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Fact or Fiction: Kayvon Thibodeaux predictions; most dominant game in Giants history


The crew is presented with four statements and must decide whether they are Fact or Fiction.

Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson is the best non-quarterback the Giants face this season

John Schmeelk: Fact – You can make an argument for Micah Parsons, but it's hard to argue with Justin Jefferson. He will have the opportunity to break Calvin Johnson's single-season receiving record of 1,964 yards and even eclipse 2,000. He has been the best wide receiver in football this year because he has a large variety of ways to win and get open despite lacking top-end speed.

Dan Salomone: Fact – He's so good that he's in the conversation even if you take off the "non-quarterback" qualifier. His 4,639 career receiving yards are most through three seasons all-time, and he's just 10 yards away from breaking Randy Moss' Vikings single-season record.

Lance Medow: Fact – Keep in mind, the Giants have played a number of dangerous receivers and running backs who pose different challenges – the Titans' Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey when he was with the Panthers, the Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf of the Seahawks, the Commanders' Terry McLaurin and A.J. Brown of the Eagles. The latter is an extremely tough, physical receiver, but Justin Jefferson is cut from a different cloth. He showcases speed, physicality and a catch radius unlike anyone else in the league. On top of that, his ability to hold onto the ball and make difficult contested catches puts him in a league of his own.

Matt Citak: Fact – The Giants have faced some very talented offensive playmakers this season, from Derrick Henry to A.J. Brown and others. But Justin Jefferson lands at the top of the list, and frankly, it isn't very close. The third-year receiver was named second-team All-Pro in each of his first two seasons and followed up with NFL highs of 111 receptions for 1,623 yards this year. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said it best on Wednesday. "I told the defense. I said that he's one of the top two receivers in this league, and he's not number two."

Kayvon Thibodeaux will have another sack this week

John Schmeelk: Fiction – This is just a gut feeling. Even though Thibodeaux had a sack last week, he only had one other quarterback hurry, according to Pro Football Focus. He was more consistently around the quarterback the previous three games against Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington. The Vikings have one of the best offensive tackles in the sport in Christian Darrisaw and a very underrated counterpart in Brian O'Neill. Take the matchup with the defensive tackles against the Vikings guards and center this week.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Like they say in NBA Jam, he's heating up.

Lance Medow: Fact – Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has been sacked 40 times this season, including seven last week against the Colts, and Minnesota has allowed 41 overall (sixth in the NFL). Based on those numbers and the fact that Cousins isn't a threat to run on a consistent basis, bodes well for Kayvon Thibodeaux & Co. The pass rush has picked up as the Giants have recorded 12 sacks over the past three games. It also helps that Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams have the opportunity to be on the field together. If Thibodeaux plays with the same motor that he brought to the Washington game, he'll have a very good chance to make it consecutive games with a sack.

Matt Citak: Fact – Thibodeaux has gotten hot over the last few weeks with two sacks and three quarterback hits across his past three games. His recent success coincides with the return of Azeez Ojulari to the lineup, which is no coincidence. With Ojulari on the field, Thibodeaux is seeing less double teams, and the same goes for Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams on the interior. Through 14 games, the Vikings have allowed 41 sacks, the sixth-most in the league. Even in last week's amazing comeback win over the Colts, Kirk Cousins was sacked seven times, matching his season-high. Both Thibodeaux and Ojulari have a good chance of getting to Cousins in this one.

View rare photos from the all-time series between the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings

Victor Cruz's 99-yard touchdown catch on Christmas Eve in 2011 is the best regular-season play in Giants history

John Schmeelk: Fiction – Most important? Maybe. A good argument can be made for that play and the JPP blocked field goal against the Cowboys in 2011. The best, though? Sorry. For the "best" or most spectacular play, go to Odell Beckham Jr.'s one-handed catch against Dallas (2014). In terms of being an impressive individual play, that catch still sits alone.

Dan Salomone: Fact – Before that play, the "flat-lining" Giants – as Tom Coughlin called them – had lost five of six games. That play sparked the team to one of the most out-of-the-blue Super Bowl runs in history.

Lance Medow: Fact – Odell Beckham's one-handed grab for a 43-yard touchdown against the Cowboys in Week 12, 2014, deserves heavy consideration but it came in a loss whereas Victor Cruz's 99-yard score against the Jets helped the Giants win a critical Week 16 game as they looked to stay in position to win the NFC East title. There were actually several huge regular-season plays that year, including Jason Pierre-Paul's blocked potential game-tying 43-yard field goal attempt by Dan Bailey at the end of Week 14 at Dallas. Cruz recorded the longest play from scrimmage in Giants history. When you take that into consideration and the meaning of the game, it's hard to top Cruz's feat.

Matt Citak: Fact – The importance of this play cannot go unstated. The Giants were 7-7 heading into this matchup against the Jets. Prior to this play, the offense had been pretty stagnant as they found themselves down, 7-3, with under three minutes remaining in the first half. Cruz's 99-yard touchdown not only gave the Giants the lead, but it sparked the offense and helped lead the Giants to a 29-14 win. The defense played a crucial role, as well, forcing three turnovers. But Cruz's big play got the team going. It also is the longest play in Giants history, so how can we not call it the best regular-season play?

The 2000 NFC Championship is the most dominant game in franchise history

John Schmeelk: Fact – Given the opponent and the circumstance of the game, it is hard to argue otherwise. The Vikings were favorites in the game with the best offense in football and the Giants dominated them for 60 minutes at MetLife Stadium in a laugher. It wasn't a surprise the Giants were able to score on a porous Vikings defense, but their defense's ability to shut down Randy Moss and the rest of the Vikings offense was truly impressive. A strong runner-up here is the Giants' 49-3 rout of the 49ers in the divisional playoffs on January 4th, 1987 en route to Super Bowl XXI.

Dan Salomone: Fact – As a kid who grew up in Minnesota at that time and has now spent 13 seasons with the Giants, I can firmly say "fact" here.

Lance Medow: Fact – When you consider context and the significance of the game, you're not going to find a more impressive performance from start to finish than the 41-0 victory over the Vikings. The Giants jumped out to a 14-point lead in the first quarter, added 20 in the second and dominated every statistical category. They outgained Minnesota, 518-114, in total yards, finished nearly +25 minutes in time of possession and collected five takeaways, including three interceptions off Daunte Culpepper.

Matt Citak: Fact and this is an easy one. It doesn't matter what stat you look at from the 2000 NFC Championship - the Giants dominated in every single aspect. They outgained the Vikings, 518-114. The defense forced five turnovers and held Minnesota to one of eight on third downs. The Giants dominated the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 42:22 compared to the Vikings' 17:38. Kerry Collins threw for 381 yards and five touchdowns while Daunte Culpepper completed just 13 of 28 passes for 78 yards and three interceptions and a fumble lost. The Giants scored just four plays into this game, forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and then scored on the very next play to go up, 14-0. This was easily the most dominant game in franchise history.


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