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Fact or Fiction: How Giants vs. Vikings could unfold


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

The rematch will be higher scoring than the first meeting (51 points combined):

John Schmeelk: Fact – This is a struggle because the initial inclination was to go under because playoff games are usually lower scoring than regular season games. But when you really examine the first game between these two teams there are a lot of windows for scoring to increase. The Giants gained 445 yards of offense but had to kick three field goals after drives stalled out. A fumble in Vikings' territory short-circuited another drive. After only 17 points were scored in the first half, 34 were scored in the second, including 17 in the final three minutes. The more these teams saw each other, the more they scored. One team will get to 30 points and the total will be more than 51.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – Things tend to get tighter in the postseason, and not just the games played outdoors in the winter. These two teams met just a few weeks ago, so they know each other like a divisional opponent. It might take a quarter or two to feel out what the other has adjusted since Round 1.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Let's go slightly under because they just met in Week 16 and there's familiarity on both ends. As a means of comparison, the Giants and Commanders met twice in the span of three weeks. In the first matchup, they combined for 40 points whereas the second produced 32 and one of New York's touchdowns came via a strip-sack on the defensive side of the ball. You also can't overlook that 28 of the 51 points scored by the Giants and Vikings were posted in the fourth quarter.

Matt Citak: Fact – The Giants put up a season-high 38 points one week after the first meeting between the Giants and Vikings. In the regular-season finale, the team's reserves put up 22 points on the Philadelphia Eagles' tough defense. Minnesota's defense has struggled all season in points and yards allowed, while the Giants' offense appears to be trending in the right direction. This rematch is likely going to be a back-and-forth affair and should feature a ton of points.

The Giants' game plan begins with defending wide receiver Justin Jefferson

John Schmeelk: Fiction – The game plan begins with getting pressure on Kirk Cousins and forcing him to hold the ball by mixing up coverages. If you watch the Christmas Even game closely, Wink Martindale did a great job disguising his looks and making calls at the right time to counteract what the Vikings had designed. For example, there were a number of times where Martindale called zone defenses when the Vikings were clearly anticipating man-to-man based on their route concepts. Cousins was forced to hold the ball on those plays and the Giants pressure got to him or they forced a bad throw. If they can do that again on Sunday they should be able to come out of the game with some takeaways that could turn the game in the Giants' favor.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale is almost resigned to the fact that Jefferson will get his numbers. Don't forget about tight end T.J. Hockenson, either. In Week 16 against the Giants, they became the first teammates in NFL history to each have 12+ receptions, 100+ receiving yards and one touchdown in the same game.

Lance Medow: Fiction – Yes, the Giants need to pay attention to Justin Jefferson but the best way to slow him down is by getting to Kirk Cousins. The Vikings have surrendered 47 sacks (eighth-most in the NFL) and the Giants collected four of them along with 11 quarterback hits in Week 16. Although Jefferson still finished with 12 receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown, the most effective method in doing damage control against one of the best receivers in football is impacting the player responsible for getting him the ball. Minnesota's offensive line is also a bit banged up so that's more of a reason why you want to test that group in pass protection.

Matt Citak: Fact – This was the game plan heading into the first game in Minnesota, and Jefferson still went off for 12 receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown. The defense expects to have Adoree' Jackson back for Sunday's rematch, while the presence of Xavier McKinney should also provide the secondary with a big boost. As Wink Martindale said on Thursday, "You can't take away [No.] 18. You try to limit him…" Keeping Jefferson from exploding on Sunday will be the defense's top priority.

Daniel Jones will throw for at least 300 yards again in Minnesota

John Schmeelk: Fiction – Jones can throw for 300 yards if the Giants want him to, but figure the Giants will opt for a more balanced attack. The Giants dropped back 52 times versus only 17 called runs in the first game against the Vikings, but it's hard to believe they will have such a lopsided ratio again. Barkley ran it only 14 times on Christmas Eve but averaged six yards per carry. It was his highest rush average since Week 1. If the Vikings start putting up big plays and scoring a bunch of points early, Jones might get to 300, but the game should be close and the Giants will give it to Saquon a bit more this time around.

Dan Salomone: Fact – The Vikings have allowed more than 300 passing yards in nine games this season, including Daniel Jones' 334 in Week 16. Saquon Barkley will also be a factor in this department as he had eight catches for 49 yards in the first meeting, both season-highs for the dynamic running back.

Lance Medow: Fiction – The Vikings rank second-to-last in the NFL in pass defense and Daniel Jones and Co. took full advantage of that in Week 16. With that being said, Jones has only thrown for 300 yards or more twice in 16 games (the other coming in Week 11 against the Lions). It's not a coincidence they lost both contests as the Giants were playing from behind and had to rally. New York's formula for success this season has been the run game and if Brian Daboll's group is going to solve Minnesota, it'll have to come through that facet.

Matt Citak: Fact – Jones had one of his highest passing volume games of the season in Minnesota on Christmas Eve, throwing for 334 yards and a touchdown, and it's fair to expect more of the same this weekend. The key to attacking the Vikings defense is through the air, as the unit ranks 31st in the league in passing yards allowed at 265.6 yards per game. Jones had a completion percentage over 70 percent in his final two games of the regular season, including the contest in Minnesota. He will keep it going with another efficient, high-volume day in the Wild Card matchup.

The Giants need to force multiple turnovers to win the game

John Schmeelk: Fiction – The Giants don't need multiple takeaways but they do have to avoid multiple turnovers from their own offense. After being -2 in the first matchup and having a punt blocked, the Giants still managed to be tied with two minutes to play. If they can be even in turnover ratio they should have a good chance to win the game, but it won't be easy to protect the ball from Vikings playmakers in the defensive backfield like Patrick Peterson and Harrison Smith. Not to mention pass rushers Danielle Hunter and Zadarius Smith, who forced a fumble on Daniel Jones on Christmas Eve.

Dan Salomone: Fiction – The Giants have shown they can win any style of game. It hasn't always been pretty this season – in fact, rarely – but they have found their way more often than not. That starts from the top.

Lance Medow: Fiction – In their first matchup against the Vikings, the Giants had no takeaways but turned over the ball twice and had a punt blocked (essentially another turnover) and this can't be repeated if they expect to win. It's far more crucial that they avoid turning over the ball multiple times as opposed to collecting several takeaways. If they only get one, could they still win? Sure, but takeaways are all about what you do with them, not how many you tally. Turnovers are lost possessions and both came in Minnesota territory in Week 16, meaning opportunities to put points on the board.

Matt Citak: Fiction – The Giants did not force a single turnover in the first game against the Vikings, and yet they came very close to defeating the NFC North champions. As mentioned above, the key for the Giants on defense will be to limit Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson, who combined for 25 receptions for 242 yards and three touchdowns on Christmas Eve. If those two playmakers can be contained, the Giants won't need to force any turnovers in order to win the game, as long as the offense continues to take care of the football. The Giants ranked second in the NFL with just 16 turnovers on the season. As long as the turnover differential is zero, the Giants will have a solid chance at pulling off the Wild Card upset.

View rare photos of the Giants' history playing on Wild Card Weekend in the NFL Playoffs.


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