A preview of Sunday’s clash between the Giants and the Lions at MetLife Stadium.
C Frank Ragnow of the Lions opposes NT Dexter Lawrence of the Giants.
Discuss a high-level conflict. Pro Football Focus ranks Ragnow as the fourth-best center in the NFL with a grade of 76.8. With a rating of 91.1, Lawrence is the second-best interior defensive lineman in the NFL. Lawrence had a slightly better score than both Quinnen Williams and Aaron Donald, with only Chris Jones of the Chiefs being rated higher. Nine games into the season, Lawrence has already established career highs in sacks (5) and quarterback hits (16) thanks to his switch to the nose tackle position. Ragnow is uncertain to participate due to a foot ailment, although he is likely to play.
Frank Ragnow and Dexter Lawrence of the Associated Press; USA TODAY Sports
The goal will be preventing huge plays, which is easier said than done against the Lions’ dynamic offense. It is tough to imagine the Giants having much success through the air, which might lead to an overreliance on Saquon Barkley. Jared Goff is difficult to sack and a capable passer. Eventually, Daniel Jones will be required to do the same.
Lions 27, Giants 23.
Aidan Hutchinson was selected second overall by the Lions in the 2022 NFL Draft, and it appears he was under-drafted. How is he not a more feared defender than Travon Walker, who went to the Jaguars with the No. 1 overall pick? Hutchinson’s 28 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, four tackles for loss, and one interception exceed those of Giants’ No. 5 pick Kayvon Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux has recorded 18 tackles, one sack, three quarterback hits, no tackles for loss, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery in two fewer games. Perhaps watching another young edge rusher across the field will inspire Thibodeaux, who has been far more reliable than outstanding in Year 1, to make a few huge plays.
Big-play disparity: Anyone with a passing interest in the Giants is aware of who they are and who they are not. They are not, however, anything approximating an explosive passing onslaught. They have only 12 passes of 20 yards or more, which is the fewest in the NFL. Which Lions? Glad you asked. With 36 explosive pass plays, they are third in the league, behind only the Chiefs and Dolphins. This season, nine Lions players have at least one reception of 23 yards. Six Giants players have receptions of at least 20 yards. The Lions have three guys with at least 50-yard runs when considering their running game. The Giants have one running back: Saquon Barkley. The Lions have the advantage over the distance.
Daniel Jones missed the final six games of the 2021 season due to a neck ailment, but there has been no indication of a recurrence this season. He has been a rock at quarterback, and after leaving the Week 4 victory over the Bears with an injured ankle, he returned the following week. Jones was sacked in the fourth quarter of last week’s game because he did not slide on a third-and-10 run for 11 yards. “He obtained the first down,” remarked head coach Brian Daboll. “I have faith that he will take care of himself, but there is also an element of competition and making sure we get the first down.” Jones is aware of his importance to the squad. “If it hadn’t been third down, I might have gotten down a bit faster,” he remarked.
Look ahead: A second consecutive home game for the Giants is followed by an NFC East matchup against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, the first of four consecutive division games. This is a dangerous situation for the Giants. Daboll has been a master at maintaining team focus. This is quite difficult. Julian Love, a safety, remarked, “We’re aware that we’ve already played one division game in this upcoming stretch.” “These next five events are imminent. We can’t afford to overlook the Lions, but it’s always in the back of your mind that you need to play your best football going forward.