certainly been the most electric over the years. No team exactly enjoys going there, especially right after Halloween on All Saints' Day like the Giants will be doing. But I think you have to give the nod to Gillette Stadium. It may not be the loudest, but the Patriots are 105-19 there since it opened in 2002. LANCE MEDOW:
Fiction:It's certainly been a tough venue for the Giants to solve in recent history as they've lost four straight against the Saints at the Superdome and have been outscored 169-80. Despite that trend, I still think the Seahawks home stadium: CenturyLink Field is the toughest road venue in the NFL. Thanks to the 12th man, it's considered one of the loudest stadiums in the world making it very difficult for opposing quarterbacks to run their offenses. The Giants know that first hand as they committed 11 false start penalties against the Seahawks in 2005. Plus, the winds at the stadium don't make it too easy on opposing kickers: Josh Brown has plenty of experience in that department. The Superdome is loud but it can't top a venue that has created the equivalent of an earthquake on multiple occasions.
Keep an eye on these five players as the Giants face the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at 1PM