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Scouting Report

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Scouting Report: Key matchups, numbers to know


The Giants host the Lions (3-6) on Sunday. Detroit has gotten some of their key players back in recent weeks and have won two straight games against division rivals Green Bay and Chicago. The Lions have been outscored by 45 points this season and has a DVOA (an overall efficiency metric) of -5.1%, which ranks 20th in the league - right behind the Giants.

When the Lions have the ball…

­Numbers to know

5.94: Yards per play - 5th highest in the NFL

The Lions have moved the ball all season, ranking sixth in the league with 371.2 yards per game. Their 5.2% offensive DVOA (measuring offensive efficiency accounting for game situation) ranks 13th. They are a balanced team, ranking in the top 11 in both rush and pass yards per game, and ranking 12th in the league in rushing play rate (43.6%).

69.7%: Red Zone Touchdown Rate - 5th highest in the NFL

This game will feature the Giants' second-ranked red zone defense against the fifth-ranked red zone offense. Jamaal Williams has been a red zone maestro with nine rushing touchdowns, while Jared Goff has 15 touchdown passes this season.

40%: Conversion rate on 3rd- and 4th-and 1 – worst in the NFL

The Lions overall third-down conversion rate is dragged down by their failures on third- and fourth-and-short. Their 40% conversion rate with one yard to go in those situations is 26% below league average. They are one of the better teams in the league in third down and needing 4-6 yards (tied for 10th at 50%) and 3rd-and-long (7+ yards, eighth at 30.2%).

15: Sacks allowed – 4th fewest in the NFL

The Lions feature a strong offensive line, though their center Frank Ragnow may have to miss Sunday's game with a tow injury. Guard Evan Brown would move to center in his absence, with Dan Skipper (6-9, 330) the likely candidate to move in from tackle to replace Brown at right guard. They have two good bookends in right tackle Penei Sewell and left tackle Taylor Decker, with Jonah Jackson at left guard. According to PFF, the Lions have allowed a 314% pressure rate this year, which is the ninth-worst in the NFL.

-2: Turnover Ratio - 9th worst in the NFL

Players to watch

QB Jared Goff: He has had a strong season, completing 63.8% of his passes for 2277 yards with 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Goff ranks second in 20+ yard completions in the NFL with 36, trailing only Patrick Mahomes. Nearly 54% of Goff's yards come after the catch, which ranks 10th, according to Pro Football Focus. According to PFF, on passes that travel more than 20 yards in the air this season, Goff is just 7-of-30 for 203 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 57.5 quarterback rating.

WR Amon-Ra St. Brown: Despite missing a game due to injury, St. Brown has 23 more catches and 161 more yards than the Lions' next wide receiver. He has 49 catches for 518 yards and three touchdowns. He does not have blazing speed, but he is a smart route technician with the quickness to separate and soft hands to catch the football. He is Jared Goff's go-to player in the short and intermediate levels of the defense. He plays in the slot just as often as he plays outside, which could make him a matchup for Darnay Holmes or Adoree' Jackson.

RB D'Andre Swift: Swift has only played in six games and has been limited to 40 carries due to ankle and shoulder injuries that kept him out of the lineup from Weeks 4-7. Since returning, his usage has been limited with only 14 carries in his last three games. He is still the Lions' most explosive player averaging 6.33 yards per carry with two runs of 40+ yards and two rushing scores. Swift has been active in the passing game when he is on the field, with 17 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Jamaal Williams was effective when Swift was out and has become the early-down back, with 604 yards on 142 carries and nine rushing touchdowns.

Keys for the Giants' defense

  1. Win on the interior of the line of scrimmage in the run and pass game
  2. Don't let Amon-Ra St. Brown dominate the passing game
  3. Tackle well to prevent big plays in the run game and on short passes

View rare photos from the all-time series between the New York Giants and Detroit Lions.

When the Giants have the ball…

Numbers to know

416.2: Yards allowed per game – most in the NFL

6.46: Yards allowed per play – highest in the NFL

29.3: Points allowed per game – most in the NFL

No team in the NFL allows more yards or points than the Detroit Lions. The next closest team allows 26.4 points per game. They are also in the bottom three in yards allowed per pass play and run play.

51.38%: 3rd down conversion rate allowed – worst in the NFL

63.64%: Red zone touchdown rate – 7th worst in the NFL

The Lions also struggle defensively in situational football. They don't get off the field well on third down and they have trouble keeping opponents out of the end zone once they get into the red zone.

42: Opponent plays of 20+ yards – 5th most in the NFL

The Lions allow chunk plays, especially in the run game. No team has allowed more than the Lions 12 runs of 20+ yards. Only two teams have allowed more than the 146 plays of 10+ yards than the Lions and the defense is permitting an opponent passer rating of 111.9 on passes that travel at least 20 yards in the air.

Players to watch

Aidan Hutchinson: The Lions only have 15 sacks this season (tied for 28th in the NFL) but rookie Aidan Hutchinson has accounted for 5.5 of them. In recent games, the Lions have allowed him to stand up more as a rusher and he has been more effective from that stance. He has won around the edge, with an inside spin move and signature hand work. He also has 10 quarterback hits. He will split his time lining up on either side.

The Lions only get pressure on 28% of their opponent's snaps despite the fact they have the 10th-highest blitz rate in the NFL (31.8%), according to PFF. They rarely use stunts, employing them on only 17.8% of their defensive snaps, the third-lowest rate. The Lions will blitz linebackers Alex Anzalone (team's leading tackler with 72) and Malcolm Rodriguez.

Jeffrey Okudah: The former third overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft had his rookie season get off to a slow start due to some initial poor play and achilles and groin injuries. But he is starting to live up to his draft stock this season with an interception returned for a touchdown and five passes defended. He lines up mostly on the right side of the defense but he will also move to the left side of the field if he is needed there.

The Lions are primarily a single-high safety team that rotates between Cover-1 and Cover-3. Safeties DeShon Elliott (In concussion protocol) and Kerby Joseph are solid; Amari Oruwariye, Mike Hughes, and Will Harris get the other cornerback snaps. Oruwariye only played one defensive snap last week.

Keys for the Giants' offense

  1. Feature Saquon Barkley and the big runs will come
  2. Use play action to attack down the field with deep crossing routes
  3. Get the ball to Wan'Dale Robinson in the middle of the field to create some big plays

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