When and where: October 20, 2019, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, 1:00 PM ET
The New York Giants hope to avoid a third consecutive loss on Sunday when welcoming the visiting Arizona Cardinals to MetLife Stadium. An ugly start to the season has somehow flipped into the Cardinals winning back-to-back games over the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals with a real chance of overtaking the slumping Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West division.
Meanwhile, the buzz surrounding Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has come crashing back down to earth after a pair of rough outings against the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings. He hopes to have his injured receiving weapons back on the field, along with star running back Saquon Barkley, in Sunday’s head-to-head showdown with fellow rookie Kyler Murray.
Kingsbury’s Cardinals suddenly coming togetherDoes everyone remember when the sky was falling in Arizona and Kliff Kingsbury’s offense had no shot at competing on the NFL level?
Well, that noise has certainly died down after the Cardinals picked up consecutive wins over the Bengals and Falcons. That isn’t to insinuate those wins have somehow changed public perception on the air raid offense, but it could start turning heads if the Cardinals keep winning football games they’re expected to lose.
It also helps to be facing teams with bad pass-rushing abilities, which won’t be the case on Sunday against the Giants. Despite ranking near the bottom of the league in total defense, the Giants are barely outside the top-10 in sack percentage (7.58). That could mean a long day of Murray needing to be Houdini in the pocket to avoid the constant pressure. The air raid offense doesn’t provide much protection for the quarterback and relies on great route-running by receivers and getting the ball out quickly. Murray won’t have as long as he had to throw last week.
One area of improvement has been the defensive front with the combination of Chandler Jones and old faithful, Terrell Suggs. Jones is widely recognized as one of the best in the business in making quarterbacks tap-dance, and Suggs, 37, is still showing some burst in his 17th year in the league. The Cardinals will depend on their ability to put some heat on Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones and get him off his spot.
Jones is a whiz kid behind center, and the Cardinals rank as the third-worst team against the pass, setting the stage for a potential ugly outing for the defense. Of course, the Cardinals should get a boost with the return of three-time All-Pro corner Patrick Peterson, who finished serving a six-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drugs policy.
One concern is the health of running back David Johnson, who has an ankle injury and is considered a game-time decision along with wide receiver Christian Kirk (ankle). Running back D.J. Foster (hamstring) has been ruled out so the Cards could be thin at running back on Sunday.
Injuries at receiver could also mean more two tight-end situations using Maxx Williams (ankle) and Charles Clay. Both players have seen much more time over the last two games in an offense that is based on four-receiver sets.
Help is on the way for the GiantsJones will sleep better on Saturday night knowing he’ll have both running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram back on the field on Sunday. The consistent running dynamic with Barkley in the backfield is just what the Giants needed to kick-start their offense after a sluggish couple weeks. Granted, they played against two of the better defenses in the league in the Patriots and Vikings, which clearly won’t be the case when they share the field with the struggling Cardinals.
The Cardinals are allowing an average of 428.8 yards per game on defense, paving the way for a big offensive reunion celebration for the Giants. There is no word yet on if wideout Sterling Shepard (concussion) will get to join the party, although he has been a limited participant at practice.
Jones should be licking his chops to attack a Cardinals secondary allowing 296 passing yards per game. However, he’ll probably want to throw in the opposite direction of Peterson, who instantly makes the backend of the defense better. Barkley’s load management will be interesting heading into this game. I wouldn’t be surprised if we still see Wayne Gallman, who is also listed on the injury report, in an effort to slowly bring the star running back up to speed.
On the defensive side of things, the Giants have actually looked worse than the Cardinals in defending the pass, which is bad news against a Kingsbury-coached offense. The Giants need their linebackers, Markus Golden and Oshane Ximines, along with defensive end Dexter Lawrence to remind the world why the air raid offense is a bad idea in the NFL.
- Cardinals are 11-24-1 ATS in their last 36 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Cardinals are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Cardinals are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in Week 7.
- Giants are 4-0-1 ATS against a team with a losing record.
- Giants are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game.
- Giants are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after an ATS loss.