Today’s afternoon NFL Sunday Football marquee game sees the 5-7 New Orleans Saints fight for their playoff lives against the 7-5 New York Giants. The Saints need a win in the worst way to keep their playoff hopes alive, while the Giants need a win to keep the encroaching Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys at bay.
The Giants suffered a tough loss on Monday Night Football six days ago, their third in four weeks, as Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris took down the defending Super Bowl champions by a narrow 17-16 score. That loss leaves the Cowboys and Redskins only a game behind the Giants in the NFC East heading into today’s games, meaning a Giants loss coupled with either a Dallas or Washington win would clog up the top of the division.
Eli Manning has started to show signs of snapping out of his midseason slump. After torching the Packers in week 12 for three touchdown passes, he managed just a short touchdown against the Redskins but was able to move the ball down the field, especially earlier in the game. He can find success against a suspect New Orleans defense if his offensive line can give him time in the pocket.
Drew Brees has had his own share of issues of late, including a rash of interceptions that have cost his team at least one win, if not two. His two picks against the 49ers two weeks ago, both of which were returned for touchdowns, put that game away. Last week he tossed five interceptions into the hands of Atlanta Falcons defenders.
One key match up in this game will be how the Giants defense is able to stop the run. Saints runners have racked up nearly 120 yards per game on the ground over their past five games, while the Giants defense has allowed nearly 140 yards per game over their past four. The Saints establishing a run game will open up the field for Brees and keep the Giants offense off the field.
Today’s NFC bout that could be the swan song for the New Orleans Saints kicks off at 4:25pm EST / 1:05pm PST in high definition on Fox free over the air or via a cable/satellite subscription. An alternative, though not free option is to watch the official online live streaming version via NFL Sunday Ticket here. My prediction is the Giants are able to put several long scoring drives together and put away the Saints for good by a score of 26-24.