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Giants keys to victory on Sunday


1) Limit penalties. This was certainly near the top of Tom Coughlin's checklist after his Giants uncharacteristically racked up nine penalties last week against Washington. Three came on special teams alone, which played into poor field position.

2) Pressure Brees. The Giants don't need reminding that Drew Brees carved them up last year. They'll need to disrupt him any way they can to avoid a similar showing. The secondary can also help this effort with tight coverage.

3) Can't overlook the run. The offense goes through Brees, but it can be particularly devastating when the run game is effective. The Saints are averaging 120 yards on the ground in the last five weeks and put up 205 against the Giants last year.

4) Mix up Graham. Jimmy Graham is one of the most versatile tight ends out there and must be accounted for on every play. He's particularly dangerous in the red zone. The key with premier tight ends is giving them different looks.

5) Where is 43? The Saints' offensive weapons are not only abundant, they are also dynamic. Running back Darren Sproles is the epitome of that as he has nearly double the amount of catches than rushing attempts this season. At 5-foot-6, 190 pounds, he can sure frustrate defenses as well as special teams in the return game.

6) Better field position. Last week the Giants began four of their eight drives inside the 10 (and never better than their own 24). From penalties to takeaways to return units, there are many factors in this category. Meanwhile, the Saints' Thomas Morstead leads the NFL in net punting average.

7) Go on green. The green zone, as the Giants call the area inside the opponent's 20, has frequently been red this season. No one is turning down points, but the Giants need to capitalize instead of settling for short field goals. Of course, this is easier said than done.

8) Stop on red. On the flipside, the Giants defense has held its own around the goal line. It will need to keep that up against the Saints, who are first in the NFL converting 70 percent of red zone opportunities into touchdowns.

9) Win the turnover battle. The Giants are tied for first in the NFC with a plus-14 turnover ratio while New Orleans is minus-2. The Giants are in every game when they win this category.

10) Finish. It's time to call on last year's Super Bowl mantra. Finish every play, every game, and the season.


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